This was first written by Mita Basu on Facebook, in Bengali. It is a reaction to a recent TV commercial of Everest Garam Masala, featuring Amitabh Bacchan. I have translated the piece and also added my own perspectives, publishing here … Continue reading Maa Ke Haat Ka Khana When Maa Is a Service Provider
My Facebook post on 14th January Now regarding this Jallikattu ban, I don’t care if it’s your tradition religion sport or whatever, you just need to tone down your aggressive demands for this hypermasculine violent culture in which women have absolutely no participation. Each and every image of Jallikattu I have ever seen is about men, unbelievably large crowds of men torturing a bull. What on earth are we celebrating? If this is the sum total of your identity and culture then you need to rethink. Why such an exclusively male culture? Where are the women? Oh I know they … Continue reading Important Readings on The Jallikattu Ban
First published on Firstpost where I have argued that the Khadi Calendar debate have to go beyond the phallocentrism, and we have to look at feminist interpretation. From Gandhi to Modi, its one man replacing another. The DAVP calendar shows a … Continue reading Government of India And Khadi Calendar Where Modi Replaced Gandhi: Feminist Understanding
First published on Firstpost with different headline and slightly edited: A woman facing violence may take various roads to justice – legal-illegal, justified-unjustified, civil, criminal, constitutional. Shayara Bano decided to eliminate the root cause. Her writ petition before Supreme Court seeking a ban on triple talaq, nikah halal and polygamy poses a challenge to the prevalence of religious personal laws over constitution, and threatens the power and position of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) as the sole custodian and interpreter of Sharia law in India. Following her, Ishrat Jahan raised her head from Bengal and challenged Section 2 … Continue reading Flavia Agnes’s Position On Triple Talaq Sad For Indian Feminism
In response to Code of control | The Indian Express by Sania Farooqui Author herself says there’s no draft of UCC in absence of which it is hard to tell how UCC would affect individual rights. Yet there is an underlying assumption that whatever it will be, will be a means of Hindutva bullying minority. This fear is unfounded. The Hindutva narrative by BJP has ruined UCC debate. They raise it to fan Sanghi ego and divisive politics but any person with slightest idea of laws and constitution should be assured that UCC doesn’t mean imposing majoritarian laws on minority. If UCC ever comes, it … Continue reading Sania Farooqui’s fear of UCC unfounded
it is puzzling to see the Indian Left oppose the push for a common civil code for all citizens, which the Constitution had promised but which successive governments have failed to enact. Back in the 1940s and 50s, Ambedkar and Nehru thought it prudent to first change personal laws in favour of Hindu women, since there was a vigorous reform movement among Hindus (but not however among Muslims). However, they certainly hoped that, in the not too distant future, a gender-just code of personal and family law that applied to all citizens of the Republic, would come to be enacted. … Continue reading Liberals must support a common civil code, writes Ramachandra Guha | columns | Hindustan Times
UCC would never be a reality in India because none of the religious bigots would accept a truly uniform code that applies to all. They all want the other group to fall in line and accept whatever they think is uniform but ask them to look at their own personal laws, they won’t accept. For eg. Parsi community, Christian, Hindu they all have certain reservations which they don’t want to change, but want Muslims to fall in line. UCC should have been a compulsory provision instead of directive principle, at the time of making the Constitution and the tyranny of … Continue reading Uniform Civil Code Will Remain a Polarizing Topic Never Be A Reality
A father training his daughters to win sports medals may not be a revolutionary idea everywhere, but it is one in a state like Haryana. Continue reading Dangal Trailer Review | Ode To Aamir Khan
That was not a click bait using a shocking headline. A man really did send me photos of his manhood last night.
I have met this man just once in my life in 2011. It was a casual date and we had sex. The date was at his place so I already knew what it ‘really’ was and I just wanted to have some fun. I never met him again but we’ve been connected on social media, and over the last five years he has given me hundreds of booty calls some of which I found amusing, some boring, but none offensive. On my part I have been flirtatious but I was always clear in my head that I don’t want to meet him again. I last WhatsApped him in Jan this year, around my birthday when I was getting worked up about not having enough sex in life. Continue reading “Man Sent Me Photos Of His Dick – What Happened Next?”
How does a woman reconcile and negotiate her cultural identity with the gender identity where her culture is inherently oppressive to women. Continue reading Race, gender and nation: Case of Afghnistan
I am going to hold this close to my heart. I am going to frame it as a reminder of many things. Primarily, this is a telling example of what happens when you question men and their standards, choices, behaviour, … Continue reading Middle Finger Emoji – When I challenged Everyday Sexism in My Family
Dear Logical Indian, get logical. Motherhood doesn’t complete a woman. Nothing does. Because a woman is born complete. Continue reading Dear Logical Indian: Motherhood Does Not Complete Women
There is no wronged woman here who wants to take a revenge, no mother who is struggling and fighting all odds to raise her children, no multi-tasking multi-talented woman who manages both work and family, no fierce police officer or successful film star. Neerja was not Jhansi ki Rani or Devi Durga, she was just Neerja and that made all the difference. Continue reading Feminist Film Review – Neerja, not your predictable strong woman
For benefit of those who don’t want to spend money on a film which is not well made, let me give the crux of the gender bender points it tries make, but fails. Continue reading Feminist Film Review – Ki and Ka
Brief note on recently conducted workshop on gender awareness at Ramanujan College, Delhi University. Continue reading Workshop on Gender Awareness at Ramanujan College, Delhi University
Hyper sexualized images of women in Bollywood item numbers strip them off their identity and reduce them to object of sexual gratification. The image of ‘Bharat Mata’ does exactly the same for the nationalist or patriotic gratification of its citizens. Continue reading Why Every Feminist Should Refuse to Say Bharat Mata Ki Jai
A sacred Indian marriage is one where a young girl, who have been always kept segregated from men and taught “good girls don’t talk to boys,” is suddenly pushed inside a room with a stranger who is allowed to rape her because he married her Continue reading Marital Rape and the Sacred Indian Marriage
Bhansali imagined 18th century Maratha and Rajput kingdoms where women had some agencies. And men respected women. Sadly he forgot to hire a writer to give words to his imagination. Continue reading Bajirao Mastani Feminist Review: Strong Women, Gorgeous Chandeliers
We ban violence. We banned Sati. We should ban Burqa. Both are forms of violence only in varying degrees. Sure, Burqa cannot kill someone, but is that an argument? Should we condone violence that doesn’t kill? Burqa cannot be an identity except that it reduces women into Muslim cargo. Continue reading Burqa Ban – A Welcome Step and Not Equal to Islamophobia
First published on Huffington Post India, received over 4K Likes
I heard the PM talking at the Gold scheme launch today. I observed that he was making these terrible blunders, one after the other and I was wondering just how bad it could get. Turned out, it was quite bad if not baddest. What did he do wrong? Well, he used gendered language.
“In India, women don’t have anything, house, car etc are all in the name of husband or son. But she has the gold. The way social structure is, gold is a big weapon of women empowerment. She won’t have home but she is owner of gold. Even the son would not question it, ‘it is mother’s’ they say. This is positive aspect of our culture that has provided for this women empowerment…we should carry on with this culture, our mothers and daughters should continue to feel safe knowing they have gold…” Said the nation’s PM.
See the full speech here
First published on The Huffington Post India
It was about time someone questioned the mainstream media’s lack of coverage of women stories. The article met with predictable defense, “Caravan is not a women’s magazine.” Right, women’s issues should be kept restricted to women’s magazine, the likes of Femina, Women’s Era, Griha Shobha and Savita, why would important journals of politics and culture write about silly less important topics related to women, seems to be the logic. This article needs to be read and understood in this context. Because this ‘othering’ of women is the problem. Why should women issues be always separated from the mainstream? Continue reading “Caravan Magazine takes 5 years to put a woman on cover, renders a bad apology”
Ms. Kiran Gandhi ran the London Marathon 2015 without any sanitary device while publicly bleeding. She said she did it for feminism. I think that is bull. I think it is 0% feminism and 100% publicity stunt. In addition, her story seemed a bit fake too. Perhaps it was an accident and the whole ‘I did it for feminism‘ spin was an afterthought. I mean, she was planning for this marathon for years, but she didn’t know her period dates were clashing with the marathon dates until the night before? Continue reading “Running marathon & other sports without tampons or pads becoming a mass movement”
Update: Kindly read the full review on Women’s Web as I have an exclusivity contract with them so cannot share the full review here.
There were at least three points in the film when I almost started weeping, there were points where I was anxious about what was going to happen and finally when I came out of the theatre I had a heart full of emotions but the mind was calm, as calm as the river Ganga depicted in the last scene of the film. The feeling was of surrender to the circle of ‘life and death’ of ‘loss and gain’. No more words, no more tears no more grief just sail away with the river and see where it takes you, to the confluence or to the other side of life. Continue reading “Feminist Film Review – Masaan – A story of desiring bodies”
Approximately 800+ pornographic websites suddenly went off the internet in India. There were no prior announcement, discussion, no legal basis to the decision. But that’s not to say it is entirely thoughtless, hell no. The great thought behind is that a ban on porn is going to put an end to rapes in this country.
My sister has a very important observation about the most commonly heard statement that women are their worst enemy. The mother-in-law v. daughter-in-law war in which the son is passed off as the victim at best or bystander at worst. Her observation opens up so many potential research area actually, I would be taking them up sometime soon. She writes, Continue reading “The ‘Ek Aurat Hi Aurat Ki Dushman Hoti Hai’ Myth”
I am here with another review in my series of Feminist Film Reviews. A shorter and proofread version of this review was first published on Women’s Web. Besides the feminist perspective there were a few other interesting observations about the … Continue reading Feminist Film Review – Tanu Weds Manu Returns
Regular readers of my blog already know about my Feminist reviews. These are film reviews done by me after wearing my feminist glasses. So this time I did an exclusive review for the women centric collaborative blog ‘Women’s Web’. Below is the full version of the review, they have put up an edited version. Continue reading “Feminist Film Review – Piku”
Some idiot from the BJP Government recently said that government has no intentions of making marital rape (rape of wife by husband) a criminal offense because marriage in India is so bloody sacred. Oh no, it is not some loony like Saskhi Maharaj making a passing reference at some random event, this is a Minister of State standing inside the Rajya Sabha giving a written reply to a question raised by DMK MP Kanimozhi. Continue reading “What is a Sacred Indian Marriage and how Marital Rape may destroy it”
Update dt 5-Apr-2015: This blog has gone viral, reaching a total of 2.20 lac people through Facebook, over 70,000 page views and over 10,000 Shares. I’ve been blogging for 10 years, and this week all records broke when it received 32,541 page views on a single day. That’s 22 page views every minute. Thank you everybody who shared this post and made it a viral. Special mention of film maker Anurag Kashyap and actor Atul Kulkarni both shared the link on their Facebook pages.
The Vogue Empower video titled ‘My Choice’ featuring Deepika Padukone and 99 other women, from different walks of life, has already taken way too much space than it deserved. And yet, I feel the need to defend it. Allow me to explain why. Continue reading “Vogue Empower My Choice: What the criticism actually did to feminism”
I studied Picasso in school and once spent a whole day at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. I was a fan. But that was before I became a feminist. When I went to see a Picasso exhibition at Tate Modern with my mum a few years ago, my internal monologue went a bit like this: “Object, object, object, boobs, object, object, woman-object, boobs, object, object, object, boobs.”
Feminists for some reason were very excited about the marriage between actor George Cloony and acclaimed international lawyer Amal Alamuddin. While the global media carried headlines that Cloony marries Alamuddin, the headlines on The Business Woman were ‘Internationally acclaimed barrister … Continue reading Disappointing! Amal Alamuddin changes name after marriage
Mardaani is just the kind of film I always wanted to see – a film with complete gender role reversals.
The hundreds of movies I’ve watched in my lifetime, I’ve always wondered how would it be if we changed the gender of the leading characters? In Mardaani, that’s exactly what I have. As a film its nothing unusual, its not something we haven’t seen before. It’s a regular cop movie, a larger than life hero whom the common man can worship because he can single-handedly save the day by kicking asses and knocking solid punches. There are the usual Bollywood elements such as the hero trying to fight the system that is not very supportive, predictable turn of events such as the case being pulled out of the hero’s hands and so the hero decides to carry on investigation alone without any support from the police department and eventually emerge as the winner. Continue reading “Feminist Film Review: Mardaani – An important film, because it changes the way we see women”
There is a new Airtel commercial on TV titled ‘Boss’. The ad shows that a woman and her husband both work at the same place where she is the boss. She gives some task to the husband and insists that it be finished within a tight deadline. He argues that it’s not possible but she asserts the he doesn’t have a choice, the task must be completed and shows him the door. Next thing we see is that she goes home cooks a nice dinner and video calls her husband, entices him with food and pleads him to come home soon. It turns out this is the same guy she was bossing around at work. Continue reading “Airtel TV commercial Boss – Half way to gender equality and Modern Indian Women’s Aspiration”
While Indian social media was outraging over the Airtel commercial where the wife/boss goes home and cooks for husband/subordinate, another kind of social media outrage was going on in America. Bunch of women posted their selfies holding placards that gave ground braking justification to why they don’t need feminism. Obviously feminists are outraged. Nobody is surprised though, throughout the history of feminism, there have been women who didn’t know a shit about gender, patriarchy and feminism and were idiots enough to claim they don’t need feminism. Continue reading “Women against feminism are a bunch of confused privileged women living in their little bubbles”
[In the wake of social media talking about the Burka Avenger I am republishing an article I wrote long back for the Bell Bajao Blog. The article was originally written in the context of France banning the burqa in public … Continue reading Burka Avenger – Anything that reinforces the Burqa/Hijab is NOT cool
How does a typical Indian middle class joint family deal with a divorce? With paranoia, hypocrisy double standards and melodrama. As exposed through the story of Ishti Kutum – the Mukherjee family is shattered on hearing the DIVORCE word from Archi. Broken marriage mean different thing for family’s sons and daughters. Ironically, the patriarch of Mukherjee family who is so concerned about Archi’s broken marriage and its effect on his family, have never uttered a single word regarding his own daughter’s estranged marriage. The legal position of both of Archi’s marriages, legal requirement of divorce and validity of Tribal marriage. Continue reading Ishti Kutum – Archi Mun’s divorce – Legal position of both marriages, validity of tribal marriage
My readers would be happy to know that the writer’s block has been lifted. A lot of writing is coming out these days, some personal, some for the book ‘This Is My Truth‘ and some for this space, my blog. The book hasn’t found a publisher yet, but am writing it anyway. These days if your content is good you can self publish and it would sell. The obsession for the TV Show Ishti Kutum continues as the show has become even more interesting. The that I was writing on it is going good, it is going to be a very long one, you all need to have patience to read it. Continue reading “Rani Mukherjee’s Aiyyaa – Preview – Comedy of a Woman’s carnal desires”
Madhur Bhandarkar makes films for the dummies. In the wake of the release of yet another cliched film for the dummies, Heroine, I am republishing my feminist film review of Fashion and other Bhandarkar Films. I have not seen Heroine yet, but I can predict what’s is it about.
I have written an opinion column for In.com on the Slut Walk Delhi, titled ‘Slut Walk? We need a Tawaif Walk‘
I also recently joined The Global Voices as a writer. And the post on Slut Walk is my first post for GV.
I was quoted on today’s Mid-Day Mumbai Edition talking about the relevance of the word slut in the latest campaign ‘Slut Walk Delhi.’ You can read the online version of the article written by Sowmya Rajaram here.
I had already made my discomfort with the word slut clear in my previous post. While giving my opinion to Mid-day I reiterated the fact that this word alone makes a huge difference. That it will create class conflict within the feminist movement, if at all we consider this campaign as a part of the Indian feminist movement. I also predicted that if you replace the word slut with a Hindi word, there will be very few takers for the campaign. These very girls who are now so happy to walk down the lane wearing the label slut wouldn’t want to come out if asked to wear a desi label like Randi. Slut is a slang alright but a western slang and we love everything about the white people.
Update: 31st July 2011
The walk had postponed, and was scheduled to happen today. I have so far not recieved any confirmation whether it did happen or not, also didn’t see any photos or any reports online. I will keep updating this space with more info.
Twitter is my central portal for information related to the city, country and world and Facebook is the place for updates on real life friends. Couple of days back I noticed a certain hashtag #slutwalk was trending on Twitter. In no time my Facebook friends started sending me invitations to a certain event Slut Walk Delhi. And then IBN Live reported that on 25th June 2011 Delhi will see its ‘first ever’ slut walk.
I am very angry. And in all my anger I can’t help feeling that our mythologies taught us some of the worst treatment towards women. Sita in Ramayana and Draupadi in Mahabhrata both victims of domestic violence – physical, emotional and sexual. In Sita we see the classic case of a women victim of sexual abuse and abduction being blamed, ostracized and further victimized. As if it was her fault that Ravana abducted her. How dare Ram and his people ask her to prove her innocence. Just how audacious is the idea.
Equally bizarre is the scene in Mahabharata where Draupadi was being stripped off her clothes in the and the entire kingdom was watching. I wonder what was the intention behind writing such mythologies, what did they try to convey? All I gather from these is violence against women and they make me very angry. At least I wouldn’t let any of my children to read these mythologies.
More on this later, as of now, here’s an article I wrote for Bell Bajao blog. Read below:
One of the biggest movie production company in Bollywood, Yash Raj Films (YRF) made a debut in the Indian Television Industry in partnership with Sony TV.
Starting 1st Jan 2010, for three days in a week Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 2 hours 8 pm to 10 pm Sony TV will go red (the brand colour of YRF) and showcase some nice and fresh TV series created by YRF TV a subsidiary of YRF production.
From the look of it YRF TV promises to be fresh, out of the box, progressive and gender balanced. From YRF’s official announcement,
The offering from YRF TV will be “distinct” in their look, feel, colour, sound and language, with fresh, contemporary and engaging storylines – these shows reflect the dreams, aspirations & passion of today’s young India and are attuned to deliver “a unique and novel television viewing experience” which will not only appeal to the existing viewers, but bring new viewers to television. The shows combine the best of modern technology, scale and the exceptional story telling skills of YRF.
At the moment there are 5 shows, 1 non fiction Lift Kara De which is a reality show where a star would hunt for his/her greatest fan and in the process somebody’s life would be lifted. I didn’t quite get the show but Karan Johan is hosting it and the pilot episode had Shah Rukh Khan. Enough said.
Then there are 4 fictions, Mahi Way, Rishta.com, Powder and Seven.
‘Mahi Way‘ is a story about Mahi – a 25 year old single and independent girl who loves to eat, therefore fat and therefore a complete misfit in both her family and her workspace, a fashion magazine house. She never had a boyfriend but writes a relationship column in the magazine for people who are like her, misfits, because she knows what it feels to be one. Her best friend is hot and dumb, her other best friend is a gay. She has a perpetual crush on this hunk who works in the same building but she keeps bumping into this guy who she thinks is clumsy, annoying and brings out the worst in her.
Gender constructs suck big time. They just suck so much they boil my blood and make me hate every nice thing in the world. And I just wonder if they can make me, one who enjoys all the freedom in the world, so agitated then how traumatic it must be for those people who are forced to live under these constructs. They keep reinforcing such strong gender constructs at every step of the way that it becomes harder and harder to break them. Let’s take a look at few Indian Ad films as of now though gender constructs are rampant in all … Continue reading The gender factor:Indian TV commercials
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when I say ‘Khatron ke Khiladi‘ in a post which is categorised as Bollywood? Who else but arguably one of the most dashing, sexy and bravest action hero in Bollywood, … Continue reading Khatron Ke Gorgeous Khiladi
Catalogue for wedding cards. That’s right I came across this awesome series of wedding card designs on India Together. Are you getting married soon or are arranging a marriage for your siblings or children and want to say no to dowry in an elegant and noticeable way? India Together has a simple and no-cost solution for you. Our D-Free wedding card catalogue. Wedding invitations that inform people far and near can be a powerful tool to give prominence to one’s concerns against dowry. A D-Free wedding card can be used in weddings that do not involve any dowry. Launch … Continue reading Dowry Free Catalogue
No bisexuals in humans That, is more or less the crux of a post written by Sukumar which again is inspired by another post by Dumaketu. I appreciate the blogger’s guts to write about such topic (although I didn’t understand his post one bit), but OH MY GOD what a faulty presumption. I can’t even begin to write about it. I come across young men like Sukumar every now and then and wonder how could one ever bridge this gap between these two worlds…the hetero-normative world being oblivious to the other world which knows no labelling. There is no such … Continue reading The others
In life, never ask for a promise never take one, if they offer to promise. Promises are not to be given and taken they are to be felt within and proven at the right time. Good to have friends today but you better not count too much on them. Coz no one stays. No one. From parents, to siblings, to friends, to partners, to children, they all are bound to have other priorities at one point or the other. Today you might be on some one’s priority list tomorrow you may not. You might be some one’s ‘need’ today, but … Continue reading Promise
Conversation on Gtalk… (Note mom’s typing speed is one 100th of my speed, so I got edge over her while arguing, by the time she frames one argument and types it out I have said 5 more arguments. The conversation was in Bengali am giving the translated version) Me – Mom, when do you plan to come down to Bangalore? am planning to take a flat you can come after that and stay for some long time. Mom – Flat? have you seen already? how much would be the rent… Me – would be around 8-9K have not yet seen … Continue reading Conversation with mom
Introduction: “Change is the only constant”. That’s not my line but I particularly like it. I know just one way of living life, change. I don’t stay tuned to anything, body, person, concept, thought, believe, system, discipline, logic, reason, philosophy … Continue reading Feminist Film Review: Fanaa
I read it somewhere, that Shilpa Shetty said, any man showing interest in her or willing to date her should first seek her father’s permission. Really, why Ms Shetty? Because you are your father’s property? Or would ‘chattel’ be the proper … Continue reading Ms. Shilpa Shetty, thank you very much for conforming to patriarchy