No, I am not a writer or a philosopher; and this isn’t a masterpiece you are privileged to read. I am just another think-tank that fires its feelings when ammunition is provided. There is a gush I feel within my body. I am overwhelmed with emotion. Do you know why? In the multiplicity of reasons, one of them is because I feel connected. No, not in the Nokia way! I feel connected to the women’s movement, I feel connected to humankind.
Robert Lynd, in one of his essays wrote, ‘…that on hearing them we become a part of some universal music,..Man (read everyone) is in love with life, and these are the million fold chorus of life.’
Its not a sudden connect, or God forbid an accidental discovery / nirvana. It is something you realize as and when you get more and more conscious of the world around you, and in this consciousness of yours, you question, and when you pursue your question enough to have found a satisfactory multi-layered answer, you rest your case, (not in peace though). My quest is similar.
In my first year (in college), my political theory teacher said in class, “Feminism is nothing but the theorizing of the everyday struggles of women’s life. These struggles don’t range from urban cities per se, but their voices scream rather loud in “distant” villages, forests, tribes, what we call ‘God forsaken area.’ ”
I will tell you why I feel connected to this struggle. The lady who runs the neighborhood parlour I visit, who I fondly call aunty, is a simple Punjabi woman from Ludhiana. I have always admired her, not because she is a ‘Shahnaz Hussain’ or what, in very derogatory language, the Women’s Era magazine describes as “Alpha Women.” Even though in a set up of a parlour, I wasn’t her client. I was just ‘me’, without market labels attached, and she was just another woman. Just another woman, who had found her alternate source of income, just another woman who is full of passion to learn but can’t always find the channels to pour them in.
Yesterday, my mom told me that she had started to learn English and she wanted everyone to converse with her in that language. My mother was emotionally touched. Because when she rejoined work she knew little about computers, but today she knows more than me. In our Indian set up, women don’t give up at forty, they give up once they are married, others when they are born, many others are given up much before they are born.
In the parlour, while I spoke to her in English, I got to know that this was a long cherished desire of hers, not something that sprung up one Sunday morning. She said finally it was getting fulfilled, thanks to the British School of spoken English and her family.
I want to join in this endeavor and call her everyday. In smaller ways I call this feminism (as quoted by my teacher). There are others who would call this ‘effects of neo – imperialism’, but I am not here to satisfy every hungry person, I write for myself and for everyone who wants to hear. I still don’t know why the many varied men run miles from the F word, I still don’t know why some women misconstrue this to be the evils of western desire. Friends, feminism is for you and me, regardless of our gender. This isn’t capitalism which is ‘about you or I, not you and I’ (Karl Liebstricht.)
And now, towards the conclusion, you may dispose this piece as nonsense, you may think of me to be some queer headed weird woman, you may criticize it as education has provided you with greater levels of prejudices, you may appreciate it for reasons best known to you, you may do what you want, but if you are reading what I have written, my job here is done.
Sneha Ravi Iyer