February 20, 2013

Some ordinary words and a mini link bomb


Well, halloa! That’s hullo, in Sherlock Holmes speak. It’s been a while! The thing is, I have lost my language. I don’t know if it happens to any of you, but sometimes some events leave me dumb. Without speech, oral or written. Ironically, this time it was the horrorifying hatred meted out to the girl in Delhi who was on board one of my favourite city hangouts: a public bus. Ironic, because this particular case did something very heartwarming — it brought Delhiites out onto unsanitised protest spaces because they simply couldn’t contain their anger to Jantar Mantar anymore. My friend tells me she even saw a neighbourhood protest march in Dwarka! Dwarka!! My ‘local’ in Delhi, that huge sub-city, the mass of buildings that house people who mostly leave it in the morning for work and re-enter again in the evening. Dwarka, where women and men aren’t safe sometimes even in brightly lit spaces on main roads, or even in front of metro stations. Delhi was finding some sort of a voice against gender violence, so why was I/am I stricken silent?

To be honest, I think I am re-evaluating the nature of future feminist interventions from my side. I am so tired of the rage I feel when I read of and hear of and see sexual violence, so tired of seeing it everywhere that I’ve decided I need to re-orient the lens with which I view feminism. By that I don’t mean that I’m suddenly changing my ideas, I’m just very, very concerned about the question of my personal intervention: in conversations, in writing, in my own participation in public movements. This re-orientation is still in process and the only thing it has achieved so far, is my solemn decision to quit anger. I did a lot of outraged sputtering in the aftermath of the Delhi gang-rape, in conversations with well-meaning people with disturbing (to me) ideas about rape and women. Outraged sputtering is just that: incoherent, useless, and injurious to mental health. It’s also the quickest way to ensure a potentially willing ear turning hostile:)  Delhi in December gave me hope because it brought in a new audience and new actors. I too need to figure out a way to relate to the non-converts.

In the meantime, I choose to take in and not produce. This is going to be an indiscriminate sort of intake of news, views, ideas and I’m determined to push my own eyesight above the horizon I have thus far set for myself. I’m going to dig in corners I used to leave well alone.

Somewhat on that note, I’d like to share with you some links that I’ve found interesting recently. They are just random links that may or may not be related. I’d love for you to also share your own random links, in the comments section below.

1. Feministing has a series on faith and feminism. A couple of links from there:




2. Another:



3. This exchange on Reddit did the rounds of social media a while back. I’m sharing it here because Balpreet Kaur’s graceful response to an attempt at publicly ridiculing her body is terribly inspiring to me. Perhaps you too might like to read it/read it again.


4. An image for your amusement.

Photo credit: Uday Shankar

There you go. Unethical sex is cancerous. (Courtesy my friend Pallavi Paul who brought it to my attention, Kavita Krishnan who shared this image and Uday Shankar, who captured it. Link- https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200414255700524&set=a.1087868318491.15467.1279934175&type=1&ref=nf)


5. And some upcoming events:

  •  Film festival in Chennai, 22-23 February, on gender and violence. For more details-


and  http://www.prajnya.in/iawrt13.htm

2 comments to Some ordinary words and a mini link bomb

  • Anwesha Bhattacharjee

    Koyel, you’ve emoted what I’ve felt for two months now. I don’t know why the brutal gang-rape just made me want to scream incoherently, and yet when I tried typing something out — nothing. Just a blank page and a mind full of jumbled thoughts, emotions, anger and moments when I questioned the worthiness of my existence.

    There were so many contradictory thoughts drifting through my head at the time. I was happy that people were on the streets in spontaneous protests, I was pessimistic that women of my generation, no matter how much we protest, are still going to nurture their sons with a sense of entitlement.

    I saw these outraged young men and women with pride, yet I couldn’t help wondering how many of them would actually support a friend, brother or son hanged if they raped.

    It’s easy for us to walk down a street, yell, and be shocked. Is it as easy for us to change the way we’ve been conditioned to think for centuries, as a society? How do I trust myself and my peers to hold to these ideals when we’re faced with dilemmas involving our own?

  • Koyel

    Thanks, Anwesha, for your comment. This is a dilemma that I too am faced with when thinking about resistance of any kind, the question of ‘what does it achieve’?

    There is a part of me that likes tangible results. But I also realise that the role of resistance is not to always produce something ‘out there’. Sometimes, the churning itself is the result, it creates a channel, creates the conditions for new possibilities. How they translate, is anybody’s guess.

    I’ve been wondering if I can think of resistance keeping both these aspects in mind: a play between ‘actual’ change and the creation of channels of possibility.

    What do you think?

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