In defence of the feminazi - and Mira Rajput

Like Sita, millions of Indian women wish everyday that the earth opens up and gives them relief from the thousand conflicts they have to live out.

 |  3-minute read |   24-03-2017
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Feminism takes so much beating in today’s India that it is almost impossible for a young girl to not question its fundamentals.

Not all feminists are feminazis. In fact, most of the women struggling for equality in their everyday lives are very laissez faire.

So my first thoughts about Mira Rajput were very benign. I was almost on her side, with a tinge of envy. She is so young and optimistic. It is cute.

I am glad she is not one of us old hags who have found ourselves crouched on our conjugal beds, at least once, with a feeling of being trapped.

Our womanhood has taken so much beating that we cringe at the thought of celebrating it.

Like Sita, millions of Indian women wish everyday that the earth opens up and gives them relief from the thousand conflicts they have to live out.

Their life is so undefined, so multifarious, that they don’t even dream of a day when they will get up like men, dress up and go to work, only to come home to a warm meal and well-fed children.

All they want is that society gives them some scope as individuals who have their own desires, eccentricities, and conflicts.

mira-rajput_032417083901.jpg So my first thoughts to Mira Rajput were very benign. I was almost on her side, with a tinge of envy. She is so young and optimistic. It is cute. Photo: YouTube

Of course, Sita is no feminist idol. Many wonder why a strong princess like her subverted her identity to such an extent only to call for death in the last hour.

Some many think it to be irresponsible that she left her young children motherless. Judgment is natural.

We judge according to our current state of knowledge.

However, why not let Sita be Sita? Her life may yet give strength to several women who make choices like hers in their life.

The psychology of those who choose to maintain certain circumscribed beliefs about “femaleness” as the only true benchmark is akin to the prisoners' in Plato’s cave.

They have been brought up chained in a cave forced to watch shadows flitting across its walls.

They believe these shadows are real. Only when one of the prisoners is freed and goes outside, the reality emerges.

At first, the freed prisoner is disoriented and watches reality with disbelief. Only after much exploring, she finds the true source of all knowledge and is liberated.

Some women are still living inside the cave, some are about to break free, and some are disoriented in the new light, and, of course, a rare few have found the source of true knowledge.

Only when one gets over the life inside of the cave, does one experience feminism.

Till then, the efforts should be applauded and encouraged in the interest of truth and liberty that awaits future generations of women who will, perhaps, be born free.

Maybe we approached the whole controversy around Mira Rajput’s statements with a wrong angle: as women against women.

We should have only seen it as a chance for a dialogue.

In the end, it is not women alone feminism strives for. A healthy and empowered Indian woman will shoulder a man’s burdens, raise better children, and contribute to a society in novel ways.

Along the way, there will be several confused statements and misguided actions.

There will be angry women, betrayed women, vindictive women, militantly individualistic women, coy women, girly women, cute women and nasty women.

As Paulo Freire says in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, “Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.”

Admittedly, we are a variety to reckon with but give us time. After all, we have only just begun to unfetter ourselves and discover our true nature.

Also read: What Mira Rajput and Gurmehar Kaur can teach us about the state of feminism

Writer

Pia Kahol Pia Kahol @piakahol

The writer is a PhD in creativity from Arizona State University. She currently lives in New Delhi.

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