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Watch Kamla Bhasin, the well known Indian feminist activist, in conversation about feminism in India in this engaging video!
Kamla Bhasin ia a well known Indian feminist, social scientist, poet and author. In this video, she talks about feminism in the South Asian narrative, concentrating on India and Pakistan.
The video begins with the host asking her if the word feminism is as infamous in India as it is in Pakistan, and she laughs and says, “Bibi, ye to poori duniya mein badnaam hai” (it’s infamous everywhere), and I can’t help but let out a hum of approval.
She goes on to state that it may be because feminists criticise everything, because “har cheez patriarchal hai!”- everything is patriarchal be it education, religion or capitalism. This could just be the much needed answer to those people who complain about how ‘feminists drag feminism into everything’. What they don’t realise is what she points out so, so simply.
“Baatcheet karke hi samjhane ki koshish ki hai, magar fir bhi badnaam hum acche khaase hain.” (We have always tried to use only dialogue to create change, but we’re still pretty infamous)
Right before coming to this, she explains how feminists, unlike other movements (cough JatReservation cough), have never torched buses or used violence as a medium to make themselves heard. This, right here, is when I almost clapped because of how true it was! Feminists have been protesting about their causes but not at the expense of human rights and yet.. we’re still called ‘feminazis’.
She moves on to talk about the dynamics of a movement, how feminism has brought about changes in India and Pakistan, how schools were inherently a feminist institution and are now being used a a tool of patriarchal propaganda, drilling gender roles, stereotypes and all sorts of regressive constructs into the impressionable minds of children.
Watch the full video to hear her talk about these things in more detail, with a delightful Urdu drawl, if you’re interested!