Sum Total

Posted: February 2, 2014

One Indian woman


a feminist


a fair, homely, beautiful eligible girl


determined and strong, opinionated


tall, slim and a slender figure


independent and a critical-thinker


traditional, cultured, well-mannered and modest


anti-patriarchal and anti-misogyny


submissive, docile, adjusting home-maker


fearless and honest


faithful and God-fearing


rational and practical


a “abla naari”

Divided by


Multiplied by

a strong desire to fight back and live

sums me up.

Disclaimer: This post has been inspired from a film by Sonali. Original title of the film is Sum Total. A Matrimonial. Sonali is an activist and filmmaker who has made several films including Sum Total and Barefeet.

I smash the patriarchy for a living! Founder & Editor-in-chief of Feminism in India.

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  1. -

    Dear Japleen,
    This is Dr Mrs Sushma Joiya Pandit, working on women development for the last 30 years and found
    that most of the women are lairs and are always jealous to see the development of other ladies. This is one of the most important reason for their backwardness.
    Your write up, though is very very correct and is the need of the hour. But it is applicable to those ladies who really want gender equality and do not require any ladder to climb up. Male gender is dominating her because they think that the ladies are climbers and need a support to climb—– which in fact is not true.
    I have read your most of the articles and want to have your association too.
    Please send me your e mail id at my id

    • Thank you Dr. Sushma! I have sent you an email. Looking forward to hear from you 🙂

    • “most of the women are lairs and are always jealous to see the development of other ladies”

      Really? Quite a startling statement.

    • Quite true Aparna. I really can attest to the fact because one of the reasons for my divorce was my jealous sister-in-law whose insecurity was exploited both by my ex-husband and father-in-law for their own domestic politics. Even now, I am the object of jealousy and hence ill-deserved slanders by my low educated and married lady neighbour whose jealousy is triggered because of comments by her husband who praises me for my financial independence!!!
      I don’t know who to pity more : The men who play such games or the women who becomes unwitting participants!!!

    • Regarding your comment that many women are ‘liars and jealous’ to see the development of other women. I feel it is mainly because everywhere women have been conditioned to get the acknowledgement from the men, and when some women get it, the other women feel as if, they have lost their position. So, it is more to do with getting that acknowledgement that women are striving for. Now, we have to start conditioning them to applaud themselves, and become cohesive. The attitude to pat themselves for their merit, whether the men in the family agree or not, should be taught.
      From what we see in a family system, the woman of one family is taken from her family of birth. When she enters the husband’s family, they always treat her with jealousy and as an outsider. Even if she tries to give her best she is criticised, because of basic fear that this woman should not become the top hierarchy in any way. Family politics, you see?!

    • I agree with this statement. Women being Liars is mostly because they crave for acknowledgement from other men. There are very few woman who are self-assured and it is mostly because they are dependent in some way on their menfolk or society who exploit this vulnerability. I have been at the receiving end of this “jealousy” many times and have been partly amused to notice that in most cases, this is instigated by men in the first place!!!

  2. I agree with Sushma Joiya about man gender only think that a women above everything depends on the man that which is totally wrong think and they need to improve in this, after that we can imagine is that a good society we will have In the coming days…

  3. I do not agree with the minus part of this balance sheet. Feminism is not about giving up traditions, culture and modesty. Feminism is not about leaving faith and God behind. Our culture does not ask women to be ‘abla naris’, on the contrary scriptures and folk-lore are filled with strong women and goddesses. If they have the docile and homely form of Gowri, they also have the independent and opinionated form of woman in Durga. Likewise for men. Men are also projected in both avatars, there is the homely form of Vishnu, and the fearless form of Shiva. While husband is supposed to be treated as God by wife, the same theory states that wife is God for husband. But somewhere along the generations, men have twisted these interpretations to suit their interests. Feminism is about correcting this balance, bringing it to an equation where both men and women are the same.
    Just my personal view on the above article. No offenses 🙂

  4. Loved this poem! Stray strong, opinionated and unafraid to declare it. We need more young women like you.

  5. Pingback: Sum Total | Japleen Pasricha

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