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‘Why is ‘Mardaangi’ Only About Strength Not Compassion?’ On Shabana Azmi’s 71st B’day, We Celebrate Her Most Powerful Quotes!

A renowned actress, women's activist, Padma Bhushan Shabana Azmi turns 71 & we celebrate her most iconic quotes! 

A renowned actress, women’s activist, Padma Bhushan Shabana Azmi turns 71 & we celebrate her most iconic quotes! 

Shabana Azmi was born on September 18, 1950 to Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi and stage actress Shaukat Azmi. She won the hearts of movie lovers with her debut in ‘Ankur’ in 1974.

Her 46 years of countless contributions to Bollywood has made her a paragon of feminism, fashion, power, and rebellion. Apart from her spectacular work in Hindi films and even Hollywood, Shabana Azmi is regarded as a leading social activist and an inspiring orator. Read on to experience the magic of Shabana Azmi’s words!

A girl’s right to be born…

“Female infanticide is something I feel very strongly about. When we talk about the empowerment of women, surely the seeds of it should start from the girl’s right to be born.”

Image source: Shabana Azmi’s insta – @azmishabana18

Don’t call me a goddess!

“We call her ‘mother goddess’. But I don’t want to be treated as a goddess, I want to be treated as equal. Today’s society cannot afford to do anything except treat genders as equal.”

Image source: Screenshot from YouTube video – Shabana Azmi: The Woman Of Substance by Feminstaa

Women must celebrate their sexuality…

“I don’t think there is anything wrong with women celebrating their sexuality provided they are not surrendering to the male gaze. This is what happens frequently in mainstream cinema, and this is a problem because women are still allowing themselves to be commodified.”

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Image source: Shabana Azmi’s insta – @azmishabana18

Our definition of manhood needs to change

“The empowerment of women depends on how we raise our boys. Have we questioned why masculinity is always about power and strength, about mardangi (manhood)? Why is mardangi also not about compassion and consideration?”

Image source: Shabana Azmi’s insta – @azmishabana18

Do not just educate us, make us visible!

“We are over 100 million Muslim women in India and around 2 million get to go to college. So, even when we do get educated, so few of us are really visible, so few of us have the opportunity to climb up the social and financial ladder. That’s unacceptable. Not just because it denies us access to something as basic as a decent job, it also denies women the ability to be truly independent.”

Image source: Shabana Azmi’s insta – @azmishabana18

The kitchen is not for the women alone!

“We are constantly told to prioritize things in life. Men over work, families over work, cooking and dinner over work, taking care of children over work. Most of these are looked at as women’s work alone. But women’s movement has made us realize that no space is inherently gendered. The kitchen is not for the women alone, nor is the office for the man. Know that you can own a space that you wish to occupy.”

Image source: Shabana Azmi’s insta – @azmishabana18

We need to become a more inclusive society

“We fear what we do not know and thus are created ‘the other’… the other race, the other religion, the other gender. Who decides what’s normal? We need to become a far more inclusive society.”

Image source: Shabana Azmi’s insta – @azmishabana18

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About the Author

Muskan Sharma

Muskan is an undergraduate literature student, an avid reader and a writer. Her areas of interest include gender, sexuality and psychology. She feels strongly for the things around and does not shy away from voicing read more...

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