You seldom get to listen to Kamla Bhasin. SheThePeople.TV was present at the Indraprastha College where Bhasin spoke at length on many key issues surrounding gender and women’s rights. Here is a detailed report
Kamla Bhasin, the renowned Indian feminist, poet, author and social scientist, never fails to engage her audience with thought-provoking lectures. In a career spanning over 42 years, she has worked at both national and international level to start the dialogue around women and their rights.
Besides working on her NGO Sangat, she also works with underprivileged women in an effort to elevate their social and economic status. At an event organised recently by the students of Delhi University, she shared her views about feminism and the various myths surrounding it.
Feminism is not an urban phenomenon
People across the world mistake feminism to be an urban concept. According to them, it is the women of upper class that can bring about change in the society. Kamla Bhasin, however, begs to differ. She says,”It is wrong to say that Feminism is an urban phenomena. All major women’s movements in the history of world were initiated by rural women.”
She substantiated her statement by giving the example of Chipko Movement where the participation of hordes of rural women made the movement a huge success. “The land rights movement, the Chipko movement are all outcomes of the hard work put in by women from villages”, she added.
Patriarchy dehumanizes men
The world has been bounded by the shackles of patriarchy for centuries now. It is interesting to note that this archaic social institution harms both men and women equally. While it takes away freedom from women, it dehumanizes the men.
Kamla Bhasin observes,”Most of the violence inflicted on people is by men. They feel it is masculine to hide their emotions and become violent. Patriarchy dehumanizes men. It affects them as much as women.”
She also went on to explain the dichotomy present between sex and gender. While sex is the biological aspect of the person, gender is a societal concept. “Nature didn’t distinguish between men and women. The only difference was that we (women) have been given the power to reproduce. But we still have most of the leadership positions held by men”, she adds laying emphasis on the impact gender has on our day to day lives.
Feminism is not men-hating
She made it very clear that feminism shouldn’t be confused with men-hating. She wants men and women to work in Itihaad (harmony) and make feminism beneficial for all.
Eradicating gender stereotypes from rhymes
Nurturing the dream of creating gender progressive households, she has taken up the onus of eliminating gender stereotypes from nursery rhymes. According to a report by Quartz, she has started rewriting nursery rhymes to suite the modern-day scenario.
“Mother works away all day… Through the week and all Sunday… She always has something to do… She always has some task in view… She bears the burden all alone…”
Girls and Boys
In singing songs or flying kites
In running fast or climbing heights
At school or home, with books or toys
Girls are no way less than boys.
The struggle to gender equality is a long one. But women like Kamla Bhasin are leaving no stone unturned to liberate both men and women. SheThePeople.TV salutes her affirmative efforts in the direction of making the world a better place.
Image credits: Youtube.com