Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Of Dreams Riding on Determination: Maheshwari's Inspiring Account

I am Maheshwari from a small village near Warangal. I wish to share with you my story.  There’s nothing extraordinary in it but I believe that my experiences as a girl growing up in a conservative village will inspire you in some ways.

Alone, I Walk the Path of Life
Both my parents are farmers. I have a younger brother who is studying in intermediate. I studied in a typical government school. You probably know how such schools are, so I won’t elaborate. 
However, in spite of being educated, most girls in our village are married at an early age. It breaks my heart to see girls younger than seventeen become mothers of two children. I know them, and trust me they would love to live a life otherwise.
Uncertain Routes
They would love to go to college, get a job and work for the country. But they can’t; marriage is the only destiny for girls in our village. Now you may wonder how I came to have access to higher education in a major city like Hyderabad.

Well, I truly am an exception in my village. Much against the wishes of the villagers and my relatives, my father stood by me and sent me to Hyderabad to complete my higher education. He has great faith in me and would like to see me serve the nation. But this confidence did not grow all at once. One step at a time, my father analysed me and my actions and came to believe that I was not to be married off  but to be educated in a city.

Born to Bloom
One of the incidents that led to my father’s conviction in me was when I was in Class 6th. I went to school as usual and found my friends discussing about the marriage of another friend of mine. They were all very sad, as my friend was only 12 years old and the man who came to marry her was more than twenty. I was very angry and upset. So I asked my father if he could do something to save her life. My father politely said, “ Do what you want to, dear. You can go and save your friend and I know only how to save my daughter if she is in trouble”.
I was very disappointed and felt that my father let me down by not helping me. So I decided to take matters into my hand. I went to my friend’s house, met her family and requested them to stop the marriage. They simply waved me off taking my sincere pleas as a child’s whim. To them I was like a little bird- little enough to be blown away in a storm.
Braving the Complexities of Life
But I was not ready to be stopped. I went to the police station and met the S.I., Raiman Sir. He came with me in his jeep and told my friend’s father that he must stop the marriage or else he would have to arrest him and his family. The marriage was stopped and chaos ensued. Things were getting difficult when I saw my father come along with the Village Sarpanch. I was very surprised to see him and said, “Why did you not help me when I asked?” He smiled and coolly said, “ My job is to encourage and support you and not help you”.  
He stood by me and told me something that I shall remember forever. He said, “ Live like a lion. Don’t live like a deer. The deer can be hunted by the hunter but the lion can't be”.

I have since tried to be brave in all circumstances in my life. This incident was a small triumph. But there are many girls who are married before they complete school and I am unable to do anything about it. I just think how lucky I am to have a father who has sent me to a city to get college education despite the criticism, jokes and taunts of the society back in my village.  

Currently, I am the only girl in my village who has studied up to graduation, and that too in Hyderabad.

Let the Sun Never Set on a Girl's Ambition
I request all my friends in college, especially those who have lived their lives in the city to not take your education for granted. Girls of our age in my village are suffering, and if they give birth to girls they are being tortured by their in-laws. Education is a gift and let’s not waste even a bit of it. I thank my college for offering me things that I only dreamed of: good teachers, a big library, NCC, NSS, friends with whom I can speak in English and above all an opportunity to grow, learn and do something for my country. 

– Jai Hind!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Back to College: A Poem by Ruchita. K

I am back
to college
Excited to see
Greeting and catching up with each other.
I search for my friends
And find them under a tree
They smile at my late arrival
I hold them and find my Happiness Key.

A new classroom awaits us
And new goals set
The fragrance of new books makes me remember
I have got another chance to write my fate.

The first day of college after a long summer-
Fresh lessons, jokes, and sharing
delicious food made by our mothers

Above all, the certainty of meeting every day
Adding new memories to the old ones
Happy hours are here and here to stay

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The Liberation of Sita: A Review by Srinidhi Gavaraj

“ I am the daughter of Earth, Rama. I have realised who I am. The whole universe belongs to me. I don’t lack anything. I am the daughter of the Earth.”
      The Liberation of Sita (2016), written by Vogla, a well known Telugu writer and translated into English by Prof. T. Vijay Kumar and late Prof. C.Vijayasree is the new rendition of Ramayana from Sita’s point of view. The book shows us the journey of Sita who questions 'dharma', fidelity, duty and feminism. Sita's interaction with Surpanaka, Ahyla, Renuka Devi, Urmila paves the way for her liberation. 

After proving her purity, Rama and Sita return to Ayodhya. Few months later,  Sita becomes pregnant. It raises eyebrows and the society taunts Rama for accepting her which is why he sends her away on exile, she goes on to live in the forest near Sage Valmiki’s ashram. 

The first step of her becoming a liberated person happens when she meets Surpanaka, sister of Ravana  who lives in her beautiful garden  after being disfigured by the brothers. She struggles but learns to look beyond her beauty  and love her real self. Nature taught her patience and love. She says that the success of a woman does not lie in her relationship with a man. 

The story then shifts to Ahyla, Maharishi Gautama’s wife who was seduced by Indra. She exudes strength and individuality. She questions Sita on the power of men, and their fidelity. When Sita proudly defends Rama, she points out, “What does conducting an inquiry mean? Distrust, isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be better instead to believe in either your innocence or guilt?”

In the next chapter, Sita meets Renuka Devi who talks about husbands and sons. A woman thinks and is told that she doesn’t have a world other than her husband but some day they leave them and there is no place for her. She also gives birth to sons which she is being told is the ultimate goal of her life. But those sons are heirs to the fathers and attest to their authority. She says, ‘ Why bear such sons?” She also forces Sita to question the roles that have been imposed on women by the society.

Lastly, she meets Urmila who observed penance and and encourages Sita to become free.

 The book is an instant attraction with its eye-catching cover and is intriguing from the start. The interview of the author at the end of the book one of the best parts of the book. Volga talks about her life, political career and her love for writing and how she became a feminist

Sita in a New Light
The book taught me that even in the olden times, an opinionated woman was treated differently by the patriarchal society which mostly  looks down upon a woman who stands up for herself and wants to live her own life. This book makes one question, if things have changed in modern society. Liberation of Sita can help educate people about the ways in which we can all set each others free from distressing and draconian gender based obligations.

 I definitely would recommend it especially for the young girls of our college so that they may look at our ancient scriptures in a different light, and also gain some important lessons on what it means to be a woman and a feminist.