Bollywood item songs are being reclaimed by women to strip them of their sexism

At an all-girls college, sixty small groups of teenagers are scattered across the hallway. The teachers have all left, likely in search of some semblance of peace for a few hours, as the girls continue to sway to the beats vibrating throughout the auditorium. Presently, the music system is commandeered by a student body representative, and without warning, the thumping strains of Sheila Ki Jawaani are blasting through the hall. Everyone from the age of 15 to 18 is fervently singing along to this

“As a Muslim Indian woman, Ms Marvel makes me feel seen at last”

A Muslim South Asian girl as a superhero? In some multiverse, there’s a teenage me squealing with joy at Disney+’s newest Marvel show, Ms Marvel. As an Indian Muslim woman who has grown up watching Marvel movies, I’ve waited a long time for this representation, and in the character of Kamala Khan, it has been worthwhile. As an Indian Muslim, my first reaction to watching the show was of scepticism; would a Western audience tolerate this much south Asian-ness? Yet at no point has it felt that th

Lucknow’s monuments bear witness to the hidden love stories of its many visitors

Residency, counted among the most popular of Lucknow’s monuments, famous for the Indian Rebellion of 1857, is a couples’ haven. It’s fascinating to see what once was a battleground for our country’s quest for freedom is now a place where the revolution of love takes place every day. Couples in Lucknow escape into many of Residency’s nooks to spend time with each other—a secret they believe their families are blissfully unaware of. In a world that defines privacy as closed doors and password-prot

#DesiBooksReview 2: Fateema’s House of Her Own

“We don’t want to sell this house to a Mohammadan.” My father was too shocked to respond and a sob escaped my mother. She kept repeating how this was not the India where she’d grown up. I sat there disappointed, but not surprised. My parents had found their dream house after five years of searching but, more than the loss of a house, this served as a painful reminder of a Muslim’s place in today’s India. It broke our hearts to be reminded that there is a huge population in our country that would

“Antiman” Takes Us on a Journey through Continents and Identities, Borders Be Damned

Rajiv Mohabir’s memoir, Antiman, takes us on a journey through the United States, India, Canada, and Guyana. While the author does not physically take us to Guyana, it would be unfair to not include it because we travel there through Aji’s songs. Aji, Rajiv’s paternal grandmother, is central to this memoir because Rajiv identifies strings that weave the narrative of his life into the songs she sings. Rajiv’s ancestors were Indians who were sent to Guyana by Britishers. During British rule, some

[App Fridays] This anti-cheating app lets you fund your foreign education, travel with just a simple test

After receiving another scholarship rejection, I fervently looked for opportunities to fund my education for a prestigious college abroad without taking out a loan. At 24, the idea of being in debt made me uneasy. In an economy hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, funding higher education is a mammoth task that burdens the students. I came across Bengaluru-headquartered Mokusei Intelligence and its founder Ashish Bohora. I visited the website, and two hours later — after falling down the rabbi

People called Lucknow (short story)

Popular definitions of Lucknow refer to its famed etiquette, refined culture and gastronomy. After all, for a long time, Lucknow has been one of those few cities in our country that have been a safe haven for great architecture, literature, music and food; where various forms of art and craft have blossomed. However, the newer times have opened up this Awadhi melting pot to fresh aspirations and negotiations. People called Lucknow characterises this rich multifaceted mosaic of the city, with 45 stories. And one of them is about a Prince residing in his castle in Lucknow and his deep connection with the language of the city and the world.

My Body Is My Permanent Home – And I Must Embrace it

I have often searched for home, in places and people. I have felt rooms, rooftops, the arms of my friend, or the side of the bed – which are only temporary – to be my home. But it took me several years to recognise that I also looked at my body as a temporary home – something that eventually has to change. It is heartbreaking that we all look at our bodies that way. Change, of course, is natural but we don’t like to believe it. We all look at our bodies and refuse to accept the fact that it m

Islamophobia In The Times Of A Pandemic

We are living in a deeply political and critical time. Prior to the pandemic, COVID-19, that has now gripped the entire world, India was going through a massive shift in its political grounds. To say that we were in a position of crumbling as a nation because of the massive economic and social crisis would still be an understatement because we have actually been in this position for quite a long time. And the layer that covers the entire crisis looks a lot like communal hatred or Islamophobia wh

Women! It Is Time To Infiltrate Into The Tech World

Technology is constantly evolving and diversifying into more and more fields. There are new gadgets, equipment, designs that are not only making the world a bit more convenient but also giving us an enhanced experience of everything around us. Professionally speaking this is the field that is also pulling the most money and constantly growing. It is no hidden truth that technology is also the field that is not easily accessible to women. Women in India experience several barriers that usually hi

Book Review: Baluta By Daya Pawar

Baluta, a book written by famous Dalit Maharashtran poet and writer Daya Pawar, is one of the first Dalit autobiographies in India. Written in Marathi in the year 1978 the book casts light not only on the act of untouchability and atrocities committed on the Mahar community in Maharashtra but also brings out the pride that the Dalit community holds for itself. It reflects, personally, on Pawar’s own failings as a person, the intersectional women in his life and how caste boundaries remain wherev

Film Review: Yeh Ballet Pushes Us To Work A Little Harder For Our Dreams

Yeh Ballet is a Sooni Taraporevala film that is based on her documentary Ballet Boys. Ballet Boys and by extension Yeh Ballet are films based on the lives of Amiruddin Shah and Manish Chauhan. These two young artists made their way out of the struggling life in Mumbai into the ballet world. Amiruddin Shah made into the Oregon Ballet Theatre in United states of America while Manish Chauhan joined Royal Ballet School in London. The film is extraordinary for its ordinary portrayal of the struggle,

Why Don't We Talk About Muslim Dalit Women?

I don’t know what it means to live as a Muslim woman in Modi’s India. I’m terrified most of the time. All my life decisions – including the career I want to pursue or the place I want to live – are determined by the ruling dispensation’s expectations, and not what I actually want. It has only added to the myriad difficulties that we, as Muslim women, go through. When you visualise a Muslim woman, you see someone in a Burqa and not me. You don’t see a recent college graduate from a liberal arts

Begum Hamida Habibullah: Politician And Social Activist | #IndianWomenInHistory

Begum Hamida Habibullah was one of the most popular faces in Lucknow; her work as a politician and a social activist changed the lives of thousands of women in and out of Lucknow. Begum Hamida Habibullah was born on 20 November 1916, hailing from Hyderabad, she was the daughter of Nawab Bahadur Yar Jung of Hyderabad and Talmain Khatoon. At the age of 22, she was married to Major General Enaith Habibullah, who was the founder of National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla. Her later life as a politici

Mental Health During Menopause: The Collective Ignorance And Lack Of Support

Menopause and mental health have not been a very active part of discussions at the dinner table. This has happened mainly for two reasons. One, the long-drawn stigma against any conversation regarding a woman’s reproductive health and mental health and two, because menopause is mostly regarded as something that brings physical changes in a woman’s body but is barely ever associated with the psychological changes a person goes through during this period. In a country like India, with its vast cu

The War At Muslim Doorsteps: Voices That Were Left Unheard

I was in class eleventh when I first had to defend my reason for not liking the Bharatiya Janata Party. Somehow the fact that BJP stands against an entire minority community, the Muslim community, was not enough of a justification. I was attacked with words that stated how BJP was going to turn the country around with its “economic and international policies”. The MUN crowd sneered at me for choosing to side with my own community rather than the “growth and development or vikas” of the nation. H

In Conversation With Professor Bittu: A Neuroscientist And A Queer Activist

The first time I attended Professor Bittu’s talk was during a celebratory gathering at Ashoka University when Section 377 was struck down. The second time, I attended his lecture for a Psychology 101 class, where he spoke about how the brain works. In both cases, I was awestruck by his brilliance and his passion for teaching, which was evident in the way he engaged with his students and articulated his ideas. A Queer activist and a Neuroscientist, Professor Bittu has been a tireless advocate fo

Toying with Social Conditionings

When you walk into a toy store to buy toys for the cute little monster in your house, the first thing you ask the shopkeeper is to show you toys according to the gender of the child you’re buying them for. For a girl, they usually show you Barbie sets where the Barbie is either standing next to a washing machine, or next to a fancy overpriced kitchen set, or maybe a huge iron, or a fake hair curler, or even a plastic baby. You might also be shown a jewelry-making box but maybe, the shopkeeper mi
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