The feminist rani is not a phrase simply coined to indulge the Indian audiences. As the co-author of the book named the same, Shaili Chopra says, “the English- Hindi word was constructed to break the notion that feminism is an import from the western world”. Shaili Chopra has co-authored the book to document the offline conversations of her popular television show, She the People. When asked about the nascent story behind the book, she emphasised on the need for ‘everyday feminism’. It is a book carefully crafted to seem approachable instead of leaving the reader wary of what will leap out of the pages. With the discomfort surrounding the definition of feminism, one’s personal understanding of the notion, and their experiences shaping any new context given to the ideology, she takes care to start in places which demonstrate a feminism so ordinary that we tend to overlook it in our over-zealous approach towards it.
The characters that she particularly called upon were those of Rohini Shirke and Gauri Sawant, to give a perspective on feminism devoid of sexuality and socio-economic background.
Rohan Shirke, from Satara, wielded the internet, to empower herself to become a self-driven entrepreneur putting her set of degrees to good use. Her drive pushed her to go beyond the horizon of her village and become the ‘Internet Didi’, a pioneer for a bunch of villages around hers that allowed the spark of independence to foster.
Gauri Sawant may have found her fame through the award-winning Vicks advertisement, but the touch of care that she sought to give to her daughter was a result of a long drawn battle with social customs and the hetero’ normative society at large. Her story as a part of this enlightening collective of stories puts light on feminist motherhood. A motherhood that seeks to nurture their children in feminist ideals and talk about a motherhood driven by emotion, beyond biology.
More often than not, every revolutionary change in societal ideals, tends to oscillate quite violently. And the feminist movement has seen more often than not, the over-aggressive feminist looking to border on the supremacy of a gender to even the scales of justice. To a question probed on the same matter, she replied saying that feminist supremacy somewhere arises through a patriarchal society as well. When an overbearingly loud voicing of opinions seems like the only way to push your ideas, somewhere we have given up on the feminine way itself.
With conversations on feminism across generations and pink being as feminist as black, the book seeks to keep us engaged in the scheme of things and passively participate in the making of a future aligned with the theme.
Her definition of feminism, which was the underlying of the thought constantly focussed on standing up for oneself. But that isn’t the same takeaway she wants the readers to have. Her parting comments very simply gave us the freedom to perceive the topic through our own thought processes; “Don’t take back one definition of feminism, find your own”, she says.
About the Author: At 19, Deepika Aiyer is an avid reader, crazy kdrama fan and loves to explore the What ifs of the world in her spare time.She currently writes for Bookstalkist.