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A Journey called ME

Me a name I call myself...
A journey to find ‘me’ began a good 24 years ago and I have stopped looking.

"I would have killed her, if it wasn't for my father-in-law", spoke a mother whose one year old toddled in front of her. Never could I decipher if it was remorse of being a woman and raising another, in a patriarchal society or familial politics that spoke through her...
Ironically, this "Father In Law" had the courage to let his daughter stay alive. The village and community had had no daughters in a 100years time then.

And here I came to being. The woman in me saw light.

This happened in a remote village near Jaisalmer, Rajasthan where I was documenting stories of change for a project on female foeticide and infanticide. Little had I known that these stories would bring a WOMAN to life! I had been a female all 23years of my being then.

I never believed in gender. I believed that this was the root cause of all the atrocities females were subjected to. And in my naivety I was in complete denial of the very existence of these nuances that defined the threads of the society and our living. I had been molested as a 10 year old and this compensation was the best I could do in my defense – the thought concretised.

Only to be broken by a man! He made me realise how in my want of EQUALITY, I was driving around thoughtlessly to being more and more like... a Man. “Pick the right weapon at least, even if you pick the wrong battle” is what he said.

Acceptance: I was seeking in a Man’s world! Suddenly I saw the suffocation of all the women – emancipated or not; in a city or a village; educated or not. All this, I realised, was reflecting in Mother Nature and our treatment towards her. We all are living the same lives, somewhere, everywhere. Wanting acceptance. Not realising acceptance or not; acknowledgement or not; we are EQUAL. This realisation in us women is what is quintessential. The moment this happens this world will be a different place and hopefully a better one too. After all we are the first schools any child is ever brought to. A daughter or a son – we lay the foundation for the future.

I know it will not happen overnight. But this is a start: to share, connect and communicate all those narratives I come across. World is growing smaller and it is here we can help each other understand ourselves better. Understanding ourselves would lead to the acceptance of us and save femininity from extinction. The strength is US!

That is why I believe in... SHARE

Comments

Jency's picture

Interesting

I guess what you say is right. An insightful and interesting post.

Jency

dnayyar's picture

Thanks

Dear Jency

Thanks so much for this... It's so encouraging...

Best
Deepika

Jency's picture

Book / Film?

Somehow that D in your user name registered in my mind as Deepthi. Don't know why :-)
The documentation is a book or a film? Would like to read / see when I get a chance.

dnayyar's picture

Book

Not bad... That was close with Deepti there... :P

By the way the documentation is a booklet. Would love to send it to you. Please give me an email add. to which I could send it right away.

Best
Deepika

CourtneyWilson's picture

Acceptance

Unfortunately acceptance and equal rights are still not easily given in many places around the world. Sharing your experience is definitely a good start to changing this way of thinking. Thank you for sharing you story. The female foeticide and infanticide is also an important topic to document and share. Maybe you could attach a copy of the pamphlet so we can all learn and open our eyes to how we can help.
Thank you for sharing,
Courtney

dnayyar's picture

Thanks Courtney

I so agree with you... we need to share.

Will put up the document on the female foeticide, very soon. will also let you know so you could then give me your thoughts on it and share it further.

Thanks so much for sharing.

Much love

Deepika

One of Many's picture

Very deep ideas you share, Dnayyar

Hello, Dnayyar:

That was a very unique introduction...making a story about a practice in your country makes it real for the reader. It is hard for me to believe a woman would want to kill her child, but I believe you are saying that life for the little girl would be so hard that it isn't fair for her to live. Such a deep tragedy. Thank you for telling this story.

The point about "picking the right weapon, even if you pick the wrong battle" is actually pretty deep. Did the man who molested you tell you this, or was it another man, who shared with you when you were doing your work?

The realization of how we often lose our woman-ness, in our attempts for acceptance in a man's world...is difficult to deal with. At least for me. It seems for me I need to work hard to stay centered, to allow my softness and intuition to take a major role....and not for my brain to kick in. What qualities do you associate with your femininity?

And why have you stopped looking for yourself? I don't mean that one can't indeed find oneself and quit feeling like there is a need for a search....but I want to get clear on how that happened for you.

I see this as your vision for making society stronger, and women more capable of sharing their womenhood with the world: "We all are living the same lives, somewhere, everywhere. Wanting acceptance. Not realising acceptance or not; acknowledgement or not; we are EQUAL. This realisation in us women is what is quintessential. The moment this happens this world will be a different place and hopefully a better one too. After all we are the first schools any child is ever brought to. A daughter or a son – we lay the foundation for the future." Indeed, mothers or caregivers are the first school a child goes to. We share a huge responsibility, and to do our work of raising children as well as possible we are best united as women without conflict, jealousy, bullying, and / or emphasis on differences. The views you share are so important for women and society.

Bravo, Dnayyar!

Anna Sontag

Speaking my Peace

dnayyar's picture

Thank you Anna

Reading your comment brought tears to my eyes.

It just brought to life all those experiences once more and suddenly I realised: its important to learn. But it is more important to unlearn what you learn. it is difficult for all of us to carry baggages, it just keeps getting heavier! so it is so much more important that we take our learning out of our experiences and visit them time to time to check their relevances and not just carry them because they happened to teach us something once!

Your comment made me revisit and realign my learning and bringing me to a new perspective of looking at things.

That's where and why sharing becomes most important. Once you share you release yourself and then the beautiful textures of the experiences just remain.

I couldn't possibly thank you enough.

"picking the right weapon, even if you pick the wrong battle" was not by the man who molested me but by the man who changed my life. For the better. He opened my eyes to the many, many more women going through the same pain I was going. He made me realise that "I" was not important, but what happenend and what I felt was was necessary to share. He brought back the sensitivity that I had lost in my anger, want for vengence and its camouflages i had created. I never realised I was carrying so much. Ironically it is a man more senstive than women sometimes are - thats why I say we are loosing femininity. I could give you so many examples but I'd like to leave that to another discourse we start.

As for your other question - I think I've answered that too now.

Thanks so very much.

Keep Sharing

Much Love

Deepika

desertmuse's picture

So much more

Deepika, the history of your village and your life is so powerful and moving. In this privileged life in the US, it is difficult to conceive of an entire town that would let their female children die and yet I know that is what happens in other parts of the world for a variety of reasons. That you survived is also powerful: that someone saw a future through you that was important and that you are living up to that commitment to stand in your power and use it and save other girls from what could have been your fate. I am amazed! And so thankful to be connected to your here at VOF.

Yvonne

dnayyar's picture

Thanks Yvonne

It's really heartwarming to read these words of encouragement!

I have to make a confession here though... I have lived a privileged life myself. Growing up in the city, i had known of the two worlds that existed here but I came to realize that this distinction and divide was so so so SO HUGE, only very recently. It's rather sad but is the truth. These women I meet fill me up with strength. Every time I feel lost and dejected seeing the sadness around, these few faces of hope enliven me and I find my energy to go on refurbished.

I am really glad to hear from you.

Thanks so much.

Love
Deepika

desertmuse's picture

What is lost and found

The amazing part of being a woman, in my mind, is how easily we can identify with other women and their plight. It's impossible to know and understand all that is happening in the world today (altho that is quickly changing with formats like World Pulse!) but when we are made aware, as true women warriors, it is our duty to care, to engage our compassion and take action! To be privileged is not the issue. To be privileged and aware but chosing to remain silent: that is the problem. It's what is causing the erosion of our American life. Too many wealthy refusing to act and use their knowledge and money to help others. Don't apologize for your status. USE IT! And keep writing! Hugs, Yvonne

Yvonne

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