VOF WEEK:2( The way ahead)
My journey was the travelogue of a daydreamer, who was not the ‘Alice’ in her half baked wonderland rather she surpassed Walter Mitty in fighting all the odds by donning the robe of Mother Teresa to redeem the orphans of their woes or becoming her class teacher to rein in the errant class refusing to listen to the class monitor. The first unsavory ‘truth’ of my life came holding the hands of my little leprosy-affected students of Purulia (in West Bengal, India), who made me to listen to my heart by joining their small steps towards embracing the so called mainstream society.
My subaltern voice trembled while working for mother and child health, to discover the futility of my sensitization programme designed to enrich ‘women’ with options for exercising reproductive choices. It took me no time in identifying the ‘locus of control’. After all, I was working in a rural patriarchal society, where women’s resourcefulness was often being equated with her son bearing ability. The recognition of women having independent and separate needs within a traditional family framework was quite alien to most of the people I met. After working for sometime in Purulia, I moved to work for HIV/AIDS prevention issue in different states of India. I joined there as gender coordinator, which initially raised many eyebrows in the organization. My male colleagues viewed me as the malaise eating up the harmonious family culture and an offshoot of modern day feminist chauvinism. I partly understood their concern as different literatures espousing different schools of thought ranging from extreme obstinacy to total submission made them inquisitive about my view on the subject. The plurality of thought is as important to get a holistic view on the subject, as the constructive measures to diagnose and address the problem. Their exclusion from most of the gender related programmes aggravated the situation further. National media highlighting mass suicide of farmers from the western and southern parts of India as a purely agriculture issue rather than grim fallout of unequal gender relations that fix men’s responsibility as the bread earner of the family is equally fateful in pushing the fractious facade of such burning issues in backburner. I was deeply dissatisfied with the role of established media in this 24*7 age in encompassing various dimensions of important issues. I was looking for a more homely media that encouraged and accommodated individual thinking leading towards a more gender just world.
I chanced upon worldpulse network to realize that I was not alone in my search. Women from all corners of world have already made worldpulse their home, their friend with whom they could share anything on earth, a friend who could provide solutions to them, a friend equally supporting their cause. Reading Chandni’s write up ‘The dreaded ‘F’ word on the halo around ‘feminists’ I found my story being told by Chandni. To me it is my companion in my journey on the way ahead to a more equitable world.