Sunday, 30 June 2019

PaalaGuttaPalleBags - Of feminism and women empowerment, Kriti Bharadwaj

The women of Palaguttapalle stitch cloth bags and make pickles to make ends meet. These are farmers who fed us and are now poverty stricken, reeling under drought. I bought a batch of 50 bags from Aparna Krishnan , thinking I could sell them to my colleagues or friends. Since my marketing skills are quite unprolific, let alone sell, i have been unable to give them away even for free. It has been almost 6 months and i still have 20 or so lying with me. Here is what gets me-
It was very easy for me to deposit a few thousands to her bank account and purchase a batch. We tend to do that often. It is a clever way to feel free of a heavy conscience. Those of us condescending call it charity, those more grounded call it dharma, those detached call it karma. However, only when we try to share stakes, to shoulder a collective burden, do we realize that it is a long road ahead. If one's empathy inspires corrective thought or action, all the angry debates and sarcastic memes and powerful speeches and revolutionary books account to something. Without that, yes, it may be a weak energy signature out in the cosmos but that's that.
I don't think i want to take up my unfinished post graduation in sociology or pursue gender studies anymore. All feminist theories fail in the face of daunting reality. Feminism has taught me to see the divine feminine trying to raise its head everywhere. In unsold bags, in failed crops, in parched earth, in bank debts, in hunchbacks, in an empty breast, in dried tears, in the independent yet imprisoned women of affluence, in independent yet imprisoned women of pinching poverty. Unless my thought or deed strikes a relief for helpless eyes that reflect the same inscrutable depths of soul as mine, unless my heart aches for the beats of other thumping hearts, unless my mind wanders and searches the vastness of the same infinite skies for God as the mind burdened for 2 meals a day does, my existence is rather small. Like the speck of dust that earth is, in the universe. It is largely magnificent at the same time, to the one who either yelps or sings because I crossed her path.
The issue of gender inequality, or class inequality, or race inequality, is here to stay.. I think that contrast is part of the divine plan. It is like your question paper. You may skip a few questions, repeat the test or pass it. It doesn't matter. What matters is how much of your soul resonates with the curriculum. The only purpose of our lives here is to express. Express our truest, highest and most joyous selves upon the world. How much of that is synonymous to the truth, to the highs and to the joys of the last man, woman or child who can do nothing for me, I would like to know that. How many farmers can I share my plate with, I would like to know that. How many Earths and how many lives can I live through with that music within, I would like to know that.

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