Feminist Rani is a collection of interviews with path-breaking and fascinating opinion leaders–Kalki Koechlin, Gurmehar Kaur, Sapna Bhavnani, Gul Panag, Rana Ayyub, and many more. These compelling conversations provide a perspective on the evolving concept of feminism in an age when women are taking charge and leading the way.
Here are some wise words by these spunky women, who are fierce feminists in their own right!
Kalki Koechlin – Actor Writer, Activist
“Women should not have a rulebook on how to live their life. We tend to lose ourselves when we look for approval from the outside. It’s really about trying to be true to yourself and to be honest. I know that it’s easier said than done. It’s easy to be honest in public and in front of others, but to remain honest behind closed doors is quite difficult. Put yourself in a home environment where you have to stand up to loved ones and disagree with those who you love.”
Aditi Mittal – Comedian
“The very thing that tells women that they can’t get out of the house at night, also tells men that they cannot cry. Men should be allowed to be as emotional as they want, they should not have the pressure of being the provider in the family. These clichés and stereotypes are what feminists are fighting. Feminism works for men and women. We should all be on board with it.”
Malishka Mendonsa –Radio Jockey
“I felt the need to experiment. When you are younger, try out as much as you can. Sometimes you can be a hostess. Wear a sari and be one. You should try. It gets harder as you grow up. But while you can, it allows you to explore other things and yourself. And that’s why, even now, even today, I push boundaries. I think it’s in my spirit to experiment that clicks well with my listeners.”
Gurmehar Kaur – Author, Activist, Youth Leader
“My grandmother lost her husband really early, when my mom was just nine. He was an engineer who died in an on-site accident. Grandmother raised two daughters by herself. The story repeated itself with my mom, who had to raise two daughters. It was painful. My family had to survive. Mothers took on male roles even before such prescribed roles were questioned and feminism was talked about.”
Sapna Bhavnani – Philanthropist, Hair Stylist, Rape Survivor
“My experiences in villages have empowered me even more because every time I go there, no one ever seems to judge me because my appearance or my hair. I get more judged in cities but in villages the women accept me for who I am. That’s the core and essence of feminism; where you don’t judge other women, and I have learnt that from village folks.”
Tanmay Bhat – Founder, All India Bakchod
“The quest for a fairer world means you try and keep course, correcting yourself and questioning yourself or just pausing and thinking, ‘Is this choice of word/action that I just made, sexist? If yes, how so? And how can I fix it?’ You do so knowing that it’s hard to forget decades of conditioning.”
Gul Panag – Actor, Politician, Entrepreneur
“Many people don’t know this about me but I was due to start studying at Kellogg School of Management after I became Miss India. On the eve of my departure, I changed my mind. I realized that after Kellogg, I would be just another cog in the wheel. But being an actor would open up a lot of doors for me. And I wanted more doors. Public life was the endgame for me, for which I wanted gravitas. My choice of cinema was dictated by this future I had in mind for myself.”
Ankhi Das – Public Policy Director, Facebook India, South Asia and Central Asia
“I have always asked myself: why do companies have boards? Because they want to continue to invest ingrowth and want critical advice. If you value yourself as an asset, you need a personal board. We women, I think, need it more than men do. We demand less and give more. We don’t realize that we do that.”
Shree Gauri Sawant – Transgender Activist
“Some people misunderstood my outward appearance. I remember that during a college lavani, I was told to play (popular Marathi actor) Ganpat Patil’s effeminate character nachya like a pansy. But I knew that that’s not how I wanted to be. Even then I knew what I didn’t want to be and that made me realize even more what I wanted to be.”
Grab your copy of Feminist Rani today!