Today is the last day of the Jaipur Literature Festival, the most loved festival for book lovers and culture vultures. We had a great time attending sessions in the beautiful lawns of the Diggi palace, and listening to our favourite speakers talk about a diverse range of topics from Brexit to mansplaining!
As always, there were a number of women writers attending the festival. Here are some powerful quotes from these talented ladies.
Read and feel inspired!
“Inclusion means having the women on streets tell their stories too. That’s where the empowerment happens. [It means] equipping the underprivileged with the power to write their own versions and not have outsiders do it for them,” said the journalist, while speaking on a panel about cultural appropriation.
“I don’t want to play heroine ki chubby saheli. I can hold a film on my shoulders,” she said to a jam-packed audience on Sunday evening.
Her view on literature: “The beauty of literature is its ability to represent the then as well as the now.”
The journalist discussed discrimination against the North-east with director of Zubaan books, Urvashi Butalia.
“My struggle to sell my stories to some of the famous media houses was terrible. I would never get any response from them, and so, I had to begin writing for someone based in Kathmandu, Nepal. However, this failure made me a winner as I decided to create my own space merely by sitting in my living room ‘in the North East’ and running The Thumb Print, an international news magazine based in Northeast India.”
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
The much beloved author spoke about why women are secondary characters in the epics.
“My mother was a single parent. All my life, I watched her kill stereotypes by doing everything she could do to raise us. I’ve really seen women as superheroes, and when I used to read or watch the Ramayana and Mahabharata, I always wondered why was it that women were always the secondary characters.”
She said that she started writing The Palace of Illusions because the women characters in the Mahabharata fascinated her.
The British journalist and author was a big hit at JLF. Here are some of her quotes from a panel about mansplaining.
“I do not want women to have power over men but over themselves,” she said, quoting Mary Wollstonecraft.
“My country is run by a woman — and how do I know she’s a woman? Because the press never stops talking about her shoes.”
The feminist writer and author of The Liberation of Sita spoke about sisterhood between women in a panel titled Finding Sita.
“In feminism, sisterhood is an important concept,” said Volga. “I wanted to explore this sisterhood between women. So I took Sita’s story as the connecting thread with these four women helping her on the path of liberation through their struggles and experiences.”
The director of the Jaipur Literature Festival got candid while discussing her latest book, Things to Leave Behind.
“I urge the women writers in the audience to not be afraid. Don’t censor and just have fun!,” she said.
She is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of One Child: The Past And Future Of China’s Most Radical Experiment. She spoke about how publishers refused to publish her book, and about the consequences of China’s one child policy on the gender gap.
“It is sad that people to whom this tragic policy (one child) concerns cannot read the book. A book about China cannot be read by Chinese people. So, I published it online.”
There are women behind decision-making as business executives, but there are not enough women in power.