Feminism should be broad social movement striving for equality
Speaking on her autobiography ‘Sadichhara Sahasra Dhara’, she said if a woman is bestowed with goodwill, she can do wonders in life.
BHUBANESWAR: Literature is not confined within any boundary. It just flows down like a river. This flow could be of culture or about the life of humans be it men or women - with these words writer, critic and academician Sanghamitra Mishra set the tone for the session on ‘The Female Gaze: Women Writing in Odia’ at the Odisha Literary Festival 2023.
Speaking on her autobiography ‘Sadichhara Sahasra Dhara’, she said if a woman is bestowed with goodwill, she can do wonders in life. “Like women, literature is not limited to the written word, it is a form of human expression. If a man writes about women, he imagines everything and ends up briefing only the incidents. But when a woman writes she details out her innermost feelings, experiences and psyche, which make the literature beautiful,” she said.
Echoing similar feelings, writer Sarojini Sahoo, the trendsetter of feminism in contemporary Oriya literature, said, “Feminism should not be a stereotyped hysterical man-hating fanatic, but should be a broad social movement striving for the equality of each individual. I write because I feel there are some feelings, intricate mental agony and complexity which a man could not feel and these should be discussed,” she said.
The author of ‘Sensible Sensuality’ said she was raised as a boy, because her father could not get used to having a girl. It was then that she realised that women do not have a voice and she must take it up. “But I never wanted the abolition of a men-centric society or establishment of a women-centric society in its place. Men and women are equal and two faces of a coin. They can co-exist with equal respect and carry forward the generation instead of looking down upon each other,” she observed.
Academic and writer Chirashree Indrasingh spoke about the myriad roles played by women in different life situations with the saree as a symbol of womanhood. “If a man is a Sahada Gachha (Sahada tree), a woman is Sahada Sundari. A woman, irrespective of educational background, creates her own language and literature to express herself in different spheres of life,” she said.
Moderating the session, academic Lipipuspa Nayak lamented that her translation of Laxmi Purana, which is a book on Goddess Laxmi and her domesticity in the temple of Lord Jagannath, has been very erroneously discussed as about ‘caste’ in academia and literary circle.