Rakshābandhan, a festival which attracts as much pontification every year, as the fervour and fondness with which its celebrated, has always been analyzed from a colonialist, binary world-view. Projection of Victorian morays about gender on Hindu festivals never yields accurate result, and this festival is no exception. In this article, we try to analyze the symbolism of this festival from the lens of a native, indigenous, practicing feminist’s point of view.
Working with Hindu communities to develop an appreciation of Dharma and Shiva-Shakti principle, with empathy, is at the core of our values at Shaktitva Foundation. This workshop with children Hindu Bhutanese Refugees, conducted on 9-10th March 2019, in Navarro County, Texas, gave us an opportunity to put these values into practice while at the same time, helped us to develop an understanding of the lived experiences of their community.
On this women's day, we bring to you the story of Unniyarcha, of the house of Puthooram, renowned for the ancient Hindu martial art of Kalaripayattu.
Unniyarcha is perhaps the most exceptional of all the heroines of North Malabar. Also known as Archa, she became the icon of the empowered independent women in Kerala. Her name became a symbol of beauty, bravery and fierce independence among Kerala women.
If our backgrounds, hopes, dreams, languages, expressions, bodies and preferences are all different, then how can one feminism define us all? If we insist on boxing women into one monolithic feminism, it is bound to fail many of us as it will devolve into a competition of who can shout louder. This is when privilege steps in followed by “saviour complex”. This is exactly what is happening in Sabarimala.
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