Reflection Essay

An animated me walks into the lime green office on my first day of internship and all these trapped women in hues of fear, insecurity, abandonment stare back at me from paintings and I was sure, the Let Her Live experience would be everything it promised to be and much more. Art has always been an integral part of my life and gender issues, a recent yet ardent addition to the person I am. Hence I felt it in my bones that this would be a passionate month where I would be able to utilize my modest aesthetic abilities for a purpose, to remove the hegemonic ideological suppression that women face and to boost their self esteem to produce the manifold results that they have the potential to achieve. To create a generation of productive and independent women, who want to please themselves and not the men around her and their twisted notions of Madonna.

During orientation and subsequent edifying discussions with the Let Her Live group, which were immensely stimulating, we came across a conglomeration of reasons for the existent, disadvantaged status of women in our society, how female foeticide, domestic violence, rape are all manifestations of how women are perceived in society. The organization has enabled me to recognize the deficit in cultural tools which are indispensible to disseminate the philosophy of gender justice that we need to fill. If not, the propagation of an inconspicuous slavery, the subjugation of a sex will survive in the might of indelible words of authority. For those unconvinced, Dante’s words ring out loud and clear, “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis “.  The fact that India needs to `cast out the malevolent spirit of caste’ was brought to light while discussing how we lack consciousness of kind and exhibit consciousness of caste alone and this breeds nothing but animosity. We were motivated to be the salt of the earth, anything but insipid, to be distinct yet soluble, to be colourless but full of flavor, to be burning candles that do not succumb but explore, participate and give back to society.

The informal office set up and the artistic ambiance allowed the creative juices to flow while organizing events, fashioning a mascot, categorizing and describing artwork and brainstorming about tactics to generate a buzz in the social media. Here every suggestion made by the intern, be it as bland as porridge or as scrumptious as chocolate mousse were encouraged, invited and noted down. Creative conscience was generated among us during the interaction with the Art for Change Foundation’s Made to Create project and craft sessions with members of Diversion House and Seva Ashram. When we interviewed couples who had not taken dowry and shared time and perspectives with them, I was roused up to follow in their wake, not to mention the confidence I acquired to mingle with completely new folk. The idealist in me was fuelled to the brim to be ardent for the cause and felt part of a community in dire need to plug the surge of indifference that was tactfully contributing to the havoc.

We need to unearth how gender becomes implicated in the conception and construction of power itself and how sex related differences between bodies are continually summoned as testimony to social relations, customs and phenomena which have nothing to do with sexuality or in other words used as legitimation. I was only aware of my aptitude area but interning at Let her live has molded me and imparted knowledge to channel my personal resources and endowments towards this cause that immensely interests me.  A month later, I knew I could pick up a brush and paint women in hues of confidence, significance and self respect.

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