Why Loona is a epitome of Feminist writing

I believe Shiv Kumar Batalvi along with being a fantastic poet was also a great feminist which is shown by one of his greatest literature pieces ‘Loona’ – Lūṇā – ਲੂਣਾ; The book that won Shiv Kumar Batalvi the Sahita Akademi Award, Loona is a play written in verse.

The king of Sialkot marries a young girl called Loona. She falls in love with the king’s son from his first marriage, Puran who is of her age. When Pooran repels her advances, she alleges misbehaviour by him to the king. Pooran is maimed and thrown into a well as a punishment. A sage rescues and treats him, and Pooran turns into a wandering ascetic himself – a Bhagat. Years later, a childless Loona comes to visit the famous Bhagat. When she realises his identity, she admits her mistake. Pooran forgives her and his father, and a child is later born to Loona.  – This is how this tale of Bhagat Puran has been told for centuries. 

Image result for loona shiv kumar

There is radical shift is seen in Shivs version from the male persona to a female protagonist . Batalvi openly addresses the concept of female desire and justifies the sexual attraction that Loona expresses. She is married to man the age of her father desiring the sexual attraction from her husbands son who is the same age as her.  Loona can be seen as a scapegoat to the situation. Every woman desires love, every woman has sexual wants and desires – And Batalavi makes it open for Loona to express her wants.

ਹਰ ਮਹਿਬੂਬਾ ਦੇ ਚਿਹਰੇ ਵਿਚ , ਮਾਂ ਹੁੰਦੀ ਹੈ, ਤੇ ਹਰ ਮਾਂ ਦੇ ਚਿਹਰੇ ਵਿਚ ਮਹਿਬੂਬਾ – har mehbooba de chihre vich, ma hondi hai, te har ma de chihre vich mehbooba –  every lover’s image exists a mother and in every mother’s image exists a lover.


Batalvi questions the system which does not object to this mismatched marriage but raises the sceptre of morality if she longs for fulfilment in a man equal in age and youth –

ਧਰਮੀ ਬਾਬਲ ਪਾਪ ਕਮਾਇਆ
ਲੜ ਲਾਇਆ ਸਾਡੇ ਫੁੱਲ ਕੁਮਲਾਇਆ
ਜਿਸ ਦਾ ਇੱਛਰਾਂ ਰੂਪ ਹੰਡਾਇਆ
ਮੈਂ ਪੂਰਨ ਦੀ ਮਾਂ ਪੂਰਨ ਦੇ ਹਾਣ ਦੀ

ਮੈਂ ਉਸ ਤੋਂ ਇਕ ਚੁੰਮਣ ਵਡੀ
ਪਰ ਮੈਂ ਕੀਕਣ ਮਾਂ ਉਹਦੀ ਲੱਗੀ
ਉਹ ਮੇਰੀ ਗਰਭ ਜੂਨ ਨਾ ਆਇਆ
ਲੋਕਾ ਵੇ ਮੈਂ ਧੀ ਵਰਗੀ ਸਲਵਾਣ ਦੀ

ਪਿਤਾ ਜੇ ਧੀ ਦਾ ਰੂਪ ਹੰਡਾਵੇ
ਲੋਕਾ ਵੇ ਤੈਨੂੰ ਲਾਜ ਨਾ ਆਵੇ
ਜੇ ਲੂਣਾ ਪੂਰਨ ਨੂੰ ਚਾਹਵੇ
ਚਰਿਤਰ ਹੀਣ ਕਵੇ ਕਿਉਂ ਜੀਭ ਜਹਾਨ ਦੀ

ਚਰਿਤਰ ਹੀਣ ਤੇ ਤਾਂ ਕੋਈ ਆਖੇ
ਜੇ ਕਰ ਲੂਣਾ ਵੇਚੇ ਹਾਸੇ
ਪਰ ਜੇ ਹਾਣ ਨਾ ਲੱਭਣ ਮਾਪੇ
ਹਾਣ ਲੱਭਣ ਵਿਚ ਗੱਲ ਕੀ ਹੈ ਅਪਮਾਨ ਦੀ

ਲੂਣਾ ਹੋਵੇ ਤਾਂ ਅਪਰਾਧਣ
ਜੇਕਰ ਅੰਦਰੋਂ ਹੋਏ ਸੁਹਾਗਣ
ਮਹਿਕ ਉਹਦੀ ਜੇ ਹੋਵੇ ਦਾਗਣ
ਮਹਿਕ ਮੇਰੀ ਤਾਂ ਕੰਜਕ ਮੈਂ ਹੀ ਜਾਣਦੀ

dharmi babal paap kamaya
larh laya mere phull kumlaya
jis da IchraaN roop handaya
mein Puran di maaN pooran de haan di

main uston ikk chumman vaddi
par main keekan maan uhdi laggi
uh meri garb joon na aaiya
loka ve maiN dhi vargi salvaan di

pita je dhi da roop handaave
loka ve tainu laaj na aave
je Loona Puran nu chaahve
charitarheen kave kion jeebh jahaan di

Loona hove taan apradhan
jekar androN hove suhagan
mehak ohdi je hove dagaan
mehak meri taaN kanjak main hi jaan-di

English Translation:

Honorable father committed a sin
Married me to a wilted flower
Whose youth IchrraaN had worn out
I am like Puran’s mother, Puran is my match

I am just one kiss elder than him
But how can I be called his mother
He is not born of my womb
World, I am like a daughter to Salvan

If a father marries his daughter
World, isn’t that shameful
If Loona desires Puran
Why is she called characterless by the world

She may be called characterless
If Loona trades in pleasures
But if the parents don’t find a match
What’s shameful in finding yourself a match

Loona would have been guilty
Had her heart accepted the marriage
Had her essence been permeated
My essence is chaste, only I know.


Even though Loona’s feelings and emotions are being conveyed through Batalvi – a man, he understands Loona.

Loona in Batalvi’s poem speaks and voices her concerns to the reader. ਅੱਗ ਕਿਉਂ ਨਾ ਬੋਲੇ ?
ਜੀਭ ਦਾ ਜੰਦਰਾਂ ਕਿਉਂ ਨਾ ਖੋਹਲੇ ? – aag kyu na bole? jeeb da jadraa kyu na khooley? – Why should fire not speak? Why should she not open the lock that seals her lips?

Batalvi’s kissa is modern because it explores a modern theme –  the condition of women in a male dominated society. While the old form was a narration of affirmation, the new is dramatic, disruptive and revolutionary. Shiv Kumar Batalvi has turned the tale of Bhagat Puran and Loona into a tale that questions the old legend, shifts the male society perspective and tells the story from the perspective of the woman. For Batalvi, it is the legend of Loona which is why it is called Loona – a girl of lower caste, married against her wishes, who falls in love with a man of her age. For this reason it is the epitome of Feminist writing despite it being written by a man.


online ebook of Loona – http://apnaorg.com/books/loonan/loonan.php?fldr=book

also available online at Punjabi kavita – https://www.punjabi-kavita.com/LoonaShivKumarBatalvi.php

online in shahmukhi at Punjabi kavita – http://www.punjabi-kavita.com/LoonaShivKumarBatalviShahmukhi.php

Mental Health

Every day you go on this war and no one understands
Why you are quite why you are silent
Why you still respond “yes I’m ok” when you’re really not.

– the inner war between self-destruction and self-love

Mental health is seen as taboo subject especially within the south Asian community it’s not something you would discuss with your parents over the dining table. If you say you’re under stress – often you will be told what stress, when I was your age I did this … I did that.
In our south Asian community, many people view mental health as “sharam”, meaning it is shameful so it is often ignored or not spoken about, as it brings shame to families.
I feel in our community people really don’t really understand that there is something called mental health. Just because you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Mental health is real, depression is real, anxiety is real and we need to talk about it and not avoid it.

There are many different types of categories of mental health – anxiety, panic attacks, stress, low self-esteem, depression, phobia, self-harm, suicidal feelings the list is pretty endless.
There have been times in the past when I have been under stress due to exams, things not going the way I hoped so. And I have had extremely low self-esteem I hated my appearance growing up that it made me depressed that I resulted to self-harm and had suicidal feelings.

And this past year I felt darkness once again… I wanted to run away from everything.  But I realised that wasn’t going to help me. The truth was I needed help. I needed to do something about this. I started writing deeper and deeper, writing everything I never thought I would – and yes that saved me. I spent time working myself, giving my mind a break from the usual trying to spend more time with nature and looking at Gods beauty and trying to understand the beauty of life.

The truth is we don’t appreciate the little accomplishments that we achieve. And sometimes we start to compare our lives with others and that’s when we make an mistake.

Sometimes we look at our-self in the mirror and constantly compare ourselves to models and celebs forgetting that they have Photoshop, they have so many people that make them look good. But we only have ourselves to make ourselves look and feel good.

But how can we become positive when we are drowning in negativity – small steps – learning to value and love ourselves.

Simple things such as a walk outside and connecting with nature – breathing and realising the beautiful existence of the world can help lift our mood and make us feel better.

Taking care of our mental health is just as important as our physical health. It can be incredibly hard to think positive and feel positive when you really don’t feel like that all. But one thing that has really been my saviour is having faith in God and trusting whatever God does is for the best. I know God helps me, supports me.

Whenever I do feel down God somehow sends blessings in the form of a person or just a conversation or just something that I read and makes me feel so much better.
Over the past year, I have changed a lot – be it my writing or as an individual.

This year has been the most important year, for making me realise how important mental health is. I could have been that 13 year old self-harming myself… but I understood what my body needed – it needed time to heal from everything, from every situation that I was placed in. Today I’ve really come out of my shell of having low self-esteem and zero confidence – to becoming someone who loves them self which I don’t think I don’t think is selfish. Self-love is one of the most important love that exists and I hope you all understand that too.

Take your time to heal
Realise what is important to you
Think about what makes you happy for once
Maybe go for a walk
Read a book
Write down everything you feel

Most importantly if something is making you depressed – leave it. If a relationship is causing pain – leave it. If you are unhappy with what you are doing – leave it.

If we don’t look after our health especially our mental health no one else is going too. We need to become our own best friends and understand what is good for our mind and body.

– mental health well-being 
is nothing to be ashamed off.

Mirza-Sahiba

 

Image result for mirza sahiba

Mirza Sahiba was first penned by 17-Century poet Peelu, who recorded an oral legend that had been passed down for generations. But what was hidden between the lines of poetry and history. Sahiba loved Mirza deeply but remained to be known as a betrayer forever.

Every writer and poet, wrote she was a betrayer but no one tired to understand her. What her view was. Nothing is even told what happens to her after Mirzas death.

The story of Mirza Sahiba is one of the four love stories of Punjab along with; Heer-Ranjha, Sonhi-Mahiwaal and Sassi-Punnun. It is the last love tale of Panjab.
Mirza Sahiba is the only one, where the name of the male lover is first unlike the other three love tales.
As the tale progresses disputes against their love occur. Mirza is busy with her sisters wedding and Sahiba is about to marry someone else. Mirza takes Sahiba away. And fearful for her brothers’ lives, Sahiban got rid of Mirza’s bow and arrows. Sahiba knew Mirza would win against her brothers. Sahibas brothers kill Mirza. Peelu doesn’t mention what happens to her; some sources say she killed herself after realizing she was the cause of Mirza’s death, while others say her brothers strangled her for dishonoring them.
Sahiba who is constantly brought down in song lyrics, poetry and movies. Was a girl who just wanted to be understood by both her brothers and lover. Neither of them understood what she wanted. And it is often said may no one have a daugher like Sahiba. The way Peelu wrote about her determined her fate forever in pages of history.

If I have a daughter…

If I have a daughter, I hope she understands that –
Caring too much and feeling too much is not a problem.
But when it begins to give pain I hope she will stop
I know how it feels to give your everything and receive nothing in return…
I am used to it, but I will never let her get to use to being second preference.

If I have a daughter, I will teach her to love her sun-kissed brown skin.
Because God loved her so much that he painted her in rays of golden brown.

If I have a daughter, I will teach her that, knowing your native language is not something to be ashamed of –
Because there is no greater form of expression in literature than your mother tongue.

If I have a daughter, I will not limit her to the scholarly literature that she will receive.
I will tell her of the great Warriors and Saints from our land.
I will tell her of the great poets and writers that belong to our Five Rivers.

If I have a daughter, I will tell her – do not be afraid to love.
Love can be risk but sometimes it is the greatest risk that you take in life.
But I will teach her never waste your precious time
On guys that are not your worth – because she worth more than diamonds to hear words of just another cliché.

And if I have daughter, I will tell her, pick up a pen
Pick up a paintbrush
Or something that gives you desire to live every day
To do something every day
Better and better
Till the form of expression becomes you itself.

But most importantly –
If I have a daughter, I will teach her to love herself.
Love her frame regardless of what she looks like
Not just because she is my daughter and to me she will be most beautiful being
But because every girl from a young age deserves to know that.

And I will teach my daughter her words have the power to change the turn of the universe…

❋ ❋ ❋ ❋

 

I wrote this poem a while back when I was thinking “If I had a daughter” – what would I tell her, what would I say to her. Coming from a Panjabi, Sikh family I am quite lucky that my parents brought me up with equality. In many Panjabi families having a daughter is not liked some believe she is bad luck and because she will not carry the family name she shouldn’t even be born. Panjab has one of the highest number of female female foeticide. It is sad to think this, it is horrible. I believe girls – women have the power to do so much. But many have their wings clipped before they are even born – many aren’t allowed to fly and many are just caged away. It is truly sad. My culture often degrades women while Sikhi empowers and uplifts women – the two clash and often is misunderstood. I hope one day this society will change. I hope the birth a girl will be just as important as a boy.

Eurocentric Beauty Standards

Growing up I hated my long nose – a feature which is common for many brown women especially in Panjabi women.  I believed it was “too big”.  I wanted to have surgery when I was older and believe it or not it made me very depressed. I hated my appearance throughout my teenage years. I started wearing makeup at the age of 12/13 years old believing that it would make me look and feel beautiful. I would wear layers and layers to school many people didn’t understand this. But the reason why I wore so much makeup when I was younger was because of my sense of insecurity.

And it certainly didn’t help seeing a certain type of women showcased on magazine covers, shown in television and films.  These women had a certain type of features- eurocentric beauty standards.

Now what I mean by eurocentric beauty standards is its focus on European and Caucasian women how they have anglicized features e.g – smaller noses, thinner lips, fair skin and light eyes etc. These types of features are seen more beautiful.

Often many women of colour who have been on magazine covers or TV ads are shown many shades lighter to their actual skin tone and some are even shown wearing contacts. And we are often told to stay in this westernized style and that our cultures traditional style make us look ugly or too ethnic.

Now I’m not saying that European or Caucasian women are not beautiful however their beauty certainly does not define another women’s beauty.

Today I’ve come out of my self-hatred and I am learning to self-love. Today I actually appreciate my appearance, my long nose, my brown skin. And regardless if you wear makeup or don’t wear makeup just be comfortable in your appearance. Don’t feel you need to fit in because you really don’t. Having dark skin does not make you less beautiful than someone with fair skin, having brown eyes and not green eyes doesn’t make you less beautiful. And those women who are shown on magazine covers do not define your beauty. You don’t need to be fair, you don’t to be skinny to be beautiful.

True beauty is defined by the beauty of the heart, not appearance.

No I’m not sorry that –
My hooked nose goes against your eurocentric beauty standards.

No I’m not sorry that –
My eyes are big and wide filled with the depth of the ocean

No I’m not sorry that –
I don’t fit in with your perception of beauty

Do my curves make you feel uncomfortable?
That my back and spine holds so much strength and power
That I don’t fit in with your idealisation of a perfect woman
No I’m not sorry.

Does my brown skin make you feel uneasy?
That God painted me in golden rays of light
Not to fit in with your fair skinned beauty ideals
But to stand out.

And no, no, no I’m not apologetic
I’m a brown woman who’s not defined by your eurocentric beauty standards.

I wrote this poem a few months back. I felt it was necessary to give the message across to women that your beauty is not defined by eurocentric beauty standards.

 

International Women’s Day.

Bhandd Janmeeai Bhandd Ninmeeai Bhandd Mangan Veeaahu ||

From woman, man is born; within woman, man is conceived; to woman he is engaged and married.

Bhanddahu Hovai Dhosathee Bhanddahu Chalai Raahu ||

Woman becomes his friend; through woman, the future generations come.

Bhandd Muaa Bhandd Bhaaleeai Bhandd Hovai Bandhhaan ||

When his woman dies, he seeks another woman; to woman he is bound.

So Kio Mandhaa Aakheeai Jith Janmehi Raajaan ||

So why call her bad? From her, kings are born.

Bhanddahu Hee Bhandd Oopajai Bhanddai Baajh N Koe ||

From woman, woman is born; without woman, there would be no one at all.

Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji – Ang 473.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji laid the stone for equality in the 15th century and it is now the 21st century. I wonder do we actually think and take action upon the Words of Guru Nanak Dev Ji or do we simply read. I come to think, that reading is one thing, but understanding and taking action is another.

Female foeticideExploitation.Violation of rights.Mental Abuse.Sexual Abuse. Rape. Torture. Harassment.

                                                      –  This all exists till date.

What can we do?

To make a change, we need to start from our own household. Raise our sons and daughters with equality. Not giving one rule our son and another for our daughter. Some believe a son can do anything but when it comes to the daughter, you begin to question her capability. Some men doubt the capability of their wife and believe them to be inferior. But she can do everything. There’s more to her, than her body and curves. There’s more to her than her physical beauty. She has violent currents, flowing beneath her calm surface. That can swallow you whole. Do not underestimate her. She is the Shakti that Shiv cannot live without. Her, each pore speaks of divinity. Just like Meera. And if she is calm like Sita. She can be fierce as Kali. She is the most powerful being. She can create another being out of her. If she can bring a Saint. She can also bring God, upon earth. Not is she limited just to her skin and bones. She is the light of the Supreme.

Rupinderkw

12 Amazing Indian Women throughout History!

In certain places in India and even across the globe where Indians do live today, still believe that men are superior to women. With many crimes against women such as rape, acid attack and domestic violence, the women have no say and take it. And some women wish to fulfill their dreams but their family never allow it or they feel themselves what would society say. However if these 12 great women feared what society would say then their names would never be mentioned in History! Also I would just like to say not just Indian Women but Women as a whole are capable of doing anything they desire and can compete with Men.

(Order with dates) 


1. Smitten in His love ~ Meera Bai (born 1510 death year unknown)

Meera Bai, a rajput princess had everything, but still went on the path of love, the love for God. She did not care about anyone in this world despite everyone thought she was crazy at the time, she is now remembered for her pure devotion towards God. Since a young age she believed that Krishna was only her husband and even after her marriage she continued to have devolution towards Krishna which was highly unliked by her in-laws. Once her husband had died she did have a hard time but her faith in Krishna did not fall at all. On the other hand, some traditions that make her a disciple of Guru Ravidas in Chittor. She is remembered for her beautiful poetry, notable ones are Hari Tuma Haro, and  Sanson ki Mala Pe. It is said that during the time of her death she emerged into the image of Krishna. Her devotion and courage towards God even when she was said to have been poisoned or even when her hair was shaved and how she kept faith is certainly one to be remembered.

2. The Sikhani ~ Mai Bhago (born 1699 death year unknown) 

rupinder: Mai Bhago.~ She is one the biggest inspirations for me, how she was full of courage and how she  fought valiantly, showcasing the power of a Kaur.  Who was Mai Bhago ~ She was also known as Mata Bhag Kaur, she was married to Bhai Nidhan Singh Varaich of Patti.  A group of 40 Sikh Soldiers said they wish not to fight no more as they feared they would be killed, so forty Sikhs wrote their names on this document which was known as a ‘Bedava’ and left Guru Gobind Singh Ji . When Mai Bhago heard this she was deeply distressed to hear these Singhs leaving Guru Gobind Singh Ji. She mocked them saying ‘You wear bangles and run the kitchen while we join the Guru on the battlefield.’ So this then led the 40 sikhs to join Guruji on the battlefield. She did get wounded in the battle but  was the sole survivor along with Guru Gobind Singh Ji and served as a bodyguard to Guruji until 1708.

Who was Mai Bhago-  she was a sikh woman also known as Mata Bhag Kaurmarried to Bhai Nidhan Singh Varaich of Patti. She was the first women In the history of Punjab, to fight on a battlefield. Her bravery was proved when a group of 40 Sikh male soldiers said they wish not to fight no more as they feared they would be killed, so forty Sikhs wrote their names on this document which was known as a ‘Bedava’ and left Guru Gobind Singh Ji . When Mai Bhago heard this she was deeply distressed to hear these Singhs leaving Guru Gobind Singh Ji. She mocked them saying ‘You wear bangles and run the kitchen while we join the Guru on the battlefield.’ So this then led the 40 sikhs to join Guruji on the battlefield in the battle of Battle of Muktsar. She did also fight along with the 40 sikhs and Guruji she did get wounded but was the sole survivor along with Guru Gobind Singh Ji and served as a bodyguard to Guruji until 1708. She was full of courage and how she fought valiantly, showcasing the power of a Kaur is indeed an inspiration.

3. The forgotten one ~ Rani Velu Nachiyar (1730-1790)

MP26HH1_1529901g

I’m sure many of you would have not even come across the name of Velu Nachiyar. Well she was a queen in the present day Sivaganga district of Tamilnadu in the late 17th century. She was the first queen who fought the British even proceeding the great Rani Laxmibai. Also she was the first revolutionary fighter who opposed the rule of British in Tamil Nadu even before the Sepoy mutiny which is considered as the first war against the British rule in India. So why is she remembered, she is remembered for her military tactics. She also had the first woman’s regiment named after her daughter Udaiyaal, who had perished while detonating British Cannons. She was also the first to use a human bomb in warfare. Her army discovered the place where stock of the British Ammunition was kept, she sent her loyal army commander, Kuyli doused in ghee. Kuyili then set herself ablaze destroying the stock. Velu Nachiyar was one of the few rulers who regained her kingdom and ruled it for 10 more years. She truly did show the strength of a women.

4.The first for war ~  Rani Kittur Chennamma (1778-1829)

Kittur Rani was the queen of the state of Kittur in Karnataka. In 1824, which is 33 years before the First War of Indian Independence of 1857( Indian Rebellion of 1857.) She had led an armed rebellion against the British in response to the Doctrine of Lapse. She was martyred and is remembered to this day as one of the earliest Indian rulers to have fought for independence. Her daring courage is true inspiration for all women till date.

5. The warrior Queen  ~ Rani Laxmi Bai (1828-1858)

There needs little introduction of the mighty Rani Laxmi Bai. She was born with the name of Manikarnika and was later married at the age of 14 to the Maharaja of Jhansi, Raja Gangadhar Rao Newalkar, in May 1842. She was highly skilled in shooting, horsemanship, and fencing. After the death of her husband and the british claiming that her adopted son was not an heir she was forced to the leave the fort of Jhansi. However this great women did not give up. Rani Lakshmi Bai strengthened the defense of Jhansi and she assembled a volunteer army of rebellions. Women were also given Military training. The Britishers attacked Jhansi in March 1858. Laxmi Bai with her companions decided not to surrender. The fighting continued for about two weeks. Shelling on Jhansi was very fierce. Despite this great war, Jhansi unfortunately fell to the British forces. Even, so Rani Laxmi Bai did not give up and then she reached Kalpi. Many other rebellions force joined with her,Tatia Tope from Kalpi was one of them. Again a huge fierce battle took place. Rani Laxmi Bai fought with fearlessly with patriotism. However on the second day of fighting, at the age of 23 years, she lost her life. Her heart and soul was put into fighting for independence she lived and died for her country. She will always be remembered for a key role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 for independence.

6. Bringing a new change ~ Savitribai Phule (1831 – 1897) 

Bringing the most important change for women – education was brought Savitribai Phule, who along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule, founded the first school for women in 1848 in Pune and became India’s first women teacher. She was also not only educational reformer but was a social reformer, especially for women they also worked to abolish discrimination and unfair treatment of people based on caste and gender. She established a home for the caring for pregnant rape victims and delivering their children. The care center was called “Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha ” (Infanticide prohibition house).

7. The Captain ~ Dr. Lakshmi Sagal (1914-2012)

Dr.Lakshmi Sagal more commonly known as Captain Lakshmi. Choose to study medicine and received an MBBS degree from Madras Medical College in 1938. A year later, she received her diploma in gynaecology and obstetrics. During 1940 she left for Singapore where later she became part of the Indian independence revolutionary period. In 1942, during the surrender of Singapore by the British to the Japanese, Sahgal aided wounded prisoners of war, many who were interested in forming an Indian liberation army – The Azad Hind Fauj. However, received no firm commitments to proceed. Lakshmi then heard that Subhas Chandra Bose was keen to draft women into the organisation and requested a meeting with him from which she asked to set up a women’s regiment, to be called the Rani of Jhansi regiment. Women responded positively to join the all-women brigade and Dr. Lakshmi became Captain Lakshmi, a name and identity that would stay with her for the rest of her life. However, the INA leadership decided to beat a retreat before they could enter Imphal. Captain Lakshmi was arrested by the British army in May 1945 and was then sent back to India in 1946 a year before the end of the British rule. In her later years (1971) she joined the Communist party of India.  She also aided medical help in Calcutta for refugees who came into India from Bangladesh. She was also one of the founding members of All India Democratic Women’s Association in 1981 and led many of its activities and campaigns. She was still seeing patients and giving medical aid regularly at her clinic in Kanpur in 2006, at the age of 92!

8. India’s Frida Kaho ~ Amrita Sher – Gill (1913-1941)

Amrita was the daughter of Sardar Umrao Singh Shergill  and Antoinette, a Hungarian lady endowed with considerable artistic talent. She spent the formative years of her life in Europe, she moved to India in 1921 with her family. Her work began to express the life of Indian people through her canvas and painting.She stated: “I can only paint in India. Europe belongs to Picasso, Matisse, Braque…. India belongs only to me”.  Her depiction of the plight of women has made her art a beacon for women at large both in India and abroad during the period of Indian renaissance. Till date she remains as the most expensive woman painter of India!

9. The fearless poet ~ Amrita Pritam (1919-2005)

Amrita Pritam is considered to be the first prominent woman in Punjabi poetry and novelist writing. She went onto to become the leading 20th- century poet of Punjabi Language. She is loved on both sides on the India and Pakistan border. She has produced over 100 books, of poetry, fiction, biographies, essays, a collection of Punjabi folk songs and an autobiography. One of her most notable works of poetry is Ajj akhaan Waris Shah nun about the period of partition in Punjab. Many of her novels have been made into films one of the most appreciated film has been the award winning Pinjar which was based on her novel – The Skeleton. She is first Indian woman to have received recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1956 for Sunehey (Messages).

10. The game changer ~ Kiran Bedi (1949-)

Kiran Bedi became the first woman to join the Indian Police service and later became the highest-ranking woman official in the nation’s history, changing the dynamics of power in the force. Showcasing that women are no less either. In her  earlier years she was a tennis champion and  then became a top police officer. She was also the person to give Indira Gandhi a traffic ticket! This 66 year old social activist is a true inspiration that women can set a benchmark of bravery and courage in a patriarchal society. Proving women can step out of the comfort zone and be what they want along with being a perfect mother and wife.

11. Gulabi Gang leader ~ Sampat Pal Devi (1960-)  

Sampat Pal Devi put together a group known as Gulabi Gang which consisted of group of women from her village to fight various forms of social injustice to help aid women. This developed into an organized women’s movement with tens of thousands of members spread over several districts in Uttar Pradesh. She currently has over 270,000 members. This gang has been able to stop child marriages, dowry and even forced police to register domestic violence cases if that meant by slapping them they sure did! The gang has visited abusive husbands where they beat them up with laathis ( bamboo sticks) until they stop abusing their wives. –  Now that’s what you call Badd Ass!

12. The survivor ~ Sunitha Krishnan (1972-)

This women went through a horrific gang rape at the age of 16 but she survived and started one of India’s most prolific NGOs to rehabilitate sex trafficked women. She is indeed a true inspiration to women everywhere in the world. Her organization Prajwala is devoted  to aid with eradicating forced prostitution and sex trafficking (founded in 1996). Prajwala evolved need-based interventions through a multi-pronged, strategic approach consisting of five pillars to aid with abuse: prevention, rescue, rehabilitation, reintegration and advocacy. To aid with support for women and current social issues which in some areas especially in rural areas in India, they are unknown of she made use of film making as a tool for advocacy. She conceptualized and scripted 14 documentary films on socially relevant issues such as youth and HIV/AIDS, Sheikh marriages, incest, prostitution, sex trafficking and communal riots. She is a true hero for all rape victims proving that life has not finished that you can truly make the most of it.


I do apologise as there are many other amazing women too! but that would just lead me go to on and on. I’ve attempted to  include the ones that I do feel brought the most important modifications with crucial roles for changing the typical image of a Indian women.