Women in the Indian blogosphere

BlogHer Original Post

This week I took a look at the Indian blogosphere, starting with BlogBharti, a group of about sixteeen bloggers who link out to all the blogs they can, celebrating the Z-list. In its first year, BlogBharti posted about to 3,087 different blogs! This is a very good blog for monolingual English speakers to add to their reading list. Recent posts and links out include a beautiful photo and travel blog by Neelima of Pondering Musings, and another thoughtful "musings" blog by Shalini on travel, creativity, and daily life: Of Travels and Travails.

On Rehab's blog Outlandish Musings she celebrated the Wall Project in Mumbai, which you can also see documented on the Facebook page for The Great Wall of Mumbai, with hundreds of huge murals painted along the Western Railway line. They're so beautiful!

That is three random musings blogs in a row, did you notice?

Psych Babbler wrote recently about Fairness Cream which for a moment I thought was something magical that Harry Potter would use at Hogwarts to make people stop cheating at Quidditch, but then realized was about skin lighteners; about racism in culture and advertising. She writes about her life in Australia and India, about work, education and psychology. Every once in a while lets loose in a good hard rant like on Fairness, on movies about kids with autism, on cricket, and on the pain of seeing homophobia, sexism, and racism among some of her friends, wishing they would be more open minded.

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The Sari-Clad Bride, "The Chic Guide to Planning a South Asian Wedding", is a fashion blog, highlighting clothes, photography, and everything else you can think about relating to weddings. Shopping, planning, videos, makeup, bachelorette parties, books about how to relate to your new mother-in-law -- this blog has some really great posts and advice.

Sumedha from Bits of Fluff, blogging from Singapore, has her fluffy moments and her more political posts as well! I enjoyed her feminist take on The Misuse of the "Elegant Sari", a critique of a parody photo and post in a Calcutta newspaper that is meant to imply that because a group of male politicians is dressed in women's clothing, they are incompetent and perhaps humiliated; that being like a girl or a woman is such an insult:

And to top it off, the caption below the picture reads "We apologise to women who may feel the elegant sari has been wasted on our administrators". Because, of course, the first thing that will enter a woman's mind after seeing the picture will be "Oh my god, how can they waste our precious saris on such useless men?? They are not worthy of wearing them!" Annoyance and indignation at the gender discrimination and the extreme sexist statement made by a state newspaper are unlikely to occur. Since, you know, our job is to wear the "elegant sari" and stay home while the men are taking care of the country.

I also loved Sumedha's post on how blogging opened up her ability to write.

Then a friend gave me the link to his blog, and I became a regular reader. The links he’d posted on his blog led me to new blogs, and those blogs led me to more, and suddenly, a whole new world of writing opened up to me- a world where people wrote about their thoughts and ideas, their observations and everyday lives, as well as fiction.

Earlier this year an activist campaign by the Consortium of Pubgoing, Loose, and Forward Women started on the Pink Chaddi Campaign blog and Facebook group. In response to violence against women by or encouraged by right wing political groups, the Pink Chaddi Campaign encouraged people to send pink underwear (Chaddi) to Sri Ram Sena group's headquarters. Specifically it was a response to t he 2009 Managalore Pub Attacks in which a group of 40 Sri Ram Sena people beat up some random other people at a pub because they were "violating traditional Indian values". Leaders of the group while apologizing said that it was done to "save our mothers and daughters". Ouch. You can find some very interesting videos and links to more feminist activism if you search for "pink chaddi" on YouTube. Piles of underwear, parody songs making fun of the conservative party, and news stories on women, freedom of choice and action, and the Internet.

Aishwarya on Kaleidoglide writes about culture, feminism, sexuality, politics, and books, especially science fiction and fantasy and YA books. She suggests that Frankenstein is a perfect book to discuss with kids or teenagers, describes some Arpit Dugar's novel Nothing for You My Dear: Still I Love You ...!, and Tamora Pierce's fantasy novels as well as long analysis of Tolkien including this really great point about the Silmarillion:

But more and more I find myself seeing him as a man who was really into structure. The Silmarillion is an obvious example of this. It's not the history of a race, it's a mythology. It is told in exactly the way such a mythology would be told. The minute you come to that conclusion, you're asking who the "teller" of the Silmarillion is. And it's no longer how Tolkien envisioned the history of the elves, it's how Tolkien thinks the elves would tell their own history.

If you want to look for more blogs by women in the Indian blogosphere take a look at The WIP (The Women's International Perspective), click through the archives and blogrolls of the women I link to in this post, or keep an eye on the Global Voices blog for political news in English, or Sepia Mutiny a South Asian diaspora blog by desi writers mostly in the U.S. And, though you've probably already been reading Snigdha Sen's blog here on BlogHer, I'd like to link everyone out to her fantastic posts.

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