Thursday, September 15 2016, 11:36:44
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Himanshu Roy

JWB Blogger

Barkha Dutt: “Feminism is not an F-word for me. I wear it as a badge of honor.”

  • JWB Post
  •  March 26, 2016


She is one of the most celebrated journalists of India, one who is known for speaking her mind. So when Barkha Dutt feels that women should stop being apologetic about being ambitious, then we are all ears.

“When will we stop this double standard of lauding men for ambition and judging women for theirs?” asked Barkha in an interview with the New York Times.  Speaking on the sidelines of the Women in the World Summit, Barkha said that feminism is something that she wears as a badge doesn’t ever shy away from saying that she is a feminist.

And well, we must say that coming from a woman who has spoken extensively about the problem of sexual abuse in India and has even included her own story of child abuse in her book This Unquiet land: Stories from India’s Fault Lines, this confession is not at all surprising.

It was from her brave coverage of the kargil war that Barkha had burst into the journalistic scene in the country some twenty years ago and her book chronicles different facets of India that she saw in these two decades as she was reporting from the field.

She says that the being unapologetic about ambition is as much important as the fact that feminism is about freedom.

“How can feminism not be relevant when millions of women do not have freedom in India?” asks Barkha during the interview.

Although she mentors many young women by visiting schools and colleges, Barkha feels that instead of having a role model, the most important thing is to celebrate your individualism by breaking away from the pack.

And how could the subjects of social media trolls not come up when you are in a conversation with Barkha, a person who has to deal with a lot of vitriolic attacks on the social media! The reason? Simple, we can’t tolerate a woman who has her own free opinion, can we?

Barkha accepts that she has received death threats, rape threats and the worst sort of language online. But here is what she has to say to those internet bullies.

“They want to intimidate you into silence or bully you into changing your mind. And I am damned if I am going to let anyone do that! The can troll on and drone on!”

Well, Amen to that!

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