The not-so-obvious feminists among us | brunch$feature | Hindustan Times
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The not-so-obvious feminists among us

Appreciation for the role that women are playing in our lives seems to be coming from some rather unexpected places and people

brunch Updated: Nov 04, 2016 18:06 IST

Feminism appears to be the flavour of the month. In the wake of the way people are lapping up his new ‘feminist’ bestseller, author Chetan Bhagat recently speed-read the works of three ‘badass women’ for a podcast recently.
The objects of his inspiration? Twinkle Khanna, the writer of Mrs Funnybones, Erica Jong, author of Fear of Flying and surprise, surprise Beyonce, the singer of Sorry! Why are we discussing Mr Bhagat’s eclectic inspirations you may ask? Well, because his publishers marketed One Indian Girl as Bhagat’s take on feminism. Ostensibly, the author of among other pulpy bestsellers such as, One Night at a Call Centre, interviewed hundreds of women to get an insight into the mind of the Indian woman while researching this book.

Whether his book has finally turned out to be a fair representation of feminism in India is something that we can debate, but Bhagat wasn’t the only celebrity batting for the cause of women in the popular Indian mindspace.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni wore their feminism on their jerseys, literally, for an advertising campaign run by the cricket broadcasters taking to the field and beating the pulp out of a hapless Kiwi side with their jerseys reading Devki, Saroj and Sujata respectively. In the concluding ODI of the series at Vizag, the rest of the Boys in Blue followed suit, paying an ode to their moms. The apparent justification for the campaign: Acknowledging the role the cricketers’ mothers played in their lives. It isn’t all marketing spin: “When I was young, my mother [Sujata Rahane] would pick up the kitbag in one hand and my younger brother Shashank in the other and the two of us would walk to net practice. At times we ended up walking for 10 kilometres under a harsh sun. My mother then sat outside for three hours till I finished practice and then we walked back,” Rahane had told this reporter in a cover story for Hindustan Times Brunch in July.

After losing his father Prem Kohli earlier in his life, Virat’s mom Saroj has been the glue that kept the cricketer’s family together. A certain filmmaker who responds to the name of Sanjay ‘Leela’ Bhansali would have approved. But he wasn’t the first to make taking up a woman’s name as their own fashionable. In the 1950s, the late Kashmiri painter Ghulam Rasool Santosh, best known for his themes inspired by Kashmir Shaivism, added his wife Santosh’s name to his own after they married.

Appreciation for the role that women are playing in our lives seems to be coming from some rather unexpected places and people!