International Literature Festival: Women authors call for gender equality in writing - Hindustan Times
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International Literature Festival: Women authors call for gender equality in writing

By, Shimla
Jun 19, 2022 03:22 AM IST

Eminent women writers took a hard look at biases against them and called for gender equality in writing at the three-day International Literature Festival that concluded in Shimla on Saturday.

Eminent women writers took a hard look at biases against them and called for gender equality in writing at the three-day International Literature Festival that concluded in Shimla on Saturday.

Writer Geetanjali Shree during the last day of the International Literature Festival in Shimla on Saturday. Eminent women writers took a hard look at biases against them and called for gender equality in writing. (Deepak Sansta/HT)
Writer Geetanjali Shree during the last day of the International Literature Festival in Shimla on Saturday. Eminent women writers took a hard look at biases against them and called for gender equality in writing. (Deepak Sansta/HT)

An erudite panel comprising Mridula Garg as chair, and Geetanjali Shree and Varsha Adalja as discussants shared their views on “Women’s writing in Indian languages”.

“Writings or writers should never be discriminated against based on their gender. A writer or a poet is just that, but creating a divide by saying that she is a woman writer rather than talking about the genre of the written expression, the focus is laid on the fact that she is a female writer,” said Mridula, who has written in every genre in Hindi.

“No writer or creation is the same as they stem from different emotions, language, experiences, expressions or feelings, thus when talking about women’s writing, it acts as a barrier to the growth of literature,” she said.

She added that she has been invited to different countries where she spoke about a wide range of topics covering modernism, hedonism and how creative works grow, but it was only the Sahitya Akademi that has chosen such a derogatory topic by creating a bias against women, which should thus be changed and done away with.

Popular Hindi writer Geetanjali Shree, who won the International Booker Prize for her novel “Tomb of Sand,” made a viewpoint on women writing saying that women writing is an injustice to women who make an attempt to give expression to sensibility and sensitivity in their work.

She said books have different meanings for different readers but translation should have life and soul of the original creation and literature should be available in all languages.

She felt that the writer’s world should not be divided into languages. “The world should not be divided into English and other languages. We have vibrant literature in all languages but the absence of translators is a hindrance and publishers and other organisations should take an initiative in this direction,” she said.

“It is a forum which brings together writers from all over. Here you have a chance to get to know each other’s literature. India is a large country and it has vibrant literature in many languages. This is just a small drop in the ocean,” said Geetanjali Shree.

“We have discussed how women’s literature and writing should be seen as part of the literary mainstream and not separately. I think something more should be done and there should be a lot more discussion. There will be many things which will be discussed and in literature all kinds of dialogues are possible,” she added.

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