Kruttika Susarla is a graphic designer and illustrator currently living in New Delhi. She participated in the 36 Days Of Type project – an annual call to designers and artists around the globe to do their take on the alphabet and number series.

Kruttika put her own spin on the project by choosing to focus on the Indian feminist movement, using each day and each alphanumeric character to represent a different facet, personality, or issue within the diverse Indian feminist movement.

“I wanted to work on a series that would contextualise the feminist movement within the realities and experiences of women and minorities in India. I sought to keep this within the realm of Indian feminism because the issues surrounding women and minorities here are so complex—it’s mixed with religion, caste, sexuality and majority of public discourse is devoid of these intersectional realities,” says Kruttika.

C for continuous consent | Consent is a physical, emotional and mutual agreement that happens in a safe, positive mental space without manipulation and violence. Consent should be continuous irrespective of your relationship status. Even if you've said yes once, you can change your mind, stop whenever you want and just because you said once does not mean it's a yes 'always'. Letter C for 36 days of Feminist type for this year's edition of @36daysoftype. Because it's 2017 and marital rape is still not a criminal offence in India. #36daysoftype #36daysoftype04 #36days_c . . . #illustration #illustree #picame #pirategraphic #graphicdesigncentral @thedesigntip #art #artprints #graphicart #designspiration #creativecloud #magicgallery #dailysketch #supplyanddesign #theartshed #artsanity #artfido #illustrator #designsheriff #bodypositive #womensrights #consent #feminism #maritalrape #rapeculture #section375 #type #consent #36daysoffeministtype

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D for Dalit Womanist Paradigm | Dalit Womanism was a term coined by Cynthia Stephen(intellectual and activist) in 2009 as a statement against the de-politicisation of mainstream Indian feminism that excluded experiences and realities of the Dalit community—which meant mainstream feminism = patriarchy. D for 36 days of Feminist type for this year's edition of @36daysoftype. Because it's 2017 and as we enter the fourth wave of feminism in India, it really needs to become inclusive. #36daysoftype #36daysoftype04 #36days_d . . . #illustration #illustree #picame #pirategraphic #graphicdesigncentral @thedesigntip #art #artprints #graphicart #designspiration #creativecloud #magicgallery #dailysketch #supplyanddesign #theartshed #artsanity #artfido #illustrator #designsheriff #india #womensrights #feminism #intersectional #womanism #type #dalit #political #36daysoffeministtype

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Kruttika says that the project involved a lot of reading. “It was really like an epic rabbit hole where one book or one site recommending another and another and so on — books like Seeing Like a Feminist, Recovering Subversion, articles on Kafila, Crosscurrents, Raiot, etc.”

All the reading was also a learning experience for the artist. “This process opened me up to a lot of new understandings. For example, I had no idea that the term ‘woman’ was not so binary if you consider queer politics. This sensitised me to how marginalised communities found power to organise and demand rights depending on how they choose to represent themselves.”

G for Gender Performativity | A concept that recognises gender as an elaborate act or performance instead of binary male or female. This was first introduced by Judith Butler(American philosopher) in 1990. Drag is probably one such example that defies gender as a construct. G for 36 days of Feminist type for this year's edition of @36daysoftype. Because it's 2017 and it's time to put an end to gender based violence and oppression. #36daysoftype #36daysoftype04 #36days_G . . . #illustration #illustree #picame #pirategraphic #graphicdesigncentral #art #artprints #graphicart #designspiration #creativecloud #magicgallery #dailysketch #supplyanddesign #theartshed #artsanity #artfido #illustrator #designsheriff #india #womensrights #feminism #type #socialconstruct #drag #dragqueen #binary #36daysoffeministtype

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H for History | Feminist history should not be confused with history of feminism (of the movement). This is an important aspect of feminist theory that demands for a critical re-look at history from a cultural and social angle through a feminist lens. The danger of a single narrative is always that it is written by and for the people in power and hence eliminates the realities of minorities. (Alternative facts, anyone?). Feminist history does not merely seek to represent women but also to analyse their influence in shaping what is 'public history'. H for 36 days of Feminist type for this year's edition of @36daysoftype. Because it's 2017 and our textbooks could use some serious feminist upgrade. #36daysoftype #36daysoftype04 #36days_H . . . #illustration #illustree #picame #pirategraphic #graphicdesigncentral #art #artprints #graphicart #designspiration #creativecloud #magicgallery #dailysketch #supplyanddesign #theartshed #illustrator #designsheriff #india #womensrights #feminism #type #history #textbooks #narrative #academics #alternativefacts #36daysoffeministtype

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I for Intersectionality | Intersectionality is a very relevant trait of feminism, (especially for India)—where one cannot think of fighting for equal rights without understanding that there is a prevalent overlap of social identities like caste, class(economic and social), gender, ethnicity, religion and disability. A discourse that does not take these into consideration is simply not a feminist one. I for 36 days of Feminist type for this year's edition of @36daysoftype. Because it's 2017 and feminism is not a marketing tool to sell your new nude-shade lipstick. #36daysoftype #36daysoftype04 #36days_i . . . #illustration #illustree #picame #pirategraphic #graphicdesigncentral @thedesigntip #art #artprints #graphicart #designspiration #creativecloud #magicgallery #dailysketch #supplyanddesign #theartshed #artsanity #artfido #illustrator #designsheriff #bodypositive #womensrights #feminism #intersectional #caste #religion #36daysoffeministtype

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X for x-rated | Sex workers often have it very tough, not only because of taboos around their profession, but also from their social identity overlaps. A lot of arguments against legalising sex work have been merely on the basis that these women can simply 'choose' another profession or that they've been forced into it(which is true in many cases, yet not an adequate argument). Here, choice is a very ironical concept because ultimately, any choice only exists within certain boundaries(especially in a capitalist economy). While sex work is still illegal in India and many countries across the world, the feminist movement asks that we instead—have laws in place to ensure safe sex practices, regulate fair wages, support organisations and introduce policies that actually work towards helping women who choose to leave(sex work) and most importantly keep a check on and punish violence against the women in the profession. X for 36 days of Feminist type for this year's edition of @36daysoftype. Because it's 2017 and we've to end this hypocrisy(patriarchal approach) of mystifying sex work. #36daysoftype #36daysoftype04 #36days_x . . . #illustration #illustree #picame #pirategraphic #graphicdesigncentral @thedesigntip #art #graphicart #designspiration #creativecloud #magicgallery #dailysketch #supplyanddesigny #theartshed #artsanity #artfido #illustrator #designsheriff #bodypositive #womensrights #feminism #sexworkers #sex #xrated #choice #36daysoffeministtype

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Kruttika Susarla’s letter series focussed on concepts – breaking down issues like consent, bodily integrity, gender performativity, and sex worker’s rights and dignity. Her number series however, focussed on actual movements that have taken place in the history of Indian feminism. The artist made sure to focus on diverse and intersectional movements.

02 – Pink Chaddi Campaign | In January 2009, a group of right-wing activists from Sri Ram Sena, attacked women and men in a pub in Mangalore. Pramod Muthalik, the founder of the group claimed that it was a violation of Indian culture and announced that they would forcibly marry off any unmarried couples seen in public on Valentine's day. This caused nation wide outrage that eventually led to the Pink Chaddi Campaign—a non-violent protest where a group of young women(who organised this through a Facebook group called 'Consortium of Pub-going, Loose, and Forward Women') sent pink briefs to Muthalik's office. The campaign was started by Nisha Susan who is a writer, journalist and one of the founders of The Ladies Finger(feminist online magazine). Muthalik received over 2000 'chaddis' from India and abroad—he and his supporters were held in preventive custody on Valentine's eve by the state government. 2 for 36 days of Feminist type(as a part of 10 women and gender equality movements in India, in no particular order) for this year's edition of @36daysoftype. Sources: 'Seeing like a feminist' (Nivedita Menon) Pink Chaddi campaign Wikipedia informationactivism.org #36daysoftype #36daysoftype04 #36days_2 . . . #illustration #illustree #picame #pirategraphic #graphicdesigncentral @thedesigntip #art #graphicart #designspiration #creativecloud #magicgallery #dailysketch #supplyanddesigny #theartshed #artsanity #artfido #illustrator #designsheriff #bodypositive #womensrights #feminism #valentinesday #nonviolence #panties #pink #demonstration #36daysoffeministtype

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03 – Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Aandolan | BMMA is a secular, Muslim feminist voice that emerged in 2007. Zakia Soman (activist) founded the organisation to advocate for Muslim women's equality and rights. Their focus is specifically to make reforms in the Muslim Personal Law in ways that would not oppress women and save them from marginalisation. They seek to repel the practice of verbal Triple Talaq and polygamy + amend clauses in the Muslim personal law that not only leaves women at the mercy men in the family but also prevents them from inheriting any property. A draft for 'Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act' was released in June 2014. 3 for 36 days of Feminist type(as a part of 10 women and gender equality movements in India, in no particular order) for this year's edition of @36daysoftype. Sources: 'Seeing like a feminist' (Nivedita Menon) bmmaindia.com #36daysoftype #36daysoftype04 #36days_3 . . . #illustration #illustree #picame #pirategraphic #graphicdesigncentral @thedesigntip #art #graphicart #designspiration #creativecloud #magicgallery #dailysketch #supplyanddesigny #theartshed #artsanity #artfido #illustrator #designsheriff #bodypositive #womensrights #feminism #muslim #religion #intersectional #36daysoffeministtype

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04 – Anti-Arrack Movements in India | Arrack is a cheap liquor that's made from distilling fermented molasses(sugarcane, palm, etc). In the early 90s, the state government in Andhra Pradesh was receiving a lot of income from the sale and production, which led to a huge subsidy in the rates of arrack(these liquor contractors would eventually become politicians and hold important positions as ministers in the state). They also passed laws that allowed men to carry the liquor and drink at home—which led to domestic violence and directly impacted the economy because the men would spend all day drinking at home without going to work(and spend about 75% of their income on buying alcohol). The anti-arrack movement started in Dugabanta village of Nellore district as a result of a mass literacy mission that was happening around the time—women sat and discussed and quickly came to the conclusion that the sale of cheap liquor in their village was the cause of the domestic abuse and violence. They demanded that sale of arrack in their village be banned and that arrack shops be shut down. This agitation eventually spread to the rest of the state and around 200 shops were shut down during the period(of the agitation). 4 for 36 days of Feminist type(as a part of 10 women and gender equality movements in India, in no particular order) for this year's edition of @36daysoftype. Sources: civilserviceindia.com yourarticlelibrary.com #36daysoftype #36daysoftype04 #36days_4 . . . #illustration #illustree #picame #pirategraphic #graphicdesigncentral @thedesigntip #art #graphicart #designspiration #creativecloud #magicgallery #dailysketch #supplyanddesigny #theartshed #artsanity #artfido #illustrator #designsheriff #bodypositive #womensrights #feminism #alcohol #violence #domesticabuse #demonstration #36daysoffeministtype

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06 – LGBTQA movement in India | The first lgbt walk in India, is considered to be in 1999 by a small group of 15 people in Kolkata. Homosexuality was made illegeal in India under the British rule in 1861—until the Delhi high-court passed a law to de-criminalise homosexuality in 2009 (Naz Foundation vs. Delhi high-court) recognising Section 377 as a fundamental violation of dignity and privacy and basic human rights to life and liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution. This was later rebuked by the Supreme Court in December 2013 and Section 377 was re-instated and homosexuality was criminalised again. The Naz Foundation and many other groups filed review petitions post this judgement—but in vain. Shashi Tharoor, a member of the Indian National Congress Party introduced a bill in December 2015 to decriminalise homosexuality—which was rejected by a majority in the parliament. The Naz Foundation had stated that it would file a petition for review again against this decision. As of February 2016, the Supreme court has decided to review it's stance on Section 377. 6 for 36 days of Feminist type(as a part of 10 women and gender equality movements in India, in no particular order) for this year's edition of @36daysoftype. Sources: LGBT rights in India Wikipedia LGBT rights in Asia Wikipedia Naz Foundation vs. Delhi High Court Wikipedia LGBT history of India Wikipedia #36daysoftype #36daysoftype04 #36days_6 . . . #illustration #illustree #picame #pirategraphic #graphicdesigncentral @thedesigntip #art #graphicart #designspiration #creativecloud #magicgallery #dailysketch #supplyanddesigny #theartshed #womensrights #feminism #lgbtqa #gayrights #pride #lgbt #queer #queerrights #india #36daysoffeministtype

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The project received a lot of positive feedback. While the artist had braced herself to receive a certain amount of trolling for the feminist content of her art (feminists worldwide will commiserate), the project actually created a lot of healthy dialogue. Kruttika says that “many people were able to share these opinions and engage in productive conversations that facilitated new understandings.”

She plans to undertake further projects on similar themes, based on the learnings from this project. “Because these issues are so complex, it also means that this is a continuous process of unlearning and learning. I’m still reading some of the books I discovered during my research for this project. There’s so much about feminism and gender politics that I don’t know and I’m definitely going to use my art to understand and question this better.”

The FII team loved the project – especially its intersectional nature. We can’t wait to see more from Kruttika Susarla!


You can check out Kruttika’s entire letter series and number series, as well as follow her work on Instagram and Behance.

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