This year, we have been featuring the best writers from our writer community for their committed contribution to FII, making it what it is today. FII would not exist if not for the passionate and loyal feminist writer community that we have steadily been building over the last three years. This month, we feature Swati Singh.
Swati Singh joined the FII team as an intern in August 2016. Her application was different from the rest – she had applied to write articles in Hindi. Her article led us to consider the possibility of becoming a bilingual publication. Since her internship ended, Swati has officially taken on a permanent role in FII as our Hindi Editor, and has ensured that the Hindi section has grown to include 55 articles – most of which have been written by Swati herself (42 of them, to be precise).
She has written hugely popular articles on Ismat Chughtai, Saadat Hasan Manto and Tarabai Shinde as well as written opinion pieces on beauty standards, the debates around feminism and explainer pieces on patriarchy, internalized misogyny and intersectional feminism in Hindi.
Here is more about our fantastic Hindi editor, and as we like to call her – a writing machine!
FII: Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
SS: After completing Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in sociology from Banaras Hindu University, I did my Master’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. Besides this, I have also completed the certificate course in Human Rights from Indira Gandhi Open University (IGNOU, New Delhi) and I did post-graduate diploma course in human rights from the Indian Institute of Human Rights.
I’ve worked as a sub-editor in ‘Shukrawaar‘ magazine for some time, and have also contributed as a columnist in the children’s newspaper ‘Balguru Plus’. In the year 2017, I wrote my first book ‘Control Z’ – a collection of essays remembering forgotten people from history.
Along with active writing on issues related to feminism and gender, at present I have established a welfare society named Muheem – Ek Saarthak Prayaas to work on gender related issues in Varanasi.
FII: How did you become a part of the FII writer family?
SS: It has been quite interesting to be a part of the writer’s family in Feminism in India. I was busy in completing my first book, when I got the information about FII’s online internship program while scrolling through Facebook. So, I visited their website where all the contents were available in English only. But instead of language restrictions, keeping in mind the style of my writing, I submitted the application in Hindi. Just after a few days, Japleen Pasricha, the founder of FII informed me of my acceptance at the internship program.
FII: How and when did you become a feminist? Which issues within feminism are close to your heart?
SS: While studying for my Bachelor’s degree, my interest in feminist ideology began to develop. While writing for my blog, I started to get more involved in this direction. However, I became a full-fledged feminist only after joining Feminism in India.
Although it’s difficult to select a particular issue under feminist ideology, racism against dark-skinned women and the practices that are imposed on women in the name of “reputation” are two such issues which lie really close to my heart.
FII: What is your favourite piece on this site that you have written, and your favourite piece on this site that you have read? Why did they strike you?
SS: During my internship, an article of mine named लड़की सांवली है, हमें तो चप्पल घिसनी पड़ेगी! on the issue of racism against dark skinned women is my favourite. The favourite piece I’ve read is the article on ‘Intersectional Feminism‘ by Nupur Jain. It’s a new concept in the field of feminism which is now spreading in India. There is no writing about it, especially in Hindi. However, under this concept, all the gender-related issues, the differences between the experiences of different women and their inter-relationships are deeply analysed.
FII: What do you like to do when not writing about gender and social justice?
SS: Apart from writing, I love reading books and watching movies based on social issues. Playing and spending time with pets in my free time gives me immense pleasure. I also like doing research on social issues and starting social campaigns based on their findings.
FII: What do you like about FII and our work? What more would you like to see from us?
SS: I love the way Feminism in India remains connected with the affairs of society and highlights all the unexplored aspects of it which have been shrouded in silence for centuries and glorified in our society. I want to make active efforts in the same direction for young Hindi female writers.
FII thanks Swati for her relentless and considerable contribution to our website. You can read more of her work here and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. If you want to write for FII (in Hindi or English), click here.