We have been featuring the best writers from our writers’ 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 writers’ community that we have steadily been building over the last three years.
This July, we feature Abha Khetarpal. Abha has been a longtime friend and supporter of the FII team, and has lent her rich and in-depth experience of being a disability rights activist to our page, penning incisive and thought-provoking articles on disability and gender, including experiences of love and dating as well how Indian cinema portrays disabilities. You can see all of Abha’s writing here.
Abha even participated in a video created by FII on how women with disabilities experienced the internet as part of our #DigitalHifazat campaign.
Without further ado, meet the writer herself!
FII: Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Abha Khetarpal: I am a counsellor, a teacher, a social worker, a motivational speaker and an activist. I work for persons with disabilities. Being a woman with disability my major focus remains on women with disabilities. I have authored manuals like ‘Keeping You Abreast; A handbook on breast cancer self examination’ and ‘Going with the Flow; Handbook on Menstrual Management & Hygiene’. I also run a mentoring program for girls/women with disabilities. Soon I am going to launch an online self-paced Comprehensive Sexuality Education Course for persons with disabilities.
FII: How did you become a part of the FII writer family?
AK: It has been quite some time that I have been writing for FII. I used to read wonderful pieces here before I started contributing here. Then I was approached to write and it was a great opportunity for me to get myself heard and so I could not refuse this offer.
AK: When I saw that the patriarchal ways of our society were embedded in the psyche of each of individual leading to oppression and imbalance of power between both the sexes, my perspective changed. Women and girls with disabilities face double jeopardy. And unfortunately, the feminist movement often does not include this marginalized section. Whenever there is an intersection of identities, discrimination and oppression take place. The social inequality that is all pervasive in Indian context makes my heart bleed. Apart from that, the objectification of female bodies by the popular media is what I always object to. These are some of the issues that are very 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?
AJ: The write up in which I deconstructed the concept of inspiration porn is one of my favourite write ups here. It was my personal story and I could express myself very well in it. The write up that really touched me was ‘Notes from a sex worker on providing services to clients with disabilities‘. It is a wonderfully written piece and boldly talks about an issue that no one wants to talk about.
AK: I like to do many things. I read medical journals about various disabilities. I love listening to romantic songs. I pen down poetry. I watch almost every Bollywood movie that is released.
FII: What do you like about FII and our work? What more would you like to see from us?
AJ: FII is an amazing platform where readers and writers get the opportunity to know the realities of those aspects of society which otherwise remain hushed up. I must congratulate FII – they are growing very fast and the quality of write-ups is increasing. With the introduction of the Hindi section, FII is now reaching far and wide. What I would like to see more of here, if we want to change the perceptions and attitudes regarding age-old beliefs, is myth busting on various social issues.
FII thanks Abha Khetarpal for being such a dedicated writer. Her perspective and experience lend a great deal to FII, and we are very grateful to have her as part of our writers’ community. She can be followed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.