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 January, we feature Sanjana Pegu. From busting convenient myths around the reservation system to calling out the erasure of caste in Bollywood movies, Sanjana’s writing educates readers as well as makes space for marginalised views and silenced opinions. Some of her other popular articles are One Year of #MeToo In India: Stories We Tell And A Lifetime Of Lessons, Why Understanding Brahminical Patriarchy Is Of Utmost Importance, and many more.
FII: Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Sanjana Pegu: I am from Guwahati, eked my way through a Physics degree, an MBA (I know!), and a few years in corporate India. I’m currently based in Sydney and trying to make a living as a writer. My life goals include adopting a cat, travelling to South America, and contributing to a feminist future.
FII: How did you become a part of the FII writer family?
SP: I’ve been following FII’s work for years now, they are probably the only feminist website in India worth giving your patronage to. When I started articulating my feminist thoughts and opinions through articles, it was only natural that I would eventually want to be a part of their diverse family.
FII: How and when did you become a feminist? Which issues within feminism are close to your heart?
SP: I have always been a feminist even before I knew this term. Feminism has been an integral part of my journey as a woman and the constant discovery of what it means to be one. Growing up in a family with strong, opinionated women, railing against gender norms as a teenager, moving to mainland India and facing constant discrimination due to my tribal background, facing relentless sexism in college and corporate spaces – my lived experiences have informed my feminism and vice versa. Intersectionality, for me, is critical. As a socialist feminist, I consider both patriarchy and capitalism as the twin pillars of women’s oppression.
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?
SP: My most recent FII article on reservations, ‘Upper Caste’ Reservation And The Fallacy Of Income-Based Quota, is currently my favourite because I feel it busts a lot of myths around this issue. With reservations increasingly coming under attack by the State and the SC, I really believe we need better discourse around it.
There are too many to choose from! But I really liked the piece ‘Dear Straight People, Stop Teaching Me How To Be Queer‘ by Hamsadhwani Alagarsamy. It’s well-written and more importantly, exposes the hollowness and hypocrisy of those who pass off as experts and intellectuals. It’s also a timely reminder that we should always use our own critical faculties to read, assess, and judge instead of blindly following those who have the perquisite of privilege.
FII: What do you like to do when not writing about gender and social justice?
SP: Reading! Books, online literature, you name it. I love travelling, watching world cinema, music, walks and hikes, and will never say no to a night out with friends.
FII: What do you like about FII and our work? What more would you like to see from us?
SP: I love how FII has articles on virtually every feminist issue. I also admire their editorial policy and the importance they give to amplifying the voices of DBA women and men.
As a member of the DBA community and a feminist, FII is probably the only platform in India that gives spaces to us, on our terms and without attempting to dilute our voices and opinions. The work that the team and its writers are doing is extremely important to further true intersectional feminist discourse in this country. I would love to see more DBA members and writers and a lot more rupturing of established narratives, particularly with respect to class aspects. Privileged people in this country need to be shaken out of their comfort zones and start feeling extremely uncomfortable.
FII thanks Sanjana Pegu for her timely and valuable contributions. We are incredibly grateful to have her as a part of our writers’ community and appreciate her for her deeply informative writing. She can be followed on Twitter.