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 June, we feature Saurabh Sharma.
A dedicated reader of feminist literature in India, Saurabh’s exceptional flair of writing has covered a host of topics through his book reviews, helping us gain various perspectives around the journey of feminist activism. Some of his other popular articles are Book Review: Forsaken: An AIDS Memoir By Alexandre Bergamini, Book Review: The Many That I Am: Writings From Nagaland and many others.
FII: Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Saurabh Sharma: I’m a Delhi-based writer and currently work in an IT-research and advisory firm as a writer.
FII: How did you become a part of the FII writer family?
Saurabh Sharma: I happened to search for platforms where I can write about gender and sexuality. Most platforms don’t prioritize the publication of pieces on LGBTQIA+, now, with the digitalization, it’s quite different. And my whole politics was about who gets to write and tell stories of whom, and within the intersectionality space, I found FII as the platform where I knew the stories I’d like to share would make sense and be appreciated.
FII: How and when did you become a feminist? Which issues within feminism are close to your heart?
Saurabh Sharma: I remember I submitted a piece on Dutee Chand, but FII had already covered that, so I began searching for another muse. And meanwhile, I messaged Zubaan for a review copy, which they route via FII. So a book review happened to be my first piece on FII in September 2019. I believe that I’m close to storytelling. We don’t have many platforms dedicated to, what I call, ‘feminism listening’ and not ‘choice feminism.’ I think the latter has ruined things and made people doubt their feminist take. It’s a heavily misunderstood term. So, in this regard, I want to read everything on feminism. If I’ve to pick one thing only, then it’d be the journey of feminist discourse in India that attracts me the most—the resilience of people who steered this movement. We need to put it out and celebrate our journey.
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?
Saurabh Sharma: I think “How India Responded To State-Sponsored Oppression Through Art,” because it covers the courage of protests, most of them women-led, against the systematic oppression by the State. I believe that’s the function of art to articulate the change and tell stories of change. In that sense, this covers it. There are many brilliant pieces, but I’d highly recommend people to check this out: “My Casteism & Privileges: A Test For Upper Caste People In Academia.” It’s mandatory for us to realize our privileges and acknowledge them. This is the least that one can do. Demanding ‘equal rights’ in a society that has neglected, traumatized and brutally pushed generations of people from a particular caste, practicing a particular faith, to the margins is shying away from the responsibility to help grow. Celebrating and boasting of one’s privilege means laughing at the agonies of others.
FII: What do you like to do when not writing about gender and social justice?
Saurabh Sharma: I read a lot. That’s precisely what I do. I often say that this is what I do for a living. If I’m not reading then there’s something terribly wrong with me. Other things that I enjoy is watching movies, conducting book meets and going to bookstores.
FII: What do you like about FII and our work? What more would you like to see from us?
Saurabh Sharma: If mainstream media and other platforms would be covering nuanced pieces, then there’ll be no need of FII. Isn’t it? That’s where its significance lies. It tells all those uncomfortable stories that we don’t like to hear, which I think is precisely the job of a platform like FII. It gives space to so many people. It should be celebrated. I think FII can begin with round-table discussions on feminism, gender and social justice. Invite prominent members of the civil society who are well-versed and credible to speak on those topics, and in fact, encourage writers to join as well. Whosoever is covering a particular issue the way it should be covered. Those will bring in more engagement.
FII thanks Saurabh for his timely and valuable contributions. We are incredibly grateful to have him as a part of our writers’ community and appreciate him for his deeply informative writing. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter.