We are in the last lap of 2021, and this is the second year of dealing with the covid-19 pandemic. When the lockdowns started last year, and we had to spend a lot of time with ourselves, staying within physically and emotionally, a lot of us found solace in fictional escape and imaginary worlds.
We turned to literature for relief, relatability and reference. We heard the word ‘dystopian‘ a lot more in the course of the last two years, and we also simultaneously referred quite a lot to dystopian fiction to seek comfort in some kind of predictive assurance. Be it Albert Camus’s The Plague, or be it George orewell’s 1984, or Margret atwood’s Hand Maiden’s Tale, Prayag Akbar’a Leila, references to dystopian fictional worlds have been very common in our literary conversations in terms of understanding how human beings respond to crisis and how the state deploys surveillance in such situations.
Books, stories and conversations about literature have held us together and helped us cope in a massive way. In todays episode, we will be discussing about the importance of reading and books and why it is imperative for more women to tell stories and how stories always sustain us because we are all our stories in the end!
Joining our hosts Nishta and Sukanya this week is Urvashi Butalia. She is a feminist writer, publisher and activist. Urvashi is known for her work in the women’s movement of India, as well as for authoring books such as The Other Side of Silence: Voices from and the Partition of India and Speaking Peace: Women’s Voices from Kashmir.
She co-founded Kali for Women, India’s first feminist publishing house, in 1984. In 2003, she founded Zubaan Books. In 2011, she was awarded the Padma Shri for her work in Literature and Education. Tune in to this episode for a fun, intense, lovely conversation on the importance of reading and books!
This podcast is available on Spotify, Apple, Google, and six other streaming platforms via Anchor. Listen to this episode on any of your favourite streaming platforms and tell us what you think in the comments section!