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 May, we feature Aishwarya Amritvijayraj.
A student of Masters in Philosophy from Delhi University, and a writer who articulates on subjects that deal with gender, caste, class, regionalism, politics and society, Aishwarya Amritvijayraj, won the Laadli Media Awards for Gender Sensitivity 2021 for her writing. Some of her popular articles include First Generation Learners: The Struggles To Fit Into The Mainstream Imagination Of ‘Merit’ And Surviving In Academia, and ‘Self Care’ Sold By Pop Culture & Ads: Neither Inclusive Nor Empowering, among others.
FII: Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Aishwarya: I was born in Bihar and have been living in Delhi since 2017. I often don’t like this city. It is tough to survive here, but then I feel that the educational exposure and opportunities this city got me were not possible in Bihar. I often lack a feeling of complete belongingness with any geographical location/region. I am currently pursuing Masters in Philosophy from Delhi University.
FII: How did you become a part of the FII writer family?
Aishwarya: I started as an intern with FII Hindi in August 2020. Since then, I have been writing as a contributing writer for FII Hindi. My first English article for FII was published in December 2021, as far as I can recall. I write bilingually.
FII: How and when did you become a feminist? Which issues within feminism are close to your heart?
Aishwarya: I think there is no point as such in ‘becoming’ a feminist. I read the history of women of gender minorities, but all that is theory and documentation and history. When it comes to being a feminist, I think it is everyday work to be done on self. Sometimes it feels like I have not handled a situation as I should have had as a feminist. Surviving in Brahmanical patriarchy is tiresome. But I learn every day and try a little more every day. Issues close to my heart are the ones I have seen in the past, and in the present, continue to see women around me(from mothers, sisters etc., to peers-friends) deal with on an everyday basis. It is difficult for me to name just a few in particular.
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?
Aishwarya: There is an interview, ‘In Conversation With Malvika Raj: Dalit Madhubani Artist’. The artist, her journey, and her artwork need to be more visible out there on digital platforms. She and her art deserve it. My favourite piece on the site is ‘First Generation Learners: The Struggles To Fit Into The Mainstream Imagination Of ‘Merit’ And Surviving In Academia’ because I would say, ‘personal is political’.
FII: What do you like to do when not writing about gender and social justice?
Aishwarya: I mostly feel lost nowadays, and to cope, I sleep. I also paint at times. These days when it is too hot to do anything, I curse Delhi weather and the expense of renting an AC, then I lay down and just watch the fan move and think about how existence is a philosophical burden, or I miss the last time I hugged someone I was in love with and felt loved.
FII: What do you like about FII and our work? What more would you like to see from us?
Aishwarya: I look forward to reading more voices from lesser represented, voices from the marginalised identities, and re-invention of many ideas from their gaze-experience, especially after the change in the core team of the FII editorial board, which happened for a reason. I look forward to the work this change is intended to bring about.
FII thanks Aishwarya 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. You can follow her on Instagram.