By Tanaya Singh:
Japleen Pasricha is a feminist and a research scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. A lecturer and an expert of German Studies, she is very interested in women, men and gender studies. She is a supporter of LGBTQI. An aspiring educator and social activist, Japleen wishes to work with a women’s rights organisation someday. She firmly believes that she can and will bring about a change. She loves reading and wants to write feminist short stories for children and young adults. She blogs here and also has a page on feminism to boot.
As a part of our Opinion Leader of the Week column, we highlight Japleen’s personal journey with the Youth Ki Awaaz community.
Q1: When and how did you get involved with Youth Ki Awaaz?
My association with YKA began last year in November, 2013 when YKA published an article of mine. I used to read YKA regularly and once when I wrote a satirical article on causes of rape on my blog, I thought I should try my hands on getting it published. I contacted the YKA team and they very gracefully accepted and published my article which then went viral. The YKA team and I, were very happy with the response and since then I wrote and published articles on YKA regularly on issues which are close to my heart. Needless to say, writing at YKA has helped me immensely. I have grown as a writer and received a wider readership as well as sound critique of my pieces.
Q2: What are some of the topics you’ve loved writing about, and why?
As I am a very active feminist, my articles usually have something to do with women’s rights, feminism and patriarchy. I want to undo all the negativity which is built around feminism. Feminism is considered a dirty word and perceived by many as female supremacy. With the help of my articles I want to spread the message of gender equality. Apart from this, I would also like to promote free and critical thinking through my articles. I want the Indian youth to question our age-old customs and to make an informed choice.
Q3: What is it that you see as the outcome of your writings at Youth Ki Awaaz, at present or how would you like the outcome to be in the future?
As a writer I’d want my readers to reflect on my articles and to engage in healthy and fruitful discussions with me. This helps me stay motivated and keeps me writing more and more for my readers. I would also like to be more involved with YKA and see myself as an acclaimed writer.
Q4: If you wanted to change one thing about Youth Ki Awaaz, what would it be?
I think YKA is doing a great job in providing the youth a platform to express their anguish, their feelings, their aspirations and their ideas. With the power of social media, YKA can and will go a long way in being the No. 1 website for the young and bright India. I feel to widen its readership; YKA should start publishing in other Indian languages as well. Multilingualism is the need of the hour and YKA will benefit hugely if it allows people to express themselves in their mother tongues. This will also enable YKA to reach beyond caste and class in India.
Q5: What do you like to do when you’re not writing, or thinking about pressing issues, or just working?
I’m a bibliophile, I have about 200 books and I wish to have my own library cum bookshop cum cafe. I like to learn languages; I’m already fluent in German. Next on my list are Spanish and Punjabi. Other than this I like travelling and photography. Although I can hardly paint myself, I’m a big fan of street art. I like to collect unique postcards and table coasters. I’m also a cyclist and with a group of fellow enthusiastic cyclists, I ride on weekends through Delhi’s lush green parks.
Q6: What one question would you like to pose to your audience?
I would like to ask my audience how, why and in which fields do they plan to bring about a change. I want to know what others are doing and get inspired by that to make our world a better place to live in.
For more on Japleen’s life follow her on Twitter @japna_p