By Lipi Mehta:
15 years ago, my sister handed me a book with a red cover which had a train and a bespectacled boy on it. The title read, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’. She put it in my hands and said the two words that would change my life forever: “Read it.” At age 10, I was hooked. Over the years, I have re-read the entire Harry Potter series and found strength and new meaning in J. K. Rowling’s writing. Her characters aren’t afraid of accepting themselves and more importantly, many of them push each other to be better friends, more courageous human beings. I have learned some of my life’s biggest lessons from Harry Potter and needless to say, I was beyond excited in 2011 when Rowling joined Twitter and gave me (and the world!) a deeper insight into who she is as a person; into who created these characters and stories in the first place. In the last few years, she has become more and more active on the social media platform and taken a stand on diverse issues such as the Scottish independence referendum and oppression against refugees, and spoken out against the institutionalisation of children through her charity, Lumos.
Here are 10 instances where Rowling’s has stood up for equal rights and proven that one doesn’t become the world’s most beloved writer just like that!
@_Paaulaisadora Only by ludicrous Muggles. The wizards don’t give a damn – it’s all about the magic for them.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 7, 2014
And this is what she said when a fan mentioned that she couldn’t somehow ’see’ Dumbledore as being gay.
— Ian Rankin (@Beathhigh) September 20, 2015
I would like to make it clear that I don’t endorse shutting children under the stairs. Thought I’d made that clear. https://t.co/8kenUdXkke
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 20, 2015
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 28, 2015
At various instances, Dobby and the other house elves in the Harry Potter series have been regarded as what comes closest to slavery in the wizarding world. Readers’ unity against the oppression of house elves gives us hope of how we have it in us to unite against the ill-treatment of minorities.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 11, 2015
Serena Williams’s victory at Wimbledon 2015 was accompanied by a lot of disturbing ‘criticism’ regarding her body type and complexion. It was a global example of the deeply rooted misogyny inside us that looks at how a woman looks and talks, much before looking at her capabilities. This tweet by Rowling was retweeted a staggering 94 thousand times and took a ferocious stand for women’s rights everywhere.
Also, go Serena Williams!
God knows how Harry Potter got so big! I could go weeks at a time without being called a Quisling whore in the 90s. https://t.co/e4achhcDDz
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 17, 2015
Don’t you dare let their laughter extinguish your ambition. Turn it into fuel! Big hugs from one writer to another x https://t.co/w3lYXAosJj
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 15, 2015
Last month, Rowling took a stand against the cultural boycott in Israel, signing a letter by The Guardian, stating that, “At a time when the stigmatisation of religions and ethnicities seems to be on the rise, […] cultural boycotts are divisive, discriminatory and counter-productive.” Many fans questioned this stand and said that “Harry wouldn’t approve”. She wrote a powerful response to this stating that in the last book, Harry goes against his instinct of rushing into action, against his natural inclination to fight, and has to pause and assess how the war really can be won – just like in Israel, “It satisfies the human urge to do something, anything, in the face of horrific human suffering,” but that might not be a long-term solution. Read her full statement here.
She shared a poem by Musa Okwonga on cyber bullying, to which a fan said that “Bullies are kinda like dementors. Just sit back and let them starve to death.” Rowling replied to this with a two-part response on why silence is not the way forward:
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 27, 2015
Thank you, J. K. Rowling for being proof of how much goodness exists in this world!
Potterheads are all wonderful, but YOU are the best. Yes, you, reading this. X
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 10, 2014
I think it’s time to revisit the shelf where magic happens and see what else Rowling has in store for us!
Lumos, let there be light.