I have believed the pen is mightier than the sword, ever since I held a pen at thirteen. My first tryst with writing wasn’t in the crumpled pages of a teenage journal or the back pages of a notebook for a mandatory school essay.
The very first thing I wrote was a letter – a letter on a spotless white paper, with margins, and blue ink – addressed to the Prime Minister, when I was thirteen. I wrote to him urging him to remedy the issue of the minor rapist involved in the 2012 Delhi gang rape receiving a lenient sentence for being a child; I argued he should be tried and convicted like an adult. Needless to say, my letter didn’t contribute in any way or create an impact, and I soon forgot about it, but the next time I wrote was a few months later for the Facebook page of a gender-equality organisation I had begun my consistent and passionate tryst with writing.
Five years since that day, I still write with the same resolve, the same fervour, and the same unflinching hope that my writing will create an impact, no matter how small or limited.
As to why I write, my reasons are simple.
I write to create change. My writing usually revolves around women’s empowerment, dismantling patriarchy, LGBTQ rights, and politics. I write about things that need change, that need to be re-built, and that need to be re-imagined. With my writing, I try to explore the merits of the discarded and bring to light the demerits of the unquestioningly accepted.
I write because I see that political statements are often rhetoric; I see women being owned, discarded, and silenced; I see the toxic myth of real masculinity that patriarchy perpetrates and the lives this myth shapes; I see marriage equality being granted as a privilege that should be met with gratitude and not as a basic right.
I also write because I am aware, aware of stories happening all the way across the globe, aware of the lives living in conditions unspeakable. I see the world as one and not divided by borders, languages, or race. I am aware of the power and influence of the youth on the world, of our responsibilities, not to our homelands but to the entire world, as a global citizen, without race lines and language barriers.
I write because I am aware of the capacity of the written word to invoke thought, emotions, and most of all, action. A tool that powerful is a tool that can change the world, a tool that can shape lives for the better, and a tool that can be the foundation of our path towards an egalitarian and desired world.
If I change one thought, if I affect one life, if I mould one opinion, I know I will have succeeded as a writer. That’s what keeps me determined even when my writing receives hate or the attention of trolls. If it manages to create the smallest of impact, if it contributes in the tiniest of ways, every troll, every hate-filled reaction, and every threat will be worth it.
This is not to say all my motives to write are noble, I write for myself too.
My writing brought me one step closer to the woman I want to be, and I still have a long way to go to be the woman I can be proud of, and my writing will always be a part of that journey. Ever since I was conscious of my identity as a woman, I have been a writer. In me these two identities co-exist, and they aid me in my quest to be a strong, independent woman and a writer worth her salt.
Writing is an essential part of my life and has had a profound impact on my being. My writing is my voice and the only tool I need. Writing is the tool I use to fight discrimination, stereotypes, prejudice, and hate, my writing is the toll that I use to battle systemic oppression, internalised misogyny, and deeply entrenched patriarchy, my writing is a hand to reach people who envision the world I do, my writing is my raft to traverse the violent ocean of communal politics and polarisation.
I write because I see the power of the written word, I revere the written word, I am what I write.