7 Things For Desi Feminists To Do This DIwali

November 3 2021

Ah Diwali. It’s that time of year when the pollution is the Instagram filter for your mirchi lights. It’s a time of togetherness and celebration. But is that all there is to the festival?


It’s also that time of year when some think it’s a good idea to call you a "pataka," and it feels nothing like rocking out to Katy Perry’s "Firework". But let's claim this holiday in our own desi feminist way!

For us desi feminists, Diwali begins with the story of Sita, as we reflect on the gender dynamics of Rāmāyan. We recommend Nina Paley’s delightful animated film, “Sita Sings The Blues.”

Remembering Sita

Giving Time Off

It’s your domestic workers' Diwali too, so desi feminists respect their time off, and, while they’re at it, send them a special box of mithai, or a sari, or a crisp suit, letting them know you appreciate them.

Firecrackers are a big no-no. We know behind every phuljadi arehazardous work conditions, child labour, unequal wages, and a deadly carbon footprint. All us desi feminists gotta stay eco-friendly

Shopping For Diwali

Playing Cool Songs

How about some hits from everyone’s favourite flick "Queen"? How about throwing in some Bikini Kill and Beyonce too? Whatever floats your boat, go wild!

Us desi feminists go to these local Diwali melas together so that we can counteract the negative energy that other people are still holding on to. 

Going To A Neighbourhood Mela

Reading On Diwali

Time to head to a room of one’s own - which could also be a cosy corner, the last table at the café, or your favourite dhaba - for a light read. There’s Anand Neelakantan’s "Asura: Tale Of The Vanquished".

As friends and relatives start trickling in for drinks and dinner, brace for a barrage of problematic “banter,” unsolicited advice from relatives who claim to know better, and the usual questions about marriage and children.

Eating Dinner