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Imaging Women Nationalists: Serving the Nation State at The Hindu Lit Fest 2024
At The Hindu Lit Fest 2024, three women, Anita Ratnam, Shovana Narayan, and Dalit activist Shalin Maria Lawrence, will collaborate to explore the interconnectedness of political and personal freedom through stories, talks, and dance. Their session, ‘Imaging Women Nationalists: Serving the Nation State’, promises to be an evocative journey where nationalism and feminism converge.
The Untold Stories of India’s Freedom Struggle
Anita Ratnam and Shovana Narayan, renowned dancers, will bring to life the untold stories of India’s freedom struggle. They will weave together past and present narratives in two performance segments, intertwined with a moderated discussion. Anita Ratnam will share the story of a working-class woman from Malaysia who enlisted in the army during the freedom struggle, shedding light on the lesser-known aspects of historical events. She will also highlight the connection between women’s pursuit of agency and autonomy within the domestic sphere and their fight for national freedom.
The Power of Performance
Anita and Shovana’s performances in Bharatanatyam and Kathak have been carefully crafted to engage the audience’s senses in unique ways. They emphasize that performances have the ability to convey emotions and experiences that traditional discussions and talks may not fully capture.
Stories of Courage and Resilience
Shovana Narayan’s performance will depict the remarkable journey of Begum Hazrat Mahal, a fearless woman who stood up against the British rule, symbolizing courage and fortitude. She will also highlight the often-overlooked contributions of women from all socio-economic backgrounds who played crucial roles in the freedom movement.
Challenging Norms and Confronting Patriarchy
Shalin Maria Lawrence will bring attention to the historical neglect of tawaifs or courtesans, who were learned women but were not accorded dignity in society or public memory. She will also address the patriarchal nature of political parties and the ongoing stigma surrounding issues such as abortion. Additionally, Shalin will discuss the freedom struggles of Dalit women and expound on Dr. Ambedkar’s modern ideas on women’s rights.
The session will take place on January 26 at 6:50 p.m. at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall, Harrington Road, Chetpet.
By delving into the powerful narratives of these women, the session ‘Imaging Women Nationalists: Serving the Nation State’ at The Hindu Lit Fest 2024 promises to be a thought-provoking exploration of the intertwined struggles for personal and political freedom.