“But we look upon you as goddesses!”
This is an argument virtually all Indian women are familiar with, and one many are skeptical about. Within the women’s movement, the goddess image has taken a completely different turn: while many individuals and groups have looked for images of empowerment and strength, and have found them in religion, others have turned the goddess image on its head. In our search for posters across India we came across any number of posters in which the image of the many-armed Hindu goddess, whether Kali or Durga or Saraswati, was transformed into an image of the many-armed woman, performing tasks from morning to night. In one, a poster that has by now acquired iconic status, we see the many-armed goddess with one set of arms cut off, and the other holding weapons; in another we see the goddess holding implements of household tasks that she needs to perform, a third shows her balancing several things at one time the different interpretations of the goddess by women activists all over the country provide yet another prism through which to look at the movement and its many images and concerns.
Despite all the many tasks women handle, men say that their wives don’t work.
Women are likened to the goddess with many hands, Kali. But in society, women have no power.
“How many hands will I have! How much work will I do! ”Women should have equal rights in every sector.
This is an argument virtually all Indian women are familiar with, and one many are skeptical about. Within the women’s movement, the goddess image has taken a completely different turn: while many individuals and groups have looked for images of empowerment and strength, and have found them in religion, others have turned the goddess image on its head.
House work is work. Housewives are workers. Are we willing to admit that? Women also have only two hands.
In the summer months Asmita goes to villages in A.P and organises Jatras (village fairs). 2 to 3 villages at one time participate in these one day fairs where stalls are set up to privide awareness on political participation of women, globalisation, health and child care/rights etc. The posters in this series are used during these Jatras. This particular poster is used during a session where women are asked to count the number of hours they spend working and home or in the fields and list all the work they do.
The frame of a clock shows how a woman’s day is structured.
One of the oldest of the ‘goddess’ images, this poster comes from Bengal and shows the typical Bengali woman in her traditional attire, handling multiple tasks.
This poster uses the metaphor of the goddess slightly differently to make its point.
Zubaan is an independent feminist publishing house based in New Delhi with a strong academic and general list. It was set up as an imprint of India’s first feminist publishing house, Kali for Women, and carries forward Kali’s tradition of publishing world quality books to high editorial and production standards. Zubaan means tongue, voice, language, speech in Hindustani. Zubaan publishes in the areas of the humanities, social sciences, as well as in fiction, general non-fiction, and books for children and young adults under its Young Zubaan imprint.