JMI Event Report | 6th Annual Memorial Lecture on ‘Creation and Dissemination of Feminist Knowledge

On the occasion of International Women’s Day Sarojini Naidu Centre for Women’s Studies(SNCWS) of Jamia Millia Islamia(JMI) organised 6th Annual Memorial Lecture on 3rd March 2020. Feminist writer and activist Urvashi Butalia was the keynote speaker who spoke on ‘Creation and Dissemination of Feminist Knowledge’. Professor Simi Malhotra of JMI chaired the programme which was attended by nearly 150 participants.

Professor Sabiha Hussain, Director of the SNCWS, welcomed the participants and highlighted Centre’s achievements. Ms Butalia largely spoke on the history of feminist knowledge, challenges to feminist knowledge, alternative knowledge spaces, identity and their representation. She traced back the key events that were a watershed in the history of Indian feminist knowledge and also in the creation of Kaali and Zubaan, India’s first feminist publishing houses, to what it is today. She cited the works of Mukta Bai Salve, Savitri Bai Phule and Sharmeela Ragay, who questioned the situation of knowledge and its domination by men. Butalia said, ”When Kaali was created; we questioned the ownership of knowledge.” “When we were an alternate publishing house, we were struggling to be in the mainstream, and now, we are struggling to be on the alternate,” said Ms Butalia at the end of the lecture. She also mentioned about women’s struggle in the present scenario and their right to protest and resist. Addressing the question of language, she said, “it is important to translate regional literature in English, but it is equally important to translate the literature in English into regional languages”. Professor Simi Malhotra chaired the question-answer session, where students largely put up their questions to Ms Butalia. In the end, the vote of thanks was presented by Dr Suraiya Tabassum on behalf of the Centre.

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