What does it mean to be single in a country like India that is obsessed with marriage? For most women, heterosexual marriage and motherhood are seen as universal and inevitable choices.
Yet, India’s 2011 census reported that over 25 million women in India have remained single all through their life. And with divorce seen as an increasingly viable alternative to end abusive or incompatible heterosexual marriages, the institution is certainly waning in popularity with the category of people that have benefited least from it – women.
In tonight’s kitchen-table style conversation, we will be discussing a new book edited by Kalpana Sharma, Single By Choice: Happily Unmarried Women an inter-generational chronicle of women who either chose or arrived at singledom during the course of their lives and realized how it was a great choice to make in a marriage-obsessed society. Also joining the discussion is Paromita Vohra, noted feminist filmmaker, and founder of Agents of Ishq, one of India’s best known sites about love, sex, desire and sex education with a desi/Indian pop-culture vibe.
About the show guests:
Kalpana Sharma is an independent journalist, columnist and author based in Mumbai. In almost five decades as a journalist specializing in developmental, environmental and gender issues, she has worked with Himmat Weekly, Indian Express, Times of India and The Hindu. She was Consulting Editor with Economic & Political Weekly and Readers’ Editor with Scroll.in. Her column on gender, “The Other Half” ran for 30 years first in Indian Express and then The Hindu. Currently, she writes a media column in Newslaundry.com and a gender column in Mathrubhumi.
Kalpana’s latest book is “The Silence and the Storm: Narratives of violence against women in India” (2019). She is also the author of “Rediscovering Dharavi: Stories from Asia’s Largest Slum” (2000). In addition, she has edited “Single by Choice, Happily Unmarried Women” (2019) and “Missing: Half the Story, Journalism as if Gender Matters” (2010), and co-edited “Whose News? The Media and Women’s Issues” (1994/2006), and “Terror Counter-Terror: Women Speak Out” (2003). Follow Kalpana on Twitter @kalpana1947
Paromita Vohra is one of India’s foremost feminist filmmakers. Her work has been broadcast in several countries, exhibited at the Tate Modern and Wellcome Art Gallery among other spaces, and is taught in universities around the world. In 2012, Time Out listed her as one of 10 people to change how Indians watch films.
She is also the founder and creative director of Agents of Ishq, India’s best loved site about sex, love and desire and sex-education with desi roots and a pop-culture vibe. Her documentaries include the landmark Unlimited Girls: A Fearless Tale of Feminims, Q2P, Morality TV and the Loving Jehad:A Thrilling Tale, Partners in Crime and Where’s Sandra? among others. She has directed commercials, children’s videos, music videos including the cutting-edge Consent Lavani The Amorous Adventures of Shakku and Megha in the Valley of Consent, and the prime time TV series Connected Hum Tum.
She is the writer of the feature Khamosh Pani/Silent Waters, the documentaries A Few Things I Know About Her, If You Pause: In a Museum of Craft, The Stuntmen of Bollywood and Skin Deep, the play Ishqiya Dharavi Ishtyle and the comic Priya’s Mirror.
Follow Paromita on Twitter @parodevi