By rahnuma ahmed
As the idea gradually took hold, I thought, horror of horrors, what on earth will I tell Zaman (deputy editor, New Age)?
`Reflections on Women Development Policy and IOJ hartal’ had expanded. Initially, I’d thought of writing two parts but ended up writing five. Before that, my Weather series had kept unfolding week after week. It took more than two months to complete, and had, in all, 9 parts!
Given my infamous track record, it is no wonder that Zaman repeatedly asks me whenever I begin a series, as opposed to my one-off pieces, `Are you sure you’ll be able to finish it in so-many parts? Are you absolutely sure that the next one will be the last one?’
But to return to the Women Development Policy series, beside my embarassment over what to tell Zaman, there were practicalities involved as well. What could I call this new one? A sequel to the Conclusion? A post-Conclusion? Ohhh!
As I began devising excuses, I thought, why not blame it on my reader-friends. After all, one of them had sms-ed me, shesh hoeo jeno shesh holo na lekhata, it seemed not to end even after ending. Another had said on g-chat: I think you should write a post-script. If not right now, then later. The last section of your concluding part left me in a state of suspense. Post-script, hmm.
As I toyed with the idea, I thought of all the things that had gotten left out of the 5-part series because of space and time constraints. I also thought of a male friend’s playful banter about the name of the platform, `ShomoOdhikar Amader Nunotomo Daabi’ (SAND). `Hey, if equal rights is the minimum, what’s the max? Us guys are undoubtedly very supportive, goes without saying, but we need to know don’t we? For God’s sake, there are male interests at stake.’ To which the best answer I felt was to yell that his wife, who’d wandered away in search of something, come over and join us.
Laughter all around forced me to give up the idea of trying to explain that the ShomoOdhikar movement was not only about rights. Not merely about achieving equality with men. At least, that’s the way I see it. That men are not the standard, the norm, which frame women’s aspirations and struggles. That inequality is not only gendered, but is also class-ed, is ethnic (aspects of which are racialised). That it is built along communitarian lines. That these interweave in complex ways. No neat fits. No easy solutions. Given our long histories of deeply-founded, well-entrenched and overlapping systems of exploitation and social injustice, a mere overhauling will not do.
Continue reading “A post-script”