TBASS

Labli was woken up by the dawn chorus. It was hard not to smile at the chirping of the sweet birds. She grabbed her long scarf from the foot of the bed and threw it over her head. Brushing back a loose strand of black hair from her forehead, she opened the door quietly so as not to disturb her younger brother, Joynal. He still had a few hours of sleep before waking up to go to school.The door squeaked as she pulled it shut behind her.

Labli looked down at her red shalwar kameez and tried to brush out the creases. It didn’t look as rumpled as it had before. Anyway, it would have to do; her only other set was still drying in the kitchen after yesterday’s thunderstorm.

As she felt her way along the cold, dark hallway, she noticed her parents’ bedroom door was ajar. Her mother was stirring on the bed; her father’s place was empty. Labli unlocked the front door and made her way to the tube well at the bottom of the veranda steps. The air was crisp and cool. Doel birds flapped overhead and one landed in one of the betel palm trees, lifting its white tail as it whistled. The Adhan, the call to prayer, blared out over the masjid’s loudspeakers. She filled up a plastic jug with water and made ablution. After praying the four units of the dawn prayer, she collected firewood from around the courtyard and milked the cow. She had just lit the fire when her mother walked into the kitchen.

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Like racism, sexism is also one of the most disturbing issues which is largely present in the society. Discrimination based on gender has crept into all forms of life, including literature. While this has changed to a large extent, with more women writers coming up, Urvashi Butalia, co-founder of Kali for Women, India’s first feminist publishing house, feels that it has not always been the case and women have had to face a huge battle from within to gain recognition in the field of literature.

Bias towards male writers – underlined in 2013 study – fuels drive to switch attention to female authors: The Guardian

From a small American literary journal’s vow to dedicate a year’s coverage to women writers and writers of colour to author and artist Joanna Walsh’s burgeoning  #readwomen2014 project, readers – and publishers – around the world are starting to take their own small steps to address male writers’ dominance in the literary universe.