Accidental revolutionaries

Oct 30, 2018, 08:21 IST | Suman Mahfuz Quazi

A new podcast looks into the lives of four women crossing the 'not out after sunset' curfew one step at a time

Accidental revolutionaries
(From left) Ranjana, and Suvarna Kharat

Itni raat ko akeli ladki kya kar rahi thi bahar? That's not a question. It is a justification for all the "bad things" that happen to women, and a rhetoric steeped in patriarchy.

The Night Shift, a recently released podcast on The Swaddle, a culture website, traverses through the lives of four women whose work begins post sunset - a constable in the ladies compartment, a bouncer at a night club, a radio cab driver, and a bar dancer.

The podcast has been created by Kunal Purohit, a journalist who has written extensively on gender issues, ranging from bar dancers to women who were widowed in the wake of the farmers' suicides in Maharashtra. "I wanted to start a podcast because it is a medium I enjoy. Most mainstream publications however, don't opt for this form of storytelling. The idea was to feature women who weren't just breaking one stereotype, but many. So, Nisha, the cab driver, does not only drive around the city at night, she also helps defy claims like 'women can't drive,'" he explains, talking about the project which took three months to complete.

Kunal Purohit
Kunal Purohit

In one of the interviews, Purohit shares how Suvarna, the constable has always lived for her children and husband. But now, she wants to live for herself. "If I don't do it now, my entire life will be like a zero," Suvarna told Purohit. "She told me this while her husband was present, and that takes courage," Purohit says, adding, "Another time, Ranjana, the bouncer, told me she tells her husband that she earns more, so he shouldn't talk to her in a rude manner. The fact that these women were comfortable enough to confide in me meant a lot," he shares.

And what does it feel like to be a man looking into the lives of four women who are socially on the other side of the spectrum? "It has been humbling and enriching. My mother's battles against patriarchy sensitised me to how countless women wage monumental battles every single day. These are acts of everyday feminism," he says. Perhaps, Purohit's biggest achievement lies not only in putting together a stellar project on narrative journalism, but in bringing to light the struggles of women who are waging battles against male dominance and supremacy without even knowing it. In effect, Purohit's work is a salutation to this country's accidental revolutionaries.

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