This week's Feministory subject, Phoolan Devi, had a life that read like an action movie screenplay. In fact, her life BECAME an action movie screenplay. But integral to discussions of Devi and her harrowing story is the search for truth. Who knew the truth about her? Did she tell the truth? Did the books and movie about her tell the truth? Who WASN'T telling the truth? And which truth were her assassins following when they shot her in front of her home in 2001?
Shobhaa Dé came to the Indian publishing scene in the late-1980s like a South Asian Jackie Collins and has been credited with paving the way for a new generation of female Indian writers who represent a subsection of modern India that doesn't receive enough international attention: the über elite. Dé's cheeky, Bollywood-inspired chick lit novels feature storylines set in Mumbai's high society that have captivated the imaginations of the country's newly emerging and rapidly growing middle class—male and female alike—who fantasize about being able to live like their favorite Hindi film stars. Fifteen bestselling books later, Penguin India recently announced a new addition to its roster that will start making its way into bookstores next year: Shobhaa Dé Books.
Trouble, thy name is woman. India is a country in the throes of a sexual revolution, and young women are firmly planted at the center of the controversy.
In some of the world's most populous cities, generational and ideological divides have become starkly visible. Saris, salwaar kameez, and kurtas are being replaced by jeans and t-shirts—or, even more scandalous, mini skirts and tank tops!—and the once-standard British English is being drowned out by the American pop cultural slang in the under thirty crowd who grew up watching Friends and Adam Sandler flicks instead of Absolutely Fabulous. While there's definitely a widespread adherence to conservative social norms, there are an increasing number of young people who push the boundaries of what's acceptable.
Artwork: Pink Chaddi Campaign
Barbie was all over the Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai this year. The doll celebrated its 50th Anniversary by sponsoring the event. At first I thought it was the company's obliviousness to irony that prompted the fashion show sponsorship, but then it all came together when I read this article last week.