“The biggest struggle I had, was with myself,” said Ria Sharma, founder of ‘Make Love Not Scars’ and the first Indian to receive the UNICEF Global Awards in 2017.
In conversation at a panel discussion during the TATA Lit Fest, titled, ‘Paving the Way’, she discussed primarily the importance of educating girls to live in society.
Along with her were Kaveree Bamzai, the author of ‘No Regrets’ and Kalpana Sharma, journalist and author of the recent, very well received compilation of essays, ‘Single By Choice’.
So, how did Kalpana deal with singlehood a singlehood and its subsequent social pressures, asked moderator Sunita Wazir, global wellbeing manager at HUL. Being raised by a single parent who made her more open to the concept, helped, answered Kalpana. She was raised by her father and thus didn’t have to follow stereotypical gender biases while growing up. “Girls can fight against gender dominance. But it’s sheer luck when you get to have a choice to aspire to,” Sharma added.
The biggest choice that Kaveree Bamzai says she ever made, was “embracing the mess”. The previous generation and the way they were, made her decide that she wanted to build a career of her own. According to Bamzai, her mother always pushed her to be different and her father was the first feminist in her life. She pointed out that having no regrets and embracing the mess that comes with it means, “laying the burden of being perfect to rest.”
Towards the end of the discussion, Ria Sharma spoke about her journey from fashion to social activism. She said that she was pushed into her choices and that her prime objective was to show people that she was doing good. A documentary creation and production at a Bangalore hospital, where she witnessed harsh realities, changed her life. This, she says, inspired and encouraged her to do something about social problems, and make a difference.
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