We have been featuring the best writers from our writers’ community for their committed contribution to FII, making it what it is today. FII would not exist if not for the passionate and loyal feminist writers’ community that we have steadily been building over the last three years. This January, we feature Pratyusha Pramanik.
A Research Scholar and Teaching Assistant in IIT(BHU) Varanasi, she is interested in Post Colonial Resistance and Protest Movements, Gender and Film Studies. Pratyusha’s crisp socio-political commentary and critique, in addition to her pieces on pop culture made for interesting reads. When not gender sensitising her students, Pratyusha is busy planning her next solo trip. Some of her popular articles are TikTok As A Political Weapon In India’s Hypermasculine, Rape As A Political Weapon, Mamata Banerjee: The Latest Among Women Politicians To Be Silenced and many others.
FII: Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Pratyusha Pramanik: I am pursuing my PhD degree from IIT (BHU) Varanasi from the Department of Humanistic Studies. Born and brought up in Kolkata, I have completed my graduation from Bethune College, which also happens to be the first women’s college in Asia. I shifted to Varanasi for pursuing my post graduation in English from BHU.
FII: How did you become a part of the FII writer family?
Pratyusha Pramanik: Writing comes to me as a panacea. The only way I can cope with any personal or community crisis is through writing. My journey as a writer is not unique: from journals in school to social media posts in college and university. I started my journey with FII, as a reader during the lockdown; gradually, I found it to be a secure platform to voice my opinions with sincerity and boldness. What started as an extension of my academic life soon pushed me to learn different aspects of feminism and unlearn stereotypes and toxic traits.
FII: How and when did you become a feminist? Which issues within feminism are close to your heart?
Pratyusha Pramanik: Being the only child of my parents, I had to unlearn my privileged upbringing to understand the gender-based discrimination prevalent in society. My mother, a very strong woman herself, has always encouraged me to pursue higher education and become a financially independent woman. I started to identify myself as a feminist only during my PhD coursework when I got involved in a project on the Pinjra Tod movement in BHU. Violence against women, women’s protest movements and representation of women in popular culture are issues which remain close to my heart.
FII: What is your favourite piece on this site that you have written, and your favourite piece on this site that you have read? Why did they strike you?
Pratyusha Pramanik: I believe I am still a work in progress, and I am yet to write my favourite piece for the website. But my article after the rape of the Hathras teen titled Rape As A Political Weapon is close to my heart. Only through writing that article could I overcome the appalling feeling that creeps into your heart, after every such incident. I particularly enjoy the feminist reviews of movies and books, which always push the readers to consume any cultural product with a pinch of salt. If I have to choose a favourite, Netflix’s Bulbbul Review — A Feminist Fantasy Or A Feminist Failure? had struck a chord in my mind.
FII: What do you like to do when not writing about gender and social justice?
Pratyusha Pramanik: I am fond of travelling. Although travelling comes to me through my parents who have taken me around the world, it is when I left home for my higher studies, that I realised how much I enjoy solo travelling. I have spent some of the best moments of my life walking in strange cities, smiling at strangers and befriending some. It is also during many of the solo adventures that it dawned upon me, that I cannot be happy with just a room of my own; I would perhaps like to own a cafe or a sunflower field someday.
FII: What do you like about FII and our work? What more would you like to see from us?
Pratyusha Pramanik: FII as a platform reaches out to a larger audience, from different walks of life. Feminism and gender issues can no longer be restricted to the ivory towers of a privileged few. I like how this platform is being developed to educate the readers and empower them (especially the job and opportunity board is an incredibly thoughtful idea). In today’s times, it is extremely important for women to be financially independent, that solves, a lot of their problems, if not all. I would definitely like to see the platform being made available in regional languages and reach out to more audience.
FII thanks Pratyusha for her timely and valuable contributions. We are incredibly grateful to have her as a part of our writers’ community and appreciate her for her deeply informative writing. You can follow her on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.