We featured top writers from our writing community for their committed contributions to FII, making it what it is today. The FII would not exist without the passionate and loyal community of feminist writers that we have steadily built over the past three years. In April, we present Ipshita Mitra.
A journalist with over 10 years of experience, Ipshita has also written about books, culture, the environment and gender for TerraGreen, The Hindu, Scroll.in, The Wire, Wasafiri, Firstpost, Huffington Post, India Currents, and others. In 2016, his short story “Cacophony of Silence” was published by Nikkei Voice, a Canadian-Japanese newspaper. In 2020, her short story “Bohemian Sailor of the Gulf” was published by Sublunary Editions, an independent publisher based in Seattle. The Indian Quarterly (April-June 2021) published his short fiction, “Kabuliwala Returns”. Some of his popular articles include How sexual violence is interpreted through the hetero-masculinist lens of the state, Megha Rao’s ‘teething’ is a kaleidoscope of smells, sights and silences, Does a woman’s opinion matter? First, let’s see if she even allowed one, among others.
FII: Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
Ipshita Mitra: My name is Ipshita Mitra and I am pursuing PhD in Gender and Development Studies at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi. I did my BA in English Literature from Miranda House, University of Delhi and later got a PG degree in English Journalism from IIMC. I have worked with The Times of India, The Asian Age, The Quint, Om Books International and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). Recently, my first collection of 21 verses titled Smudged Ink and Other Poems was published by BookLeaf Publishing.
FII: How did you become a member of the FII family of writers?
Ipshita Mitra: I have been an avid reader of FII articles since 2019. As a student of gender studies, I can say with conviction that a researcher’s daily reading regime must include a mandatory stopover at the FII. All the stories are well-researched, compelling and well-argued. It was a normal day when I noticed a “call for pitches” on FII’s social media platform, that’s when I found the courage to send a pitch to the editorial team. What followed was an immensely rewarding exercise in not only working on a piece, but also nurturing it. By chance I became a member of the FII and I couldn’t be happier!
FII: How and when did you become a feminist? What feminist issues are close to your heart?
Ipshita Mitra: I don’t know if it was a conscious decision to become a feminist; it happened organically. My university years at Miranda House certainly have something to do with my understanding of feminism. Now, as an academic researcher, I explore countless streams of feminism. For me, feminism is not just a concept or a movement, but a way of life. I am learning, studying and still researching, and what I have realized is that we need feminism today more than ever. Moreover, the general tendency to view feminism as strictly for men and women is myopic. New perspectives on gender sustainability are emerging that challenge the philosophy of anthropocentrism. I hope one day to work on ecofeminism.
FII: What is your favorite piece on this site that you have written, and what is your favorite piece on this site that you have read? Why did they hit you?
Ipshita Mitra: How to choose between several favorites! I think I absolutely loved working on my first piece, which eventually came out as a four-part series highlighting the works of some leading feminists – bell hooks, Sara Ruddick, Catherine A. MacKinnon , Sandra Harding, Judith Butler, etc. – vis-à-vis contemporary gender debates in India. The article: “How Sexual Violence is Interpreted Through the Hetero-Masculinist Lens of the State” is close to my heart. Personally, I love FII’s #IndianWomenInHistory segment because it resurrects some of the most compelling accounts and stories (read her stories) of women who have been either shunned or conveniently pushed into oblivion. For example, the story of Ramabai Ambedkar moved me. How easily we erase the stories and voices of these inspiring women who worked tirelessly and remained in the shadow of their male counterparts for centuries. Another story that I liked because of its depth of research and uniqueness was “What happened to the female performers of Jatra”.
FII: What do you like to do when you’re not writing about gender and social justice?
Ipshita Mitra: I love listening to ghazals and poetry podcasts. Reading books is my definition of therapy. I also like to doodle sometimes, and lately I’ve been obsessed with playing Wordle. Once I’m done with the Wordle of the Day, life seems empty for a while! Then of course, a steaming cup of chai wakes me up and pushes me to brave the day.
FII: What do you like about FII and our work? What more would you like to see from us?
Ipshita Mitra: I learn the art of combining humility and professionalism from each member of the FII. My editor, Soumya Mathew, is not only encouraging, but extremely insightful and meticulous in her comments and suggestions. Her contributions help me improve because as a writer, we tend to digress, and with a writer like her, things become clearer and simpler. I would definitely like FII to present short term certificate courses on gender sustainability and feminist consciousness with a team of subject matter experts, academics, activists, celebrities engaging in dialogues and meaningful debates on contemporary issues.
FII thanks Ipshita for their timely and valuable contributions. We are extremely grateful to have him in our community of writers and appreciate him for his deeply informative writings. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.