It’s really an honor to see women holding a vital position which we see less in comparison of man especially women from Tharu community. The government has categorized Tharu community as the backward community of the country. On top of that, Tharu women who are doubly marginalized, being a women and also being women from Tharu Community. It feels proud when Tharu women are in highest position and with a dynamic profession like in writing, journalism, literature, social works and governance.
In a role of mediator of the special women session, I got fortunate occasion to hear the women experiences and challenges from writer BalikaTharu, InduTharu and Deputy mayor Krishna Kushma Tharu, invited for the panel discussion on the topic “ Tharu Women in Writing and Women Leadership Development” in Tharu Literature festival 2074 organized by Tharu Writer Association in Bardia. It was indeed inspiring to hear these strong figure of Tharu society. They have been moving with great deeds, courage and the hardship through which they reach to the position.
While moderating the session I asked them, their motivation, “ by how they come in the profession they are in and how easy and difficult it comes to be, being a women as they have a different role to play in the society?, including the role of daughter, wife, mother, daughter in law. How do you manage, do ever the society come in your way as an obstructions?
Sharing her bitter experience, struggle with the society and a mainstream in every step of her life Deputy Mayor Krishna said that she found the majority standing against her stopping and making her realize that she is inferior being in the society. She gives the reason behind her suffering, “Society has been a main reason I suffer”. She had to work hard to reach in her position.When I asked her, “What changes do you see in the society for women then and now since you are in the position?” She describes: There are lots of things to be changed for women; we can still feel the discrimination. I am not satisfied with the pattern of the society. Society and the people are abusive as she had been challenged in every step of her career. She further states that, “it really hard to move ahead being women especially if you challenge the society’s norms and values. I have come through lots of pains till here which I hope the situation will get better for coming generations.”
The society is still different for the women no matter who they are and in what profession they are, they have to struggle in every possible way to reach their destination because the society always favors the discriminatory norms and values. Society keeps on eyes and stand with a question mark for women, whatever she tries to do. Still it feels they are chained and nailed by the rules and regulations of the so called society. Though it has been years the equality of men and women have been advocated and discussed. Women has to cope the challenges in every step of her career. So, to start a trend to change from her position, I asked Deputy Mayor Krishna Kushma’s plan and the responsibility to empower and develop women leadership and create favorable environment for them. She explained: from my side I am doing every possible way to empower the women. So in order to make them self-dependent I am going to bring a project and program like trainings especially for women to enhance their skill and learning so that they can stand up by the skilled they trained. Further she said that, “it is important for women to take a responsibility by themselves keeping aside their traditional roles.”
In the session, moving towards Balika and Indu to discuss the status of Tharu women in writing, started again with their inspiration to be in the profession and the experience being Tharu women in writing, Balika shared her experiences that, she has been curious and strong since her childhood, she has come in this field challenging the male dominated society, which makes her to write her experience and the feelings. In her book Jiwanka Bakra Rekhaharu she has shared her very experiences of being Tharu women and her feelings she went through. At the same time we can see the discriminative society for man and women in her writing.
Balika further said, “It’s good to see the emerging women in writing, though we are small in number in comparison of men.” She expresses her happiness of being in the writing carrier where she can raise her voice through writing. Again for the question, “How does it feel, where is her position being a Tharu women writer in a writing of mainstream?” Always positive and daring, writer Balika replied, “It is though not easy to stand with the writer who are already in mainstream but we are in a battle to get our goal. And for that we have to work hard so, there is not a point that we can’t be successful as male writer. We are writing and we will write back.” Tharu women are doubly marginalized; by tharu male community and the so called mainstream Nepalese society. It is common and of course a trend that women are being judged, and suspected negatively by their bold behaviors, on their clothing and progress instead of being appreciated. Supporting the idea Indu Tharu, expresses her distress that women are discriminated in the field of writing as they are in other field. She said, “It feels like they are judging the writer on the basis of gender and community but they never judge the writing and the issues it carries. The way they judge, comments and criticize seems they do not understand the content but judging the writer herself. It’s because they are women writer.” Further She explained: the writers are not the real character of the writing itself, in fact writer, they represent the victim and the issues through the character they portray are the voice of victim. they write what they see and feel to write about. She further added: the writing of man and women differs, it been a tendency that male writer objectifies women, women parts of body where the reader glorifies and enjoy but we have never seen a man been objectified by women. If it does it could be a problem or not a decent writing. She said, “The conventional way of writing should be changed and it’s us to reply back through our very writing. So we are the one to change the trend of writing.” She insists on writing back to the history.
At the same time, she talks about her effective and courageous writings which come out to be a movement. Writer Indu, further said, “Writing is the best way to fight back, a movement to raise voice against discrimination and injustices. A decent and the effective way to make society aware. It is a best way to advocate the right and equality. Writing is also a way to teach the society and to be a voice of voiceless.” Agreeing with Indu, Balika encourages tharu women to write because it’s the best way to express feelings, she expects and encourages other tharu women to write their story.
Simultaneously asking the questions I put forward the question to them that,“do ever something has made to stop you writing, the subject or factor that society has categories not to talk about being woman and have you felt discouraged of some one’s comments on your writing?” Indu shares her experiences, “its good every writer get feedbacks, comments but in case of women writer, we get more criticism too. But what I feel is, there is no way to stop writing. I have never stopped.” Adding the point Balika said, “With the comments and criticism, we have also been inspired and encouraged by other male writers as well. But if there is a thing to stop writing by the comments we will keep going. The comments will, in fact be a thing to improvise our writing and if it will be a criticism, we will turn blind eyes.
In the second round of the session where the floor was open to question the panel personnel with the feedback and comment on the session, we hear the questions from audience. The appraisal and the appreciation admiring the courage of the women leaders’ like writer Balika, indu and Krishna. Similarly, the question targeted to Krishna Kusma regarding her responsibility being in the position for the welfare of the society and women. Where she replies, with the commitment that she will do her best for her society in every possible way which she has been preparing the program to come up with.
While talking on the very topic “Women in a Writing and Women Leadership Development”, it brought together the women with the dynamic responsibility and session turn out to be reasonable, with fruitful result and lesson to be learnt. The session finally end with the conclusion that “We should be a lead to change the trend, the discriminations in the society that makes women to see inferior and be subordinate to men”. Until and unless we became self-dependent we can’t change the society in our favors and we can’t manage to lead our society.
Expressing our heartfelt gratitude to the organizer bodies and the partners including the participated guests, delegates and audience, we come to conclude our special session. It was literally a worth to organize the special women session, where the issues related women are discussed and be a definite way to come up with the solutions. These kinds of session moreover aware and awake the women coming with the challenges in the society and will create a women leaders, writers with other dynamic vital responsibility.