eSheSep 29, 2023
Rita Meher on the story of Tasveer, the only Oscar-qualifying South Asian film festival in the world
Rita Meher cofounded Tasveer South Asian Film Festival (TSAFF) in 2002 to serve as a platform for films from South Asia for audiences in the US. Today, Tasveer has the distinction of being the only Oscar-qualifying South Asian film festival in the world, and receives hundreds of applications each year. This October, the 18th edition of TSAFF is all set to take place in-person from October 12 to 15 at multiple venues in Seattle, USA, while the online event will be available to viewers around the world on TasveerTV from October 16 to 22. This year's line-up features diverse genres and captivating themes. The selection includes 23 features, 60 shorts, 20 documentaries, and 63 narratives among others. "I like to call it a buffet!" says Rita Meher in this interview with eShe TV's Aekta Kapoor. Rita also shares how her cinematic journey began with an incident of racial hate following the 9/11 attacks in the US, and what it took for her to stick to her mission for over 21 years. Visit tasveer.org for more details and the complete schedule. Follow us for more conversations with inspiring women. Visit eshe.in
What freedom means to Indian women | Independence Day Special #WomenSupportingWomen
As India celebrates 76 years of Independence, eShe TV puts the spotlight on what freedom means to Indian women.
Are Indian girls free to make informed choices for their lives – about work, marriage, finances, or even something as simple as what to wear? Do Indian women have freedom of movement and equal access to opportunities or even public spaces?
eShe editor Aekta Kapoor speaks to three panelists, all of whom run independent platforms to support women:
Sangeeta Duggal Relan is an associate professor at Delhi University who has taught for over 30 years. She is the founder of AboutHer, an e-magazine about women, their relationships, and their life challenges. She also runs a podcast about women trailblazers.
Dr Manisha Bose is a lecturer at Assumption University in Thailand. She is founder of We Women Network in Bangkok and chapter head of #WomenPower, a global movement.
Shweta Saxena is a Pune-based eco-entrepreneur, television personality, and the founder of Woman TV & Pune TV by Shweta Saxena, a digital channel for women across the globe. She is a branding psychologist, TEDx speaker and digital ad filmmaker.
Follow us for more conversations with amazing women, or visit eShe.in
Bankruptcy to Oscar fame: the remarkable story of VFX filmmaker Saraswathi Balgam
From a poverty-stricken childhood in Mumbai to the Academy Awards red carpet in LA, Saraswathi Balgam's rags-to-riches tale is dotted with grief, gumption and meditation. This podcast is narrated by Maya Lalchandani, who wrote the original article in eShe.
4 Indian novelists on female protagonists and young-adult literature
Does the younger generation look up to strong female protagonists in books? Will boys pick up books that feature girls in the lead? Who decides one kind of literature is for women and another for men? eShe editor Aekta Kapoor invites four novelists to share their views on these subjects and more. Speakers: Dr Arva Bhavnagarwala, Mumbai-based paediatrician, fiction writer, mother to two boys, author of ‘A Little Bit of Love’ (2023) Dr Preetha Vasan, associate professor of English literature at a premier women’s college in Bengaluru, award-winning poet and writer; author of mythological fantasy novella for young adults ‘The Chronicles of the Crimson One’ (2022) Salini Vineeth, Bengaluru-based fiction and freelance writer, author of five books, the latest being ‘Lost Edges’ (2023) Dr Shalini Mullick, Delhi-based pathologist, award-winning writer, and author of ‘Stars from the Borderless Sea’ (2022) Follow us for more conversations with amazing women. Link to buy eShe's collection of short stories 'Everything Changed After That: 25 Women, 25 Stories' - my.eshe.in/book
Animal welfare in India: Challenges and solutions | Alokparna Sengupta | Keren Nazarath
Despite India's history of compassion towards all living creatures, the human-animal conflict is getting worse with more urban development and human activity in areas otherwise occupied by wildlife. eShe editor Aekta Kapoor speaks to two representatives from Humane Society International (HSI) India, managing director Alokparna Sengupta and senior director Keren Nazarath, on the subject.
HSI is an NGO present in 50 countries, working to promote the human-animal bond, improve farm animal welfare, protect wildlife, and promote animal-free testing and research.
Author Roopa Pai on simplifying ancient spiritual texts for today's children
Roopa Pai, the Bengaluru-based author of the award-winning book 'The Gita for Children', which is on Amazon's list of ‘100 Indian books to read in a lifetime’, talks about her unlikely journey from computer engineering to writing for kids, and her latest book 'Yoga Sutras for Children'.
Producer Shailja Kejriwal on gender representation in Indian television serials and films
Shailja Kejriwal is chief creative officer, special projects, at Indian media and entertainment giant ZEE group. She pioneered path-breaking content that united India and Pakistan on a single platform for the first time in over 60 years through the television channel Zindagi and the production project of 12 films, Zeal for Unity. She has produced nationally acclaimed films and conceptualised Zee Theatre, which has presented over 80 thought-provoking teleplays since 2015. A storyteller at heart, she launched India’s first-ever television movies with Star Bestsellers, and is one of the rare few who brings together creativity, commerce, and cause.
Here she speaks to eShe editor Aekta Kapoor about gender representation in Indian television serials and cinema.
Actor-author Saloni Chopra on gender representation in Indian cinema
Saloni Chopra is an actor, writer, and a filmmaker based out of Australia and India. She played the lead role in 'Girls on Top', a joint production by BBC and MTV India. She also featured in 'Maya', a short film which was part of the Official Cannes Selection 2013. Saloni is the author of the memoir 'Rescued by a Feminist', and a vocal advocate for women’s rights and personal agency. Her first film as a director, writer, producer and protagonist is 'Coconut', an Australian feature film made with a diverse cast and crew.
Here, she speaks to eShe editor Aekta Kapoor about gender representation in South Asian cinema.
Muktasree Chakma Sathi on representation of indigenous people in Bangladeshi films
Muktasree Chakma is an award-winning journalist, feminist, rights activist and researcher. With a background in law, Muktasree founded Supporting People and Rebuilding Communities - SPaRC, an indigenous women-led organisation based in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. She is a core group member of Sangat, A Feminist Network; a bureau member of South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR); a general board member of Action Aid Bangladesh; and a member of the Civil Society Advisory Group of UN Women Bangladesh. She was Bangladesh’s first indigenous woman to win the UNICEF Meena Media Award, and the first indigenous woman to be selected as Senior Indigenous Fellow and a fellow of the UN OHCHR Fellowship Programme, Acumen Fellowship Bangladesh Programme and Swedish Institute, Sweden.
Here she speaks to eShe editor Aekta Kapoor about the representation of indigenous people in Bangladeshi cinema.
Aisha Gazdar on gender representation in Pakistani TV serials
Aisha Gazdar is a filmmaker and founder of Films d’Art, an independent film production company based in Karachi. Her award-winning films include 'The Honour Deception', a short documentary on honour killings and the complications arising out of the Qisas and Diyat Law (Law of Retribution). Aisha Gazdar’s 'Silent Voices: Women Home-based Workers' in Pakistan won the best documentary award at the Canadian Labour International Film Festival in 2010. Other films include 'The Last Day: A True Story of a Hibakusha', which won Special Jury Mention at Kara Film Festival. Her work concerns human rights and social issues, especially women’s rights.
Here she speaks to eShe editor Aekta Kapoor about gender representation in Pakistani television serials.
Anna MM Vetticad on gender representation in Indian cinema
Anna M.M. Vetticad is an award-winning Indian journalist, feminist and cultural commentator. She is the author of the book 'The Adventures of an Intrepid Film Critic', an overview of the contemporary Hindi film industry. Anna is known for her political critiques of Indian cinema and the country's many film industries. As an independent journalist now, she writes for various Indian and international publications. She is an advocate for women's empowerment and the representation of marginalised communities in popular entertainment. Anna is a recipient of the prestigious Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award.
Here, she speaks to eShe editor Aekta Kapoor about gender representation in Indian cinema.
9 ways we made our Taj Mahal tour less chaotic and more Insta-worthy
It was a once-in-a-lifetime visit to the Taj Mahal in India for US-based Nidhi Kirpal Jayadevan and her family, and it all went off smoothly! She shares 9 tips from the trip. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2023/04/22/taj-mahal-agra-family-holiday-tips/
I was afraid of going to the Aurat March. This year, my teen daughters went with me
Lahore teacher Sara Arshad had never attended the Aurat March, fearing the intense backlash that the feminist protest receives every year. But this Women’s Day, she participated with her teens in tow. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2023/03/30/sara-arshad-lahore-aurat-march/
Sustainability consultant turned podcaster Dr Shailja Chandra is bridging India and Australia through her work
Sydney-based Dr Shailja Chandra has made her name as a radio broadcaster on one hand and a sustainability consultant on the other. She has now donned the hat of author with her new book on Gulzar. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2023/03/24/author-sustainability-consultant-podcaster-shailja-chandra/
How books teach kids life skills, and why rewriting Roald Dahl won’t change mindsets: Dalbir Kaur Madan
Dalbir Kaur Madan, founder of One Up Library, uses children’s books to teach kids critical thinking and problem-solving skills. She tells eShe TV why rewriting Roald Dahl children’s books is a self-defeating exercise. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2023/03/21/dalbir-kaur-madan-one-up-library/
“Those furthest from the consequences are making the worst decisions” – Dr Scilla Elworthy on white men monopolising global capital
Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr Scilla Elworthy says a majority of the world's wealth is controlled by white males and it is women, the poor and the planet that have to bear the cost. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2023/03/11/dr-scilla-elworthy-on-white-men-monopolising-global-capital/
“Whenever they have allies and a strong support system, women flourish” – Aarti Kelshikar
In her new book, corporate coach Aarti Kelshikar uses her pan-Asian experience along with interviews of women leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals to paint an insightful picture of “how women work” in Asia. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2023/03/08/whenever-they-have-allies-and-a-strong-support-system-women-flourish/
Two sisters, a passion for Indian weaves, and a social-media success story
Young, peppy and fuss-free, and yet rooted in India's textile heritage, fashion label Suta's success is driven by digital marketing and a design strategy built on the aspirations and lifestyles of the youth. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2023/03/04/sujata-and-taniya-biswas-suta-fashion-label/
Seattle banned caste discrimination – I was in the room when it happened
Activist Shailaja Rao shares an eyewitness account of the happenings at the Seattle City Council as the historic anti-caste discrimination law was passed, now a template for other cities in the United States. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2023/02/25/seattle-banned-caste-discrimination-i-was-in-the-room-when-it-happened/
From acting to organic farming and Ayurveda: Aditi Deshmukh’s many lives
Former actor Aditi Deshmukh's career took a turn to organic farming and rural development a decade ago. She's going a step further with her new Ayurveda-based beauty enterprise. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2023/02/01/aditi-deshmukh/
Interfaith research scholar Urmi Chanda on why religion has become a loaded word
What is the difference in religion and faith? How do we create more interfaith harmony and reduce communal hatred? Interfaith research scholar and culturalist Urmi Chanda discusses these questions and more on eShe TV. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2023/01/24/eshe-tv-interfaith-research-scholar-urmi-chanda-on-why-religion-has-become-a-loaded-word/
World peace to inner peace – 47 poets from 8 countries come together in a new anthology ‘Amity’
A new book of poems titled 'Amity', edited by Gurgaon peace activist and journalist Sahana Ahmed, brings up various aspects of peace - at home, in society and in the world. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2023/01/17/book-review-amity-peace-poems-edited-by-sahana-ahmed/
Veil of freedom: Why my mother chose to wear the hijab, and I chose not to
Whether the hijab is a symbol of oppression or a motif for democratic rights depends on the context. Filmmaker Ambarien Alqadar shares the contrasting choices she and her mother made in the quest for self-expression. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2023/01/10/the-hijab-veiling-unveiling-ambarien-alqadar/
A good year for Aries to adopt a pet, a time of brilliant success for Cancer – Tarot predictions for 2023
What do the cards foretell for you in 2023? Mumbai-based tarot card reader Karishma Makhija has a look. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2023/01/05/tarot-cards-horoscope-2023-by-karishma-makhija/
She is helping women in Dehradun knit their way to a better future
Rachna Dushyant Singh’s nonprofit Ankuri empowers women with knitting skills and retail distribution networks, leading to both financial and social emancipation. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/12/13/rachna-dushyant-singh-nonprofit-ankuri-uttarakhand/
“It is high time we dissolve the myth that poetry is elitist” – UK teen poetry sensation Iona Mandal
At 16, UK-based multilingual poet Iona Mandal has already won several prestigious literary awards, and has long been a member of Mensa High IQ society. What are a genius's influences and inspirations? We find out. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/12/20/it-is-high-time-we-dissolve-the-myth-that-poetry-is-elitist-uk-teen-poetry-sensation-iona-mandal/
She set out to make Bharatnatyam classes inclusive; then a 58-year-old with Parkinson’s signed up
Bharatnatyam teacher Shiphony Pavithran was approached by a 58-year-old former schoolteacher with Parkinson’s disease to learn dance. Both ended up learning a lot more in the process. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/12/08/shiphony-pavithran-bharatnatyam-shuchi-bhasin-parkinsons-disease/
This ‘quantum coach’ transformed her life from ordinary to extraordinary; she now helps others do the same
Author and life coach Soleira Green counsels people on developing their own limitless potential and transforming themselves into anything they want to be. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/12/06/quantum-coach-soleira-green/
How two Bengaluru athletes created a sisterhood in sport reaching over 3,000 women
Founded by elite fitness coach Swetha Subbiah and ace footballer Tanvie Hans, Sisters in Sweat has made sport accessible and fun for thousands of women in India. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/11/29/sisters-in-sweat-swetha-subbiah-tanvie-hans/
Babasaheb and Savita Ambedkar: A portrait of an uncommon marriage
Dr Savita Ambedkar's autobiography 'Babasaheb' is written as an ode to the Father of the Indian Constitution. But his wife the writer manages to hold her own space – in their marriage, their public life, and in the intimate events that dot this book. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/11/23/babasaheb-and-savita-ambedkar-a-portrait-of-an-uncommon-marriage/
Children’s Day special: 14 terrific new books for kids of all ages
As India celebrates Children's Day on November 14, we bring to you 14 new children's books about India and the world that kids of all ages will love. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/11/14/childrens-day-special-14-terrific-new-books-for-kids-of-all-ages/
50 years on, the exodus of South Asians from Uganda finds retelling in three debut novels
This year marks 50 years since Ugandan dictator Idi Amin expelled South Asians from his country. We put the spotlight on three recent novels by women writers that dwell on this event in world history. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/10/28/50-years-uganda-exodus-south-asians-three-debut-novels/
60 journalists from India and Pakistan met at a weeklong workshop in Nepal – I was one of them
Lubna Jerar Naqvi shares her enlightening experience of being among 60 journalists from India and Pakistan at a unique Kathmandu workshop on cross-border reporting. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/09/22/journalists-from-india-and-pakistan-at-workshop-in-nepal-lubna-jerar-naqvi/
Trauma stole her ability to sing. Her voice now heals people through a wisdom podcast and guided meditations
The trauma of losing her brother to suicide robbed Carol Chapman of her singing voice. She now runs a wisdom podcast, using her voice to inspire people to live with heart. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/10/14/carol-chapman-wisdom-podcast-guided-meditation/
Mountaineer-author Bonita Norris on brushes with death and living on the edge
British-born media student Bonita Norris took up mountaineering by chance, but the hills captivated her heart. With three 8000m peaks behind her, she now motivates others to push their boundaries. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/09/12/mountaineer-author-bonita-norris/
One-Eyed Mama undergoes eye surgery and realises she has a ‘vision’ problem
One-Eyed Mama aka Aekta Kapoor heads to London for a high-risk eye surgery, and learns to process a question that had bothered her for a long time. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/09/07/one-eyed-mama-goes-to-london-for-eye-surgery/
Love outside marriage and women in pursuit of happiness – this doctor’s debut adds a twist to romance novels
The debut novel of respiratory pathologist and fiction writer Dr Shalini Mullick dwells on the theme of extramarital love, an intrepid subject for the Indian romance genre. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/09/05/love-outside-marriage-and-women-in-pursuit-of-happiness-this-doctors-debut-adds-a-twist-to-romance-novels/
A ‘voice’ in her head led Lynnda Pollio to write an award-winning book – and changed her life
The voice of a Black, southern woman in her head drove New Yorker Lynnda Pollio to the red rocky mountains of Sedona and a quest for inspiration, wisdom and understanding. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/08/19/lynnda-pollio-trusting-the-currents/
“There’s much to say about the American presence in Afghanistan… the US embassy there was essentially Ameristan”
Former journalist Rashmee Roshan Lall's novel 'The Pomegranate Peace' uncovers the absurdities of America's 'aid and reconstruction' project in Afghanistan. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/08/17/rashmee-roshan-lall-the-pomegranate-peace/
One-Eyed Mama finds life lessons in Morgan Housel’s ‘The Psychology of Money’
One-Eyed Mama aka Aekta Kapoor reads Morgan Housel's bestseller 'The Psychology of Money' and finds life wisdom tucked in between the tips on business and finance. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/08/09/one-eyed-mama-finds-life-lessons-in-morgan-housels-the-psychology-of-money/
This New Jersey mum’s books on Buddhist values are promoting peace education in US schools
US-based mother of two Priya Kumari writes and publishes children's books that impart Indian values and the message of peace and harmony to kids around the world. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/08/04/this-new-jersey-mums-books-on-buddhist-values-are-promoting-peace-education-in-us-schools/
A sleep whisperer shares 4 Vedic habits that will help you sleep deep and long
Sleep whisperer, perfumer and wellbeing consultant Nuthan Manohar describes four techniques that helped her sleep better for longer. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/07/30/sleep-whisperer-nuthan-manohar/
This perfumer’s art brings alive Mughal-era paintings through fragrance translations
Art critic and perfumer Bharti Lalwani's art exhibit Bagh-e-Hind features floral scents to evoke the olfactory landscape of Mughal and Rajput paintings of India. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/07/15/bharti-lalwani-bagh-e-hind-art-and-olfactory-exhibition/
From shame to digital snooping, this new book explores the experience of menstruation in South Asia
Edited by human-rights lawyer Farah Ahamed, the new anthology 'Period Matters' is an in-depth look at how menstruation is perceived and experienced in South Asia. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/07/12/book-review-period-matters-edited-by-farah-ahamed/
“Web content is too focused on copying the West; we’re losing India’s own charm and identity” – Sheena Chohan
Actor and human-rights activist Sheena Chohan shares an insider's view of the film industry during the pandemic and why she thinks streaming cinema has both pros and cons. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/07/01/sheena-chohan-on-shooting-in-the-pandemic-and-the-pros-and-cons-of-web-tv/
How women-led social enterprise reCharkha is giving plastic waste a useful makeover
eShe TV speaks to Amita Deshpande of reCharkha about her efforts in creating useful lifestyle products out of plastic waste, and to eco-activist Ashwini Joshi who is taking reCharkha to European markets. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/06/27/how-women-led-social-enterprise-recharkha-is-giving-plastic-waste-a-useful-makeover/
One-Eyed Mama learns the essence of kumbhaka pranayama while longing for her grown-up babies
One-Eyed Mama aka Aekta Kapoor tries out the breath work of kumbhaka pranayama and learns lessons in stillness, holding on, and letting go. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/06/24/one-eyed-mama-learns-the-essence-of-kumbhaka-pranayama/
A local girl’s guide to 5 fun spots in Jakarta, Indonesia
Whether you’re considering Indonesia for your summer holiday or visiting for work, here’s an insider’s guide to five fun spots you absolutely must visit in capital city Jakarta! This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/06/21/a-local-girls-guide-to-5-fun-spots-in-jakarta-indonesia/
“We face discrimination, violence and solitude, but humans are beautiful regardless”: Kyung-sook Shin
Award-winning South Korean author Kyung-sook Shin on urban loneliness, rejection, beauty, and her new critically acclaimed book ‘Violets’. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/06/23/south-korean-author-kyung-sook-shin-on-her-new-novel-violets/
Can chronic pain change your personality? I would know, I have been there
Gurugram artist and poet Nidhi Agrawal learnt through first-hand trauma how chronic pain can change one's personality, and how to find courage in one's tears. This episode is also available as a blog post: http://eshe.in/2022/06/17/nidhi-agrawal-how-chronic-pain-changes-your-personality/