Fearless by Aruna Chandrasekar
Aruna Chandrashekar's piece talks about the very concept of 'traditional Indian values'. In her words, 'we forget non-patriarchal indigenous cultures that go back to the birth of civilization on this sub-continent. Many adivasi cultures are matrilineal. Women are considered & honored as equal to men; they dress & socialize without the slightest social censure. There is no such thing as dowry, widow remarriage is the norm, rape or even insulting a woman is considered a great crime. Instead of having their social mores recognized & imbibed, they have been branded backward and undeveloped, made victims of sexual violence by government officials & security forces for centuries, stories of which are scarcely reported in the mainstream. It is time that their narrative become part of ours, as we confront cultural stereotypes, & return to a civilization where both nature & women command respect, free from fear & subjugation. The image is of a woman from the Dongria Kondh adivasi community in the Niyamgiri hills of Odisha, who won a historic fight to save their sacred mountain from mining by Vedanta, a UK-based mining company.'