Every day I try to remind myself that too many women in this world live without voice, without words, and without the ability to make themselves heard. Is anything more basic than the desire to be understood? Perhaps I have taken too much for granted my right to walk free and express myself. There is a soon-to-be-yellowing newspaper clipping in my blog post idea folder. Of late I have been incredibly caught up in myself, my book launch, the omnipresent me, me, me. But, finally, a voice with far better sense of priorities spoke into my ear today.
According to Los Angeles Times writer Mark Magnier, “The Khabar Lehariya, or News Waves, is India’s first newspaper written by tribal women or those from the Dalit, or so-called untouchable caste.”Magnier writes that many of these women were beaten, sexually abused as children, and married off young. Some of them fought to get out of abusive marriages. The story outlines the incredible journeys all these women have taken to be part of writing, producing, and delivering the paper.
Indianexpress.com relates that “[r]ural newspapers are creating a silent revolution in Uttar Pradesh. Recently, Khabar Lehariya, brought out by the low-caste rural women of Bundelkhand, was selected for the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize for the year 2009. With this, over a dozen newsletters across UP have also come into focus.”
Reading about women, who faced many hardships to produce their paper, and then walked through harsh conditions to deliver it, I am reminded once again: there but for the grace of luck and happenstance go I.
Today is a good day to remember how many women have been silenced, and to thank the magnificently strong women all over the world who fight to make their voices heard. Their struggle should be ours. How do we make it so?
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