Soi Creative Women

আর সইব না...
একটা অদ্ভুত বিষাদ। সারাক্ষণ গায়ে লেগে আছে। কেন ? সে কি আকাশ আজকাল প্রায়ই মেঘলা
সইদের কলমে সইমেলার ভাবনা
সন্ধেরাতে বন্ধুর সঙ্গে সিনেমা দেখতে বেরিয়েছিল এক মেয়ে।নেকড়ের দল ধর্ষণ করে
তাহারা
মাঝেমাঝে একটা স্বপ্ন দেখি আমি। সবুজ মাঠে বাচ্চারা খেলছে,আর ক্লাসরুমে পড়াচ্ছেন
Quo Vadis?
What is happening to our democratic motherland? You can’t eat what you want, you can’t marry whom you want, you can’t say what you want, it will cost you your life if you speak the truth. Freedom ...
উন্মাদিনী কথা
মা, কে তুমি দাঁড়িয়ে আছো রাস্তার ধারে ? চোখে জল , উৎকণ্ঠায় নীল হয়ে আছে তোমার কন্ঠনালী,
For Gauri

Bullets showered… showered bullets…
Not one, not two, seven in a row
Those aimed at Gauri,
pierced deep into our hearts.
Bullets showered… showered bullets…

আলোর দিশারী
হাতের কাজগুলো সারতেই সারতেই মেনকা একবার দরজার বাইরেটা উঁকি মেরে দেখে নিল। নাঃ,
Because I’m a girl I must study

A father asks his daughter:
Study? Why should you study?
I have sons aplenty who can study
Girl, why should you study?

Thoughts Against War & Violence: Collection 01
Only in time of fear is government thrown back to its primitive and sole function of self-defense and the many interests of which it is the guardian become subordinate to that. -Jane AddamsAmerican Social ...
ফিরে আসছি
টান
সকালে ঘুম ভাঙতেই শিমূলের চোখে পড়ল সারা গায়ে রোদ্দুর মেখে মা সামনে দাঁড়িয়ে, পরণে
Mata Playback
In 1950, when India became a Republic, I was four and my mother was 25. I grew up hearing how my mother – like most girls from upper caste, middle class families – would have been schooled at home ...
ব্যথা সম্পর্কে
সবকিছু খাপে খাপে বসে গেলে আমরা কি সহসা কখনো
গভীর মজায় ডুবে ফের ভুলে যাব সব ব্যথাবেদনাকে?
তাহলে
রক্তমাখা কান্নার কোলাজ
বসন্ত এসেছে আজ এই দেশে !!
নাহলে এতটা কেন বাতাস বইছে চারপাশে,
বাতাস না ঝড়ের সঙ্কেত
দৃশ্য
সেবার খুব ঠান্ডা পড়েছিল । জানুয়ারি শেষ হয়ে এলেও চার পাঁচে ঘোরাফেরা করছিল পারা
If not, I’m Amongst the Destructors of Our Own Abode

If not, I’m amongst the destructors of our own Abode
I’ll let you know I’m not a feminist
It was the environment around which made me persuaded
Impossible it was because Everything I create

A Letter from Pandora
This letter is being published in this newspaper on account of my death. While you are reading this, I might be enjoying a little snack in ‘heaven,’ or so they say. I sincerely have no idea what it ...
The Death of Dissent?
“What is this country coming to?” The opening line of Girish Karnad’s compelling play Tughlaq has come back to haunt us. Karnad is among 25 Kannada writers and intellectuals who have been ...
দুগ্গা দুগ্গা
বাড়ি থেকে যখনই কেউ কোথাও বেরতো মা বলতেন দুগ্গা দুগ্গা । যখন আমার সংসার হল--সংসার
কবিতার বাণী রায়
বাংলা কথাসাহিত্যের ধারাবাহিকতায় বাণী রায়ের নাম অপরিচিত নয়। তাঁর উপন্যাস, ছোটোগল্প
নারী
পুরুষ, তাইতো হাজারো ছুতোয় স্পর্শ করেছ আমায়,কখনো ভয়াল কখনও মুখোশ ছলচাতুরির মায়ায়ফোটেনি
শ্রীমতি গৌরী লঙ্কেশ শ্রীচরণেষু
“জাতের নামে বজ্জাতি সব / জাত জালিয়াত খেলছ জুয়া”
বিষণ্ণতার সঙ্গে কলমে উঠে আসছে
সমুদ্রে ফেরা
কাঁচের ভিতর দিয়ে দেখি যতটা দূর চোখ যায়স্পষ্ট স্বচ্ছ ঝকঝকে অন্ধকার কি পরিপাটী রাস্তা
বাণী রায়ঃ জন্মশতবর্ষে
১৭ অক্টোবর ১৯৯২। পঁচিশ বছর হলো বাণী রায় আর আমাদের মধ্যে নেই। তাঁর ছোটোগল্পের
আমি লিখি
জানেন আমি আসলে একটা মানুষ।নাড়াবার লেজ নেই,উড়বার পাখা নেই, মাথার চারপাশে ছটা অর্থাৎ
নারীশক্তি
নারীমেধ যজ্ঞের শুরুমন্ত্র পড়েন মহাগুরুযজ্ঞে আহুতি দেবে নারীপরণে রক্তে রাঙা
উন্নয়নে উচ্চশিক্ষা
খবরের কাগজের এই বিজ্ঞাপনটা আবার কেমন বুকের ভেতর কীসের যেন হাতছানি দিল। যে চাকরিই
না, ভালো নেই আমরা
আমরা কি সত্যিই খুব ভালো আছি? জিজ্ঞেস করলে প্রশ্নের উত্তরটা অবশ্য অবধারিতভাবেই
অক্ষম
-"কই গোওওও ! কে আচিস দরজাটা খোল দেকি ! ঘরে রাজকুমার এল আর আমাদের প্রজাদের উপহার দিতে
দিয়েছি সবারে আপন বৃন্তে ফুটিতে ?
প্রথম দৃশ্যদিব্য ।। মাসি, ঐ লাল চুড়িটা দাও...পিউ ।। ওমা... এই তো এতগুলো চুড়ি পরেছিস,
ভালো -বাসার  বারান্দা ? না মন্দ বাসার বারান্দায় আছি?
দেশে ফিরে এসে মন কোথায় পুলকিত থাকবে তা নয় লজ্জায় ঘেন্নায় ধুলোয় লুটিয়ে পড়েছে।
অসংবেদী
কি ভীষন অসংবেদী আমি তাই না?
আমি খালি ঘরের মধ্যে আগুন কেন জ্বলছে তাই নিয়ে ব্যস্ত
নির্ভয়া এবং......

সোনার প্রতিমা নও, 
আমাদের মাটির পুতুল,তাই আপন আপন লাগে।

আমার কী আসে যায়
এক সকালে ওরা রাখালকে তুলে নিয়েওকে পেটাতে পেটাতেঅপেক্ষমান জীপটার ভেতরে ঠেসেনিয়ে
আর সইব না... সইদের কলমে সইমেলার ভাবনা তাহারা Quo Vadis? উন্মাদিনী কথা For Gauri আলোর দিশারী Because I’m a girl I must study Thoughts Against War & Violence: Collection 01 ফিরে আসছি টান Mata Playback ব্যথা সম্পর্কে রক্তমাখা কান্নার কোলাজ দৃশ্য If not, I’m Amongst the Destructors of Our Own Abode A Letter from Pandora The Death of Dissent? দুগ্গা দুগ্গা কবিতার বাণী রায় নারী শ্রীমতি গৌরী লঙ্কেশ শ্রীচরণেষু সমুদ্রে ফেরা বাণী রায়ঃ জন্মশতবর্ষে আমি লিখি নারীশক্তি উন্নয়নে উচ্চশিক্ষা না, ভালো নেই আমরা অক্ষম দিয়েছি সবারে আপন বৃন্তে ফুটিতে ? ভালো -বাসার  বারান্দা ? না মন্দ বাসার বারান্দায় আছি? অসংবেদী নির্ভয়া এবং...... আমার কী আসে যায়

1

When an architect creates his   dream building, the labour  involved in the creative process  is obvious. When an Indian classical  singer creates her music, the  hard and intricate labour  that goes into it is obvious    What happens when a writer writes a   War and Peace ?-- Even if we decide to be politically incorrect, and  choose to be comfortably patriarchal,    shutting our eyes to  the super human  physical labour that his poor wife had  put into it, copying  out the  huge novel     by hand  , not once, not twice but  as the saying goes,  full  seven times over,-- the  basic intellectual  labour  of the novelist  is   still  obvious  to the reader.  But when  a ten line poem   is created over a few weeks, even months, little by little, the labour  remains  unseen,  it is  hidden   in the    final   creative product .That is the way it is supposed to be. If  we can notice all the blood and sweat  trickling down your  brow  as we read your poem, it will   certainly be    quite another experience. May be at times even that is necessary, who knows the last word?

I grew up   for twenty years, bearing   witness to a   poor old cliche, that poetry is part inspiration and part perspiration.  Ours was a poet couple’s home. Both my parents were writers, they had no other profession. My    father worked in his study all day long, he sat at his table  reading and writing, except for walking the dog  twice a day. His day started at four a.m. and ended at  midnight  till  he breathed his last  My  mother being  a sickly  person, was less enthusiastic,  but I never saw her taking an afternoon nap. She read in her bed , she wrote in her bed, she proof-read in her bed.. Books and exercise books, paper and pens  sat  side by side with her medicines on her bedside table. As she grew old and became totally bedridden, she used a magnifying glass to read the proofs,, but read late into the night, and  she wrote during the day.. A writer’s life, I knew, was a hard one.  And the making of a book involved hard work in the press too, lay out, page make-up, illustrations, block making,  (those were the days) printing, binding, marketing. No. Creativity does not stand-alone. It has to depend on hard labour, not merely the writers’ own, but also that of others in the book trade.  

Creativity itself  was a laborious job. No matter where and how you  might be using it. Whichever  creative area you are in, you are chained for ever.

   A long time and effort goes into the making of a play, for example. After being written, the play needs months of rehearsals before it can be staged. And facing a new audience everyday is like passing a new test every evening. Yes theatre is a continued string of hard labour. which involves a long list of laborers, from the director and the  actors  to the production managers and other technicians.

Since childhood I had seen my elderly neighbour, a famous painter, Sunil Madhab Sen working tirelessly and furiously   at his paintings. I   had watched the famous sculptor Meera Mukherjee   at work and adored her for the sheer physical hardship that went into   the creation of her huge, heavy metallic sculptures.  And I knew, that the artists   were just as much dependent on hard labour as the writers, if not even more.   Creativity, I could see, needed stamina.

I am shattered when young editors of slim little   literary magazines in Bengali, request me for a contribution with these kind and considerate words: “ We know you are busy. If you can spare no time   for an article, or a short story, then even a poem would do!”  I feel like weeping each time I hear this sentence. Poor kids, do n’t they have any idea at all how much hard work goes into a carefully constructed poem?  It is easier to write a prose piece any time.   

 I want to tell them,  look here, creativity  must not come flowing like flood waters and overwhelm your senses as well  as your mind.. You have to dig a channel and give it a direction. There lies the hard work. And the art as well.

   2

But today I was  wondering how about looking at it from the opposite end? From  a completely different point of view? The rural  women’s  point of view, where the question of a readership, or of an audience, even, does not arise. There is no marketing process involved in the total labour,  but an inner cleansing, an inner bonding, an inner strengthening   process takes place. Labour generates Creativity, Creativity generates inner power. A sense of belonging comes from being able to talk about oneself. Everything that needed to be told but could never be uttered  even among the women, as the walls also have ears,  can easily be sung through these songs, the songs have adopted Sita as their persona, the janamaukhini woman. It is of Sita they sing, not of Gita or Shalini or Manju or Maurium. Sita as their persona gives them the basic freedom to express themselves.

 In the rural women’s work songs I have learnt that  it  is not just hard work that is needed to give shape to your creativity, as we can see in urban culture, but creative energy is often  generated by hard work, as  we can see in  folk culture..

This is very clearly noticeable in folk traditions, especially in the women's folk tradition in India. Suffering and pain has always been a source of creativity, both for men and for women, labour, too is one.

For example ,let us look at  women's  oral  songs.

For several years I have been working with women’s  Ramayanas.   These are single songs that women create and sing among themselves during work.  There are different kinds of  daily work   that they do together, as they sing.,   weeding , and planting ,  gathering wood,   sowing and harvesting,  husking and grinding,  etc. Or, by themselves, they sing lullaby  songs   as they put their children to sleep. Then there are ritual songs, wedding and other related rituals, when women gather together, and sing their hearts out. These are connected with different moments of a woman's life, and here Sita is the name of the woman who attains puberty, gets married, gets pregnant is abandoned and gives birth  all by herself  .A common experience for the  rural  women.

 These women’s work songs and ritual songs are generated by the hard work that bring them together, and give rise to a sense of sisterhood. The strong creative energy that is expressed through the songs is generated by the laborious jobs   that the women do together in the field, or within the courtyard. It is an area where work and creativity go hand in hand.

Just as in East Bengal the   beautiful boatmen’s songs   are created by the hard work that the boatmen have to perform,  and  tinged by the loves they leave waiting at home.  In Assam there are heart rending songs built around the annual movement of the elephants and the tragic romances  relationships that grow between   the mahouts  and the young women of  the  village as they  pass by. The tea-garden workers songs are of a different kind,, they have all come from distant parts of the country to Assam to work hard and  make money, and are missing home. Or the   Bihaari   women labourers working on fixing the roof  in   Calcutta. In all these  labourers’ songs, the rhythm of the work gives rise to the rhythm of the songs. Creativity and labour go hand in hand in such cases, each depending on the other , each helping the other to grow and  the worker   survives  on the balanced relationship..

As a creative writer I  feel obliged to  work  hard   for every piece of work,  to make my work valid to myself,  to justify my efforts for producing the very best that I can, whatever it may be, and   I   feel grateful to  life for  letting me do   the hard work, in spite of my  hostile  health,  in order to remain creative in the only sense of the term in which I understand it.

 

Nabaneeta Dev Sen

Nabaneeta Dev Sen is one of the best-known contemporary Bengali authors and a leading professor and scholar of Comparative Literature. She has received many honours including the Padma Shree and the National Sahitya Akademi Award. She is the founder President of Soi, Women Writers’ Association and the President of P.E.N India, West Bengal Chapter.

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The beliefs, views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Soi or official policies of Soi.

From the President's Desk

Hello! Dear friends of Soi,

Greetings for the coming year! Let us pray for peace. We wish you a safe and positive year ahead. We are celebrating the completion of the first year of our website. We are just a year old, looking back at the Website, and it has not been a bad year for Soi. Plenty of books have been published and awards won by our sois. But then, honours are not enough; we should demand more creative depth from ourselves. We, in India, are going through a dark period, a difficult time, being part of a sad and turbulent history each moment. A sorrowful silence on our part is not the answer. Positive anger and, repeated creative protest against hatred, is perhaps the most useful Indianness at the moment. The "Idea of India" as we have received from our childhood culture, is now submerged in an artificially created, dangerous, anti-human political mess. Those of us who happen to write, we know, our appeal, our written words, our poems and articles can reach only a handful of educated Indians. But we also know that it is in our hands, the privileged minority, that the future of the rest of us in the huge and confused subcontinent is helplessly chained…But there is always a tomorrow. We are tomorrow's people, the creative woman of the world...Soi belongs to them, Soi belongs to tomorrow. And it is our aim to build a better tomorrow for all of us, through creative art. The written word may have a limited appeal but what about music, painting, photography, cinema, the performing arts? We have direct reach to the senses. Soi means all of us, the Creative Women of this world, who care.

Read More...

silence like a cancer grows

for Gauri

soi-sabud

The Story of Soi

Soi was created on November 30th, 2000, by a group of women writing themselves in Bangla. The term SOI has a three dimensional significance in Bangla, it means 1. Signature, 2. Sakhi (woman friend) and 3. 'I endure' (but not for long!). We, creative women, deeply felt the need for a meeting point, to vent our ideas, to test our creations, to gather strength from each other at moments of defeat, and to celebrate our victories. SOI is a gathering of creative minds where the established and rising writers equally share a common space, exchanging their innermost thoughts about literature and life. In a few years we opened our arms to creative women in other arts. SOI is a space where we can freely express ourselves and open up to the rudest criticisms, and still feel secure. Such a place of warmth was absolutely essential for us.

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