The sixth Oberoi Lecture Series in association with Ritinjali : An evening in conversation with author, Ira Mukhoty

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The Oberoi Lecture Series in association with Ritinjali is an initiative geared towards bringing individuals together from various disciplines for an inspiring and thought provoking exchange of ideas and experiences. We were delighted to have Ira Mukhoty discuss her riveting first book, "Heroines" with us as part of our sixth lecture under this series on Saturday, 9th September 2017. The discussion was moderated by Poonam Saxena, National Weekend Editor at the Hindustan Times.

The session took the audience through the lives of eight powerful Indian women of myth and history. To begin with, the author and moderator examined the stories of all these women of history - whether factual, popular, or mythological - and interspersed the discussion with familiar visual representations of their characters, as we have come to know them. The nuances of historical documentation were analysed, with emphasis on factors that may have influenced narratives: political climate at the time of documentation, historian bias, availability of documents or lack thereof. As stories around these women were demystified, it paved the way for a discussion on their forgotten narratives that did not capture popular imagination or fit the socio-political climate at the time.

Drawing on inspiration from these fearless women of history, discussion veered towards what it means to be a ‘heroine’ today. In the wake of immensely disturbing events such as the shooting of journalist, Gauri Lankesh, the audience deliberated if the space for fearless women in our country seemed to be shrinking. After a thoroughly intriguing dialogue with the audience, the evening concluded on a compelling and optimistic note. Heroism today is in negotiating day-to-day life, daring to venture out, and leaving comfort zones behind. While the situation looks dismal currently, it is heartening that many are rising fearlessly against tyranny and continue to raise their voices against acts of oppression - whether through social media or through protests on the streets. There is definitely no turning back.