• Parul Bansal


Debashri was a 27-year-old feminist activist working in a feminist NGO. I got to know about her through a research participant. I contacted her, and she responded enthusiastically to the idea of the research. The time around which we started meeting, she was going through problems in her newly married life. In our interactions where both her personal and professional lives were explored, she was eager to share about her personal self wherein she was experiencing her frailties and conflicts. However, she presented a confident and competent side while discussing work and its challenges. Debashri was a well-built, tall woman with hair cropped short. In the photographs of her field work in villages, she seemed completely at ease with the surroundings. She would be nonchalant about late-night travel, living alone in the areas. Her speech, both in English and Hindi, while sophisticated, had the power and roughness required for hard-hitting advocacy with the power centres in her work arena. Over the five meetings, it was noticed that she had a huge need to make sense of herself and her life experiences. She would often use concepts from theories to explain her own states. She remembered the thrill of coming across existential philosophy because it acknowledged choice and loneliness inherent in existence; it spoke of the responsibility that came with choice and the fear of freedom. She faulted Maslow for putting self-actualization at the highest level of need because according to her, each individual from the very beginning wanted to become the best that he or she wanted to be. Feminism, which she regarded to be her ‘religion’ and ‘political framework’, also aided her in positioning herself in the world as a woman, and she used it as a scaffold to understand her needs for choice and freedom. Throughout her conversations, the ideal of choice stood out as the major defining principle of her life. She sought to extend it in her personal life and as well in her work by creating opportunities for it in the lives of lesser-privileged women.


Rural Woman Feminist Politics Feminist Activist Emotional Insecurity Structural Imbalance 
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Copyright information

© Springer India 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PsychologyLady Shri Ram College for WomenNew DelhiIndia

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