Women writers and poets from across the State got together here on Sunday for the State convention of Vanithakalasahithi, the women's wing of the literary forum Yuvakalasahithi.
Sugathakumari, poet, who inaugurated the convention, said that women's literary forums should be converted into platforms to protest against atrocities on women. At a time when attacks against women were increasing by the day, girls and women should be encouraged to face struggles and oppression with courage.
“Instead of forcing our daughters to shut up and remain silent, we should encourage them to speak up and fight against oppression. Whatever is necessary to fight attackers and abusers, even if it is self-defence training, should be done if we want to ensure a safe life for our girls,” Ms. Sugathakumari said.
She said the most saddening fact was that most of the time, it was the family members who abused women. “Alcoholism and dowry are two major factors that lead to abuse of women. Other than among a minor section, dowry was hardly heard of in our society 50 years ago. This makes me wonder whether our society has advanced or retarded,” she said.
Ms. Sugathakumari said neither the mainstream political parties nor the governments could do anything conclusive to address the issue of alcoholism, dowry, or violence against women. “This only emphasises the need for a long struggle on the part of the women. Let the women in our society have the courage and the pride to stand up against oppression and violence,” she said.
P.K. Medini, singer, and Sara Thomas, writer, were felicitated. Bulu Roy Chaudhary, writer, activist, and wife of the former Communist Party of India State unit secretary C.K. Chandrappan, and the writers Usha S. Nair, Anitha Thampi, K.A. Beena, P. Girija, B. Indira and Radhika C. Nair were present.