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Hawa Mahal Talks: Urvashi Dev & Vandana Mehta

  • IWB Post
  •  December 27, 2014

We are so proud of making 2014 end sensibly. We went to Jaipur’s pride – Hawa Mahal – with a bunch of women to enjoy the day. Apart from exploring the palace’s beauty, we did one more thing. Gossip? Nah!


We talked about Hawa Mahal’s history – to let the royal Maharanis enjoy carnivals safely from behind the walls. They would see the happenings on the street below without being seen, since they had to obey strict “purdah” system. Anyway, we decided to use the opportunity to talk about how far the woman’s situation has come in our traditional society and that, what can be done to further lessen the violence against women.


Below read the excerpts from the conversation between Hindustan Time’s Rajashan Bureau Chief Urvashi Dev and city based Jewelry Designer Vandana Mehta. Sitting by a ‘jharoka’ of the mahal, the ladies looked just like the Maharanis.

Urvashi – Vandana you decided not to get married. I want to know more about the strong woman in you.



Vandana – The world is little bad for single women. I, for one, was fortunate to get enough support of parents and love from friends during and after my decision.

Urvashi – Not easy?



Vandana – I tell my friends’ kids to not look upto me when they say they won’t get married ever. First look around if you have the pillars standing beside you to fight the big bad wolf.


Urvashi – I agree. Being in media, I get to know more news of sexual assaults and other types of violence against women.

Vandana – But isn’t media responsible somewhere to put up this weak image of woman?


Urvashi – How?

Vandana – There are news of rape filling the papers as compared to real stories of women empowerment.


Urvashi – I disagree. Popular media has a negative image, however, if we look into more accessible media among youth like Facebook, Twitter; it introduce us to many women achievers from round the world. You get to know success story of a woman entrepreneur or fighter from a small city abroad on twitter that may not be printed in newspaper.

Vandana – I agree.


Urvashi – At that, I still believe that media can help change few stereotypes attached to woman. Especially in rural areas where the need to tell that woman is not a victim and can be independent, is a need.


Vandana – Is your field male dominated?

Urvashi – Umm…not really. But I really wish we have more women writers at top positions.

Vandana – So that we have more female-oriented approach.


Urvashi – And for some needed sensitivity in the news.

Vandana – I really love the novel Sita’s Ramayana written from point of view of Sita – the woman in the epic story. It can teach Jaipur/Rajasthan women a lot who have been living amidst the old customs since ages.


Urvashi – Like Purdah system that is still practiced in some parts of our state. How I wish it doesn’t hamper women’s growth. Whenever I visit village interiors for work, I realize how far  their women are from empowerment.


Vandana – Before we end our conversation, I want to say one thing – don’t try to become men. Right Urvashi?


Urvashi – I believe in the golden words. We are wise enough to get it and insightful enough to preserve it.

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