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Number 10- Mother

Editorial, 27th March, 2007.

Dear friends, fellow queers and activists,

A very warm welcome to all of you to the 10th issue of SCRIPTS, our home grown, fairly organic, non-funded, whimsical zine. It’s been an eventful and uneven ride till here and we hope to have jolly good fun with it for several years to come. Thank you for being with us, reading, supporting, critiquing, contributing and distributing with and alongside. This endeavour would be much less vibrant without your support. Raising a glass and tip of the nibs to all of you then.

This issue of SCRIPTS has taken us longer to put together than any other. While we might like to say that this was so because we wanted to make it ssspppecialllll and bat our eyes at you, truth to tell, it wasn’t really like that at all. Not that we have anything against batting eyelids and lashes and the rest of it as well. But that is a squabble done with since the zine is in your hands and being checked out as we speak.

So the timing for the first call for submissions was a bit off (December is a time to finish work at break neck speed and then holiday for those that do and time to chill for the rest and then there are the beginning of the year blues to take care of later), and then there is the general reluctance of the artist to part with her piece and mail it off to the enthusiastic, but often erratic, team of editors and ooh-aahers. But one suspects, there was more to the slowness of the response this time around, something to do with the focus itself.

When, after discussing, shortlisting and eventually discarding several “themes” for this issue, a random very workaday event led us to “mother,” and our discussions took off in several crazy and exciting directions, we knew that we had found the theme for this issue. When the response to our call for submissions was less than enthusiastic, we began to stir up to the fact that we had possibly ventured into stuff denser than we’d done earlier to this. This became clearer as we started writing our own pieces and found ourselves stuck at odd places, within us.

So then we brainstormed some more and sent off the second call letter, “Whose afraid of Mother Hood?” reiterating our call for you to send us your musings on “…the hijra, kothi or gay man as mother…how it must be for a child to have two lesbian mothers or what it means to be a single lesbian mother…mother as a concept, as an ideal, an icon, the good mother, the bad mother, the step mother, the fairy godmother, the Godmother, the woman with the womb, the woman without it…How the presence or absence of the mother image has had a part to play in our lives and loves as queer people. How we have often to redefine that idea of mother for ourselves…” and the writings and drawings and ideas flowed in. Maybe not as overfull as to become smothering, but hey not too skinny either!

So while some of us are still, er, polishing our unwritten pieces as this issue goes to press, others have put their time and energy to great use and have contributed quite magnificently with their letters, poems, art work, photographs, and cartoons. The breadth of these writings and artwork, the emotional landscape they traverse, the multiple ways in which they address complex relationships between mothers and their children, notions and fears of motherhood, the social structures around motherhood and the constant cracks and fissures, the ambiguity of the emotions, are quite breathtaking. They explore the connections which are as crucial as the disconnections, the support that arrives unexpectedly along with the fears and the pain, and often the humour that is there a bit off the centre of experience, very well.

While one poem addresses a teacher as mother, another distils the moments before confronting mother, yet another, elliptically takes off on a painted image where the mother is obscurely present, a writer rants and raves about friends popping children, while another writes of her slow process of becoming mother, one cartoonist dreams motherhood, while another confronts a broken dream and deposits from the sperm bank, a writer takes off on what a mother must’ve gone through meandering into the alleys her son’s coming out has opened within, while another mother writes of understanding and support. And then there is the father bending gender to a bemused child, the hijra mother writing of her dreams for her daughter, and the transgender child writing a broken-hearted letter to the mother…. The canvas is varied and we invite you to join in this beginning of articulation on a subject on which we hope to continue dialogue (since some of us are still scratching our brains!). As usual feedback is most welcome and do write in.

In case you begin to feel that motherhood has consumed us, let us be quick to assure you that if anything confronting the state and the several arms of hetero-patriarchy has been our focus (this is news, no?). It is another matter altogether that our confrontations are often accompanied by much arm in arm camaraderie, singing, shouting (even at each other), and endless discussing along with some sundry fun things. The women’s movements conference in Calcutta went off fabulously, after much heart wrenching and hair pulling (strictly one’s own) in the planning meetings and the physical work that made us all discover new muscles within ourselves. A short report in this issue gives you a glimpse of it and what it meant for all of us.

March 8th this time saw all women’s groups in Bombay come together to talk about and visibilise issues of Dalit women and the State’s unconcerned responses to our demands. We also were part of a highly visual protest, besides leafleting and singing, on the continuing violence after five years of the Gujarat genocide. While the protests are still raging on the breakdown of democratic rights in Nandigram and other ‘development’ sites, the space for such protests is shrinking, what with the police picking up protestors in Bombay within 10 minutes of the protest outside the CPI(M) office and lathi-charging and arresting others during World Water Day protests in Delhi.

The case on section 377 in the Delhi high court continues. The last year saw NACO finally giving a statement to the court, and the conglomeration of activist groups and individuals, Voices against 377, from Delhi, join in with an intervening petition. We also saw much discussions around 377 with the letters from Vikram Seth, Amartya Sen and others making public their support against this law.

Oh yes, a happy announcement. We are very pleased to announce, on this day of SHpANYD (Still Hetero-patriarchy and Not Yet Dykedom) that we have acquired, post many discussions, especially on viability and affordability, through the offices of kind friends, a somewhat battered, but highly functional mobile phone and number, which we will be operating thrice a week – Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. – and eagerly will henceforth anticipate calls from you. Please feel free to pass the number (along with the timings) to those who might want to be in touch with us (and we are talking mainly of people other than researchers and press, mind you). The number is 9833278171.

So be in touch and write back and even call, we are around and open for business.

Till dykedom come,


(for the editorial team).