Ask Amma

Archive for the ‘Call to Action’ Category

Neha Chopra: “Women need their voice in childbirth”

In Call to Action on 17 September 2018 at 8:01 pm

Aravinda of Ask Amma sat down with filmmaker Neha Chopra at the Human Rights in Childbirth Conference that took place at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai in February 2017.

The Bully is Awake: How my Daughter Lifted me out of the Abyss

In Call to Action on 10 November 2016 at 12:00 pm
We know we have to get out of the abyss and onto the streets.  But how?
My daughter was as involved as I was in campaigning for Hillary Clinton this year.   Election Day morning, at her suggestion, a dozen of us held signs on a corner on Main Street, and many passersby cheered for us.  Since we live in a red county (in a blue state), we had hope that there were more people like that, even in other states.  Every time someone gave us a thumbs up or a supportive honk, we felt we were giving hope to people.  We rallied again in the evening, and then anticipated the results, sure that we would be celebrating.  When things looked bleak, we went to bed hoping for a turnaround by morning.  I woke to the nightmare.

Read the rest of this entry »


We All Live in Bhopal: Sign Petition to White House

In Call to Action on 8 May 2016 at 12:50 pm

The Mother hiding her face with one hand and carrying her child in the other, weeps for all of us.  This is the Memorial Statue honoring the victims of what many call the world’s worst industrial disaster, the explosion in the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal on December 3, 1984.  Survivors have been struggling for justice for over 30 years and are now petitioning the White House meet US obligations under Treaty & international law by immediately serving notice upon Dow to attend court in Bhopal on July 13, 2016.

Sign here: Tell the US Government to Stop Shielding Dow Chemical from its Crimes in Bhopal

We all live in Bhopal – please SIGN the PETITION. And please share widely. It’s what Julia Ward Howe, who proclaimed Mother’s Day in 1870 would do.

About the Artist & Sculpture Read the rest of this entry »

Maternity Leave: Another reason to say Jai Bhim!

In Call to Action on 15 August 2015 at 8:00 am


Observing India’s 69th Independence Day, the Association for India’s Development published a website featuring a tribute to Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, who fought against caste oppression and is known as the architect of India’s constitution.   Article 42 of India’s Consitution provides for maternity leave, as follows:

Article 42 of the Constitution of India 1949

Provision for just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief the State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.

And in fact Ambedkar spoke publicly about this nearly 20 years before at the Bombay Legislative Assembly.   Read the rest of this entry »

Earth and Moon: Period of Change

In Call to Action on 22 April 2015 at 12:42 pm

I wrote this post for the campaign by Earth and Us and  The Kachra Project on menstrual hygiene management.  It appears on The Kachra Project as Sustainable menstruation and making the informed choice.  The campaign starts today, Earth Day and continues until May 28, declared as Menstrual Hygiene Day.  For the first week of the campaign, the topic is: Sustainability and Menstruation: From the body of the earth to the body of the woman.

Sun, Earth and MoonAs the moon revolves around the earth, our monthly cycles remind us of our capacity to give life, confirm that we are not currently doing so, and require us to take special care of our personal hygiene. Have you heard people talk about “sustainable menstruation?”  Can something so fundamental to the sustenance of life ever be unsustainable? Read the rest of this entry »

Bravo! Anisha Bhavnani on Menstruation

In Call to Action on 14 February 2015 at 8:18 pm

Bravo to this young woman, Anisha Bhavnani, and her Amma.  All of us need to stand against untouchability in its many forms.   Let us see that our daughters can also answer “no” to the question Anisha faced. Read on ….




Hasn’t your mother told you that you can’t step inside a temple when you have your period?

Find the link below:

Thanks to everyone who’s followed, liked or shared my blog. The fact that my work has an audience is truly inspiration to write more. I love you guys! 😀

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Arise, then, women of this day!

In Art, Call to Action, Poems on 11 May 2014 at 8:05 am

Let us rouse ourselves once again with the urgent proclamation of Julia Ward Howe for peace on earth, responsible society and solidarity among women. 

Mothers’ Day Proclamation: Julia Ward Howe, Boston, 1870

Artist: Emeka Okoro.  From Fine Art America

Artist: Emeka Okoro. From Fine Art America

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, Read the rest of this entry »

Seven Fallacies about Menstruation and Culture

In Call to Action on 3 April 2014 at 11:15 am

Several people have forwarded to me an article, written by an educator, connecting “ancient wisdom” to the practice of menstrual taboo, and pitying the misguided women who expect modern ideas of gender and feminism to empower them.  After cataloguing popular justifications for menstrual untouchability and suggesting that they come from a time when women enjoyed respect, indeed worship, in contrast to the present context of crimes against women, the author concludes that menstrual taboo is a matter of “personal choice.”

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  Would those who condone menstrual untouchability extend their reasoning to untouchability that is not limited to women?  Is it also a personal choice for us to connect to the “ancient wisdom” through the practice of untouchability and caste segregation?  With more than enough relatives who would be all too happy to think so, I take this as a wake-up call Read the rest of this entry »

Menstruation is the New Black

In Call to Action on 31 March 2014 at 8:05 pm

First, the bright side.  People are talking about menstruation.   Nearly 10 years ago when I submitted “Greeting Aunt Flo” to a daily Indian newspaper, the editor replied:

A fascinating story!  But I doubt if our conservative paper would use
it…. Too bad, though, because many women would find it really interesting!

In 2008 during a session on Gender issues at the AID conference we reached back 30 years and read aloud from Gloria Steinem’s what-if scenario “If Men Could Menstruate.”  She wrote that in 1978!  Oddly enough it begins, “Living in India …”  Could we ever imagine to find something discussing menstruation so boldly, written in India today?

In 2010 when we started manufacturing and marketing cloth menstrual pads in the villages of Srikakulam District some of the village level workers balked at the idea Read the rest of this entry »

The Milky Way

In Call to Action on 8 June 2013 at 3:36 am

From The Milky Way Movie ….

The Mythic Origins of the Milky Way

The Origin of the Milky Way is a painting by the Italian late Renaissance master Jacopo Tintoretto (1575-1580)
The Origin of the Milky Way is a painting by the Italian late Renaissance master Jacopo Tintoretto (1575-1580)

Our own Milky Way Galaxy was named after mother’s milk! The word galaxy derives from the Greek term galaxias, “milky one”, or kyklos and galaktikos, “milky circle,” because it looks a milky spiral in the night sky. In Greek mythology, Zeus places his son, Heracles, born by a mortal woman, on Hera’s breast while she is asleep. Zeus wanted the baby to drink her milk so he could become divine. Hera wakes up to an unknown baby nursing at her breast. She unlatches him in surprise, and the milk having let down, sprays across the night sky, creating the Milky Way.

From The Milky Way Movie .  Please visit the site to support (kickstart) the movie.

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