Streelekha : Bangalore’s Feminist Bookstore
The women’s movement has moved on to new challenges over the past couple of decades, as evidenced by the works on the shelves of Streelekha, a “book place” in Thyagaraja Layout that stocks writings on feminism, women-related subjects and alternative thinking. “The issues have multiplied – from the impact of wars and fundamentalism to changing gender roles in the increasingly gloablised world,” explained Kalpana Chakravarthy, who handles the operations of the space in one room of an elegant brick building that also houses its parent organisation The Centre for Development Studies and women’s Non-Governmental Organisation Vimochana.
Back in 1986, Streelekha was started to make available and accessible women’s knowledge and stories, partly as a response to the mainstream and “male-stream” publishing industry that only encouraged books on beauty, fashion and cooking for women. “Even some of the works that were printed back then by the big publishers were just doctoral theses written by women, which were quite shabby in content,” said Donna Fernandes, one of the founding members of Vimochana and Streelekha. “Today, the environment is different. Women’s studies are a part of the university curriculum, there’s a market for the books and what’s being printed is more serious and better thought-out.”
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