Rashmi Rawat teaches Hindi at Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, D.U. She is an acclaimed critic who has two books to her credit: Stree-Lekhan Ka Samkal (Aadhar Prakashan) and Hashiye Ki Awazen (Bodhi Prakashan). Her monthly columns at Hans, Kathadesh and Sablog are immensely popular among readers. In such a condition—as her foreword in the book Stee-lekhan Ka Samkal asserts—women writers are often sidelined, their works gauged only with a tunnel vision. Stree-lekhan Ka Samkal, then, in a way, becomes Rawat’s way of resistance as she interprets and re-interperts the works of doyens of Hindi literature including Mridula Garg, Usha Priyamavada, Krishna Sobti, among others.
In Hashiye Ki Awazen, her second book by Bodhi Prakashan, the flawed society and its hypermasculine ways of functioning finds layered mentions. Often subtle, and perhaps slightly irritated and helpless, but never with a sense of disdain, she talks about various situations that have affected her and the people around her. In one of the essays, she is talking about the monopoly of male critics; in another, she is talking about how a Maths professor who is first blamed, and later terminated, for not coming to the college on Fridays— not because of his absence, but because his colleagues don’t themselves come in the lure of a longer weekend. By the end, one also feels the empathy with which Rawat writes, and her firm belief that society can function better if we were to look at the loopholes and find ways to work through them rather than brushing them under the carpet and thinking that that is how it ‘works.’