Sakuntala Narasimhan: Rakshasi...
Sakuntala Narasimhan, born in 1939 and living in Delhi during 1947 when India became independent is an Indian journalist, consumer rights activist, and classical vocalist trained in Carnatic and Hindustani classical music. She has as many as 3,950 published pieces, all neatly stored in box files – a stupendous number of articles for a trained musician who gave her first public performance at the age of three and her first broadcast at 10. After marriage, Sakuntala took up the challenge of running a house. Having never had much to do with domesticity, her first forays into the kitchen were a disaster, from charred beans to watery okra. With a premature baby to deal with, her plans to do her PhD in Economics could not materialize. With no money for paper, she began writing on the back of used envelopes. In July 1966, her story ‘The Beauty Contest’ was published in Femina and she was paid the princely sum of Rs 30. She went on to get published in The Hindu a month later, a confidence booster which allowed her to think she had a career in writing. ‘Their Myriad Ways’, published in Femina in 1967, went on to win a prize – an occasion that she says caused her to jump four feet in the air. And then, there was no looking back. As a columnist Sakuntala won many awards, including the Chameli Devi Award for an Outstanding Woman Journalist. Environment and consumer issues were also her forte, and besides her columns on gender and consumer rights, for the Deccan Herald for 27 years, she went on to become a consumer rights activist, filing cases, and winning most of them. She currently writes for The Wire, Citizen Matters, and Moneylife. Alongside her writing, Sakuntala also taught Economics, Music and Women’s Studies. Besides being a prolific writer, Sakuntala pursued her academic interests and in 1996, she got her first PhD in Sociology. And not one to rest on her laurels, she got another PhD in music, fulfilling her self-pledge to "get my doctorate before I die"