Catch Aranya Johar’s Slam Avtar Live @ Mia SHEROES Summit, Mumbai

Last updated 15 Jul 2017 . 7 min read

She’s just 19 but is already taking a lead to discuss about what’s important and most often, what’s not spoken out against. Aranya Johar feels deeply for issues like depression, gender bias, rape and stereotypes which is also visible in her poetry, her way of expressing her opinion and resentment. Her video ‘A Brown Girl’s Guide To Gender’, which was released by UnErase Poetry on International Women’s day became viral on all social media platforms and now has over 1 million views on Youtube.



Not just that, she’s also an entrepreneur and has her two poetry startups ‘Throwback Thursday’ and ‘Blind Poetry Sessions’, which she started along with her friend, Prachi.

In a heart-to-heart conversation, she talks about her poem, her immense love for the Korean culture and the incidents which made her aware of the patriarchal regime existing in our society.

Also, she’s going to be performing today at the Mia’s SHEROES Summit 2017, Mumbai!

“Poetry is my way of starting a conversation.”

Aranya began writing when she was around 11 or 12 and got to the stage when she was just 14, at an age when most of us are battling stage-fright. Her love for slam poetry has no bounds. She’s 19 now and is already an entrepreneur with her two poetry startups ‘Throwback Thursday’ and ‘Blind Poetry Sessions’.

She says,“I fInd Slam poetry very peppy and enthusiastic, mainly because it has theatrics to it. I feel that the poet has the liberty to express what they really are and how they actually feel. It isn’t drag or bland. Also, I love hip-hop and rap for its rhythm and beat which has largely influenced my poetry”.

“I could be Nirbhaya or Laxmi too….”

Before this conversation, I was of the belief that probably some particular incident in her life would have catalysed her dissonance with the gender constructs in our society. But that’s not how it was...

“There was no one particular event which pulled me out of the hole and made me aware of these gender constructs which so staunchly exist in our society. It was a slow, gradual process.. it began with the Nirbhaya case. It was probably the first case to receive the media coverage on the scale that it did. I was still very young when this incident happened and so people didn’t talk to me about it; there were a lot of apprehensions and inhibitions which are completely understandable. I read about it in the newspapers and that’s when I realized how ghastly, how gross the incident was. And you know, you aren’t very vocal about it, but somehow, stealthily a fear creeps inside you.

Also, the Laxmi acid-attack case left a deep imprint on my ideas of gender. Laxmi was 15 when this incident happened with her which was also the age I was very close to when I got to know about it. So the fear of being victimized the way these women were, had always been there.

Not just that, I still remember how in class 7, we used to discuss sexual harassment or our personal encounters with it; it was just very bizarre and new to us. So my friend, when she was 9, was on her school bus when the conductor very furtively, jerked off on her. They didn’t talk or there wasn’t anything direct, so to say, but the incident scarred her; she rarely travels in a bus now…

I believe that such  incidents do impact your ideology in myriad ways; constructing, deconstructing, building or shattering the set of ideas you hold on to.”

“There’s much more to me…”

Released by UnErase Poetry on International Women’s day, the video became viral on YouTube and now has over 1M views. On being asked how that has impacted her work, she says, “So since the video’s release, people usually expect me to write and perform on just this topic. They don’t realize that there’s so much more to me. So I’ve started writing a little less about it now; not that it has limited me, but I just prefer writing less about it.”

Practice maketh a man perfect? Sure it does.

She’s 19 and has been performing for over 5 years now;  and for the position she’s reached today, for the immense confidence and boldness in her diction, she accredits her years of practice and mediocre performances,

“I think it’s all because of the practice and years of performing badly *laughs* Practice has really helped me improve. Also, the feedback I received after every performance really shaped the way I perform on stage. I kept experimenting- trying slower, louder, faster until it hit the perfect rhythm.”

“Korea- my heart.”

I knew that she had an interest in the Korean culture, but I didn’t know the extent of it, certainly.. “I love the Korean culture and I also do the Korean dance *chuckles*. I feel that Korea is a very rich country, culturally, just like India, though it’s much smaller.  Also, I love Hip-hop and Rap- that’s the music I really enjoy. It has also influenced my poetry.” She’s always had had an inclination towards Literature which is also the subject she’s going to pursue in her graduation.

To all the SHEROES out there-

I’ll just say that you need to have a little faith in yourself and what you’re doing. Free yourself from the shackles of ‘Log Kya Kahenge’ or what opinion people have about you. That’s how you can actually progress.

What’s in store for the Summit?

Aranya is going to be a part of the Mumbai leg of the Mia’s SHEROES Summit 2017 on 15th July to be hosted at Novotel, Juhu.

“I’m so excited about it! So, I’ll be performing ‘A Brown Girl’s Guide To Gender’. I haven’t performed it on many stages, to be honest. I also have a new piece coming out this Friday which I’ll be performing in the summit. SHEROES’ audience will my first audience for this piece, so yeah, I’m pretty excited about it!”

We’re excited about Aranya’s performance at the Mia SHEROES Summit, Mumbai. It’s going to be some great fun!

Bangaloreans, Kolkatans and Chennaites we haven’t forgotten about you. We are coming to these cities too. You can register for them on the links given below.

Are you ready to talk about your #FutureOfWork? We are.


Shriyanshi Badoni

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