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Message for Young Indian Women from Prof. Jayanthasri

We welcome the New Year with a 3 part series of interactions with Prof. Jayanthasri Balakrishnan. Her motivational talks, specifically focusing on women have been quite popular for many years now. It is a true honor to have Prof. Jayanthasri on New Indian Woman podcast.

In Part 1, we address questions pertaining to women in the 20s to 30s, who is likely to be starting on so many new things in life -a career, a relationship, a family and so on. The idea in this episode is to get Prof. Jayanthasri's guidance on how a young Indian woman should go about identifying her own freedom and rights. This is a long episode, for, her thoughts on this age group are so powerful and we got into the details of many aspects. I did not want to edit the episode just for the sake of brevity. The points here are so valuable. Regardless of the age, you will find pointers that inspire you, that make you think and even trigger some actions.

So, listen on..

What the New Indian Woman podcast is about

As you may already be aware, this podcast has 2 focus areas. One, We examine the challenges faced by today's Indian woman and propose ACTIONABLE strategies in the Indian context, on a wide variety of topics - right from identifying their passion to better productivity and parenting. Second, we meet women who chose to aspire or have a dream beyond their defined roles and facilitate sharing of what worked and what didn’t, for them. Today's episode falls in the second category.

And in the process, my aim is to help you, The New Indian woman, to realize your potential, chase your dreams and aspirations, utilize the wonderful opportunities available in today's world.

What's in this episode:

Prof. Jayanthasri starts talking about entitlement and the danger of freedom without accountability. She talks about the importance of understanding that whatever we enjoy today has been given to us by people who walked before us. They could not even dream of what we have today. She explains why it is important to know this, have a sense of accountability, to give to women who will come after us. She talks about how this is true for all kinds of independence, political, social, academic and so on.

And based on this thought, she explains how we may misinterpret entitlement, for empowerment. She feels it is the onus of all is us to make the question of freedom vs entitlement, irrelevant, in future. And she explains how freedom and autonomy are different. And how this sense of accountability changes you as a person, regardless of your gender. Your thought, your vocabulary and finally, your actions. She gives practical tips on how this journey starts, regardless of the age of the person. She goes on to explain how this is different from education as we know it, how this has to come from inside.

We then move on to the topic of aspirations, and she says aspirations do not change over generations, they just express themselves in a different way. She explains the difference between desire and dream and why it is important to know the difference. She talks about how it is important to use true education to start from a point of desire, to chisel your dream, to shape it, with a lot of patience and then form an action plan for the dream.

She goes on to how she considers present day parents have either become supermarkets or doormats for their children. The importance of goodness has been lost and hence aspirations have turned into entitlement. Focus on comfort has been detrimental. She talks about the importance of going back to understanding these differences.

We then discuss the importance of being grounded. She stresses the importance of this in terms of how you can become your dream through this. And talks about the need to think about one's society as the starting point for this. Without the grounding, it will be just desires hanging in mid air. Prof. Jayanthasri gives many practical examples of this, on how children naturally are inclined towards being grounded. And the importance of making children have roles in the family and giving them responsibilities.

And then she goes on to talk about the importance of young women starting from their own homes first, having cultural sophistication and here also, she gives real life examples that one can relate to. She takes the example of a pupa's transformation to a butterfly and explains how each one has to figure out the realities and adapt for the same and in that process build resilience. She explains the importance of understanding life as a package - one cannot remove what one doesn’t like and customize with one's own desires.

She explains the importance of seeing challenges as opportunities which one has to approach in a unique manner. She says if one is grounded, one is likely to look around and be thankful for many things. And then she explains how each of these could be good starting points.

I am convinced my summary doesn’t do any justice to Prof. Jayanthasri's articulation in a very clear and crisp manner. I invite you to listen to this episode fully and learn from it.

Please write to me at or reach out to our social media pages to share your views on this episode.

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