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I Wanted to Bring to Light the Stories and Issues That Were Burning and Needed Coverage, Says Sreemoyee Piu Kundu


Sreemoyee Piu Kundu is an acclaimed journalist and best-selling author. She talked about women’s sexuality, her inner inhibitions, the status of single women, social hypocrisy and the challenges of being an independent artist.


Her Early Days

Kundu shared her journey, her good hold over the English language and how she listened to her urge for reporting during her college days. She said, “I always had a knack to report, talk to people, gain a lot of insights from their life and interview them. This is something that made me interested about English journalism”.

She gave up her Cambridge University scholarship in Archeology to pursue her interest. Her first job was at a newspaper house, The Asian Age in Delhi. She was interviewed by M.J. Akbar. Then, she moved to Bengaluru where she started the features bureau. After a long and illustrious career of 17 years in journalism, she realized her urge to be a seeker of truth and quit the job.

“I wanted to bring to light the stories and issues that were burning and needed coverage. This format of journalism is dead. Everything is about money, crony capitalism and paid media and really that was not the reason why I got into the profession”.


A New Journey

When Kundu left journalism, the idea of her first and critically acclaimed book Faraway Music was taking shape in her mind. She had no idea that it will lead her to take up a full-time writing profession.

She further said that an interview of her with a woman married at the age of 16 with a man double her age served as the plot of her second book Sita’s Curse. Her interview with Nityananda, a Mumbai-based woman of around 30 years became the backbone of Sita’s Curse.

“It became the best seller. My book brought a sort of a revolution. It was compared with The Fifty Shades Of Grey. The book was a success. For me, one of the challenges was to show India as the birthplace of eroticism. Eroticism was a way of life and philosophy in India”, said Sreemoyee.

She elaborated on the works of Kālidāsa, who was a master at crafting women sexuality and Kamala Das, who used women’s sexuality to talk about important things like consent, empowerment and liberation. She then talked about her another book You Have Found the Wrong Girl inspired by the character of Dushyanta and Shakuntala in Kālidāsa’s Abhijñānaśākuntalam.


Status Single Happened

Kundu then turned the light on Status Single, which is based on the prism of singlehood in India, the societal stereotypes and the loneliness of a single woman.
Kundu has been in the spotlight for her written pieces on women’s agenda, women with disabilities and the issue of desire in them. She illustrated how single women or the members of the LGBTQI+ community are looked down upon in society.

She said, “When you Google single women it comes up with several dating sites. I think society doesn’t have space for a woman, who is on her own without a man or without, maybe, even children. In my family, I have got single mothers. I have also interviewed women, who are now buying sperms and going through the complicated process of IVF to become mothers biologically.”


Women and Social Dichotomies

She shared that no matter how successful a woman is, no matter what they might achieve, women who are homosexual or men transitioning to women or even single women are often looked down upon by the society. She shared her own experiences, her fostered sister and how she as a single woman looks after her family. She had formed a community for women mainly focusing on single women, divorced women, widows and women belonging to the LGBTQI+ community.

She stated how women are taught to be submissive to men. Even when they can earn their own living, they are taught to submit to their fathers or brothers or husbands as her guardians. They are supposed to remain dependent on their male relations when it comes to decision making or managing finances.

Kundu has been the recipient of the NDTV L’Oréal Women of Worth award for Excellence in Literature and the United Nations Woman Young Achiever for Literature for her widely appreciated and critically acclaimed book Status Single.

Kundu concluded by speaking about her upcoming projects. She has been signed up for her memoirs Unhealed by Bloomsbury and has just completed an inter-generational family saga set in Kolkata All Our Other Lies. She concluded by saying that it doesn’t matter whether one is fair or dark, slim or fat.

She said, “Don’t suffer from unhappy and unsuccessful relationships – be it married or unmarried. As ‘Status Single’ is now the voice of 75 million single women, it proves that false relationships are meant to be broken”. Finally, she suggested budding writers and students read books especially regional language writers, which would enhance their social conditioning to become rich in literature.


The author, Somorita Ghosh is associated with Adamas University Media School.

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