[lead]Smita Sahay is an Indian English-language writer whose works have appeared in Celebrating India, Muse India, the Pedestal Magazine, the Cha Journal, and Kitaab, among others. She has read her poetry at 100-1000 Poets for Change in Pune and Mumbai, the Prakriti Poetry Festival in Chennai, and Pen at Prithvi in Mumbai. [/lead]
She co-conceptualized and served as associate editor of Veils, Halos & Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women. She is a member of the founding team of Cappuccino Readings, a poetry-reading initiative in Mumbai.
Sahay grew up in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand in India; and customs, traditions and culture from her childhood are recurring themes in her work, as are social prejudices and injustices. Her parents, with two daughters, were often questioned by pitying friends, relatives and neighbors about not having a third child and not “trying for” a son. As a little girl confronted by this belittling of her gender, she felt inadequate in an otherwise happy, healthy, love- and imagination-filled childhood. Standing up to gender inequality, particularly its innocuousness and iniquitousness, became, and remains, an integral part of her consciousness.
She believes in art as a powerful, universal medium that communicates to thinking and feeling humans. English and Hindi fiction and poetry have provided her with escape and bearable realities since her childhood; today they give her words to disagree with, to protest with, and to dream in.
Sahay attended a poetry-writing workshop and a fiction-writing residency, and during this period, she discovered Charles Adès Fishman’s luminous, justice-demanding, contemporary American poetry. These experiences led her closer to finding her own voice, both as a writer and as a human being.
She knows the ease with which voices can be silenced and people discredited, the tragic effortlessness with which dignity can be stripped away. Thus, after completing her MBA from the Indian School of Business, she is currently setting up an entrepreneurial venture to improve mental-healthcare delivery through the use of technology.
She lives, writes, and works in Mumbai, India. ■