Soul Sutras Press
I was supposed to grow up to be a ‘good Indian woman’. I chose freedom instead
I was told to listen to my parents, find a husband and ignore my own needs. But I decided to take my own path.
As a young girl growing up in a very traditional Mumbai family, I knew I was expected to grow up to be a certain sort of woman.
Here’s what I was taught. A good Indian woman is obedient and lives the life her parents and society tell her to live. A good Indian woman gets “married off” early and becomes a mother quickly because that is her primary purpose. A good Indian woman doesn’t reveal any part of her body or her sexual desires. A good Indian woman ignores her own needs and lives her life serving others. My mother, my grandmother and many women before them had lived…
Best podcasts of the week
What is it like to challenge cultural expectations of gender and sexuality to become the first out British Muslim drag queen? In the illuminating sixth episode of Masala, the founder of south Asian feminist network Soul Sutras, Sangeeta Pillai, speaks to Asifa Lahore to find out…
BBC Woman’s Hour
Hear me from 37:09 to 44:00 mins
How do you learn about sex when you have ‘zero’ sex ed? Ask podcaster Sangeeta Pillai
When Sangeeta Pillai realised she was receiving ‘zero’ sex education, she took matters into her own hands, so to speak.
Now a boss podcaster and host of the award-winning Masala Podcast, Sangeeta is a feminist activist, who is behind platform Soul Sutras, and is breaking down taboos for South Asian and British Asian women…
22 best sex and relationship podcasts of 2022
Hosted by Soul Sutras founder Sangeeta Pillai, Masala Podcast won a British Podcast Awards in 2020…
Best podcasts of the week
Sangeeta Pillai’s award-winning Masala Podcast has grown from indie production to Spotify Original, and is as vibrant and plucky as ever as it airs cultural taboos and speaks to South Asian women about everything “they’re not supposed to”.
Those blue topics include coming out aged 50, ending female genital mutilation, feminism, menopause, mental health, “nipple hair”, and whether the Kama Sutra is still relevant…
“As a South Asian woman, my relationship with sex is complicated”
How do you ask for an orgasm when you don’t know the words for it in your language? How do you develop your sexual technique when you’re not supposed to even have any sex until you’re married?
My relationship with sex as a South Asian woman is complicated. I literally do not know the words for vulva, vagina, orgasm or masturbation in any of the three Indian languages that I speak. Because sex wasn’t part of my language or my culture when I was growing up.
The trauma of growing up seeing my dad abuse my mum turned me into a feminist
My earliest childhood memories are of my father bashing my mother’s head against the wall of our ramshackle Mumbai home.
Thud. Crack. Bang.
The scene plays in my mind like a stuck record. Over and over again. I see it as if it were happening now. The blood dripping, meandering red and muddy down the wall. All our cries and shrieks are disembodied, distant…
Diwali: “Why I’ve created my very own feminist festival of lights”
As a child-free South Asian woman, writer Sangeeta Pillai found she didn’t fit in with traditional Diwali celebrations. So, she decided to create her very own feminist festival.
The heat of just-warmed oil against my sleepy skin for the traditional bath on Diwali morning. The stiffness of a sparkly new salwar kameez dropped off by the tailor the evening before. The smoke of firecrackers. The excitement of lighting a rocket and dashing off before it explodes high in the sky…
BBC RADIO 2
Women’s Health Australia
Sex was the ultimate taboo
Sex was the ultimate taboo growing up in India. We never talked about it. In South Asian culture, traditionally, sex is seen as being ‘for men’. We’re told Indian womxn are chaste. When I moved to the the UK, I saw that womxn lived differently. But it’s phychologically diffcult to reject things you think are part of your culture. Then I read books like the Kama Sutra and realised ‘Hang on, our culture doesn’t say sex is bad!’ After learning to embrace my sexuality, I started my platform to help other South Asian womxn…
Sunday Times, Pod Bible Podcast supplement
Listen To A South Asian Diasporic Podcast On Cultural Taboo & Intersectional Feminism
India is one of the biggest economies in the world yet is currently far behind the so-called ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries. Along with challenges like poverty, pollution, illiteracy, corruption, unemployment, terrorism and communalism, it’s also one of the leading countries in gender-based crimes like rape, sexual assault, kidnapping, abduction, cruelty by intimate partner or relatives, trafficking, persecution for dowry and dowry deaths. We’re known to be one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women…
Activist, writer and speaker Sangeeta Pillai is the founder of the South Asian feminist network Soul Sutras which is all about tackling taboos within the culture. She’s the creator of the Spotify award-winning Masala Podcast, the show for South Asian womxn dealing with sex, sexuality, shame, periods & other taboos…
Featured In ‘I May Destroy You’ on BBC One
Shattering the Stigma: Meet the educators taking on sexual health
Growing up with a very traditional family in Mumbai, India, Sangeeta Pillai was taught that sex was wrong and not to be discussed. “We never talked about sex, it was never a part of any conversations. When there was a scene on TV where someone was kissing, my parents would turn off the TV,” Pillai tells us over Zoom. It wasn’t only her family that shared this notion, Pillai says that centuries of patriarchy have normalized shame around sex in most South Asian cultures…
DECCAN HERALD, INDIA
Too taboo to handle
The words “Besharam! Bathameez!” are the opening lines to Sangeeta Pillai’s widely popular Masala Podcast. It’s a sneak preview of the podcast’s unfiltered, raw, and deeply empathetic conversation with women from South Asia…
14 Women Pioneers of Podcasting to Follow Right Now
Sangeeta created Soul Sutras as a feminist platform for all South Asian femmes to counter the stigma and talk openly about cultural taboos like sex and sexuality, periods and menopause, and even mental health, shame, and sexual harassment. Their flagship audio project is the Masala Podcast, which features interviews with fierce South Asian womxn about such taboo topics. Sangeeta provides this safe space while also maintaining a connection to her South Asian cultural identity…