“I feel that the world isn’t easy on women, and you have to be stronger, more vigilant and careful,” – Shweta Bachchan

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“I have been tougher on Navya than on Agastya,” says Shweta Bachchan, designer and columnist, speaking at We The Women, the flagship festival curated by award-winning journalist Barkha Dutt. “It’s because I feel that the world isn’t easy on women, and you have to be stronger, more vigilant and careful,” she said when asked by Dutt if there was any difference in the way she had brought up her son and daughter. “It’s not about deadlines or curfews; their personalities are also different. Agastya is a bit of an old soul. Navya is a little more naive and trusting …”
At the sixth edition of We the Women held on ground in Jaipur and streamed live on Mojo Story, the
Mother-Daughter Duo spoke on being their own Bachchans and how they have forged their own
identities.


Navya Naveli Nanda – who is an entrepreneur with a company (Aara Health) devoted to women and
public health and also works with her father, Nikhil Nanda at the Escorts group – said she did not have
to wait till she was 70 to talk about change. “I chose to put myself out there, whether it’s my work,
whether it’s my podcast, I chose to put myself out there knowing what could come, both the positive and
the negative. One of the big things I got told (on Twitter) a couple of months ago is that I am not
qualified to do what I do, that I don’t know about the state of women and so on… My logic is that the
majority of the people in India are young. I don’t think there’s a right age to speak against something or
speak for something. And if I am 25 then a majority of people in my country are also close to my age. So
if we are not going to talk, who else is going to build the future of the country?”
Shweta Bachchan, who described herself as both ‘extremely shy” and private told Barkha Dutt, “Navya is
a lot like my mother (Jaya Bachchan), she has a lot of conviction and it’s not easy to shake that. She is
passionate about a lot of causes and is vocal about them. She is a lot more comfortable about getting on
a stage and talking than I am.”


Speaking of growing up always in the public eye, Shweta Bachchan said their growing years were
insulated. “When we were younger we had a very protected upbringing. No film magazines were
allowed at home, ever. They sort of banned my father and he banned them back… we never had them
at home. It was not until I was Navya’s age that we understood all this… I don’t know if I did it
consciously. I credit my mother for instilling these values in us, which we have transferred to our children.
I’m not an actor. And when you belong to a family of actors, you do face the dark side, especially when
people write something nasty about you,” she said.

The only time Shweta Bachchan and Navya Nanda had “a really big disagreement” was about a belly
piercing, revealed the mother and daughter, laughing at the memory. “I was very young at the time and
went ahead and got it anyway. She said can i see it and I was like, sure… and she just removed it “

“When we talk about last names and living up to them, I think everyone in the room has the
responsibility to do so. It gives me a sense of pride,” Navya Naveli Nanda told Barkha Dutt.
Navya Naveli Nanda, was awarded with the H.E.R Award for being a Woman of Impact in 2023 and
received the award from Vani Kola, one of India’s most respected and powerful business leaders. Nanda,
spoke candidly about her passion for making menstrual health and hygiene a normal part of everyday
conversation. “Hearing stories like these fuels my passion to work towards women’s healthcare. We’re
basically working towards making these conversations a new normal,” Navya says.
Proud mother, Shweta Bachchan, affectionately joked, “Sometimes I tell Navya, you are a bit too serious
for your age”

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