The party is not over yet
The heat is still on. The International Campaign to Stop Violence against Women and Girls, which began on November 25, is in full swing and is making news the world over. The City of Joy saw a whole rainbow of programmes last week that were dedicated to the cause. November 30, incidentally the South Asian Women's Day for Peace, Justice and Human Rights, was celebrated with much fanfare at Nazrul Manch. Swayam, a women's rights organisation, organised an interactive programme in which college students and Muhurat ' a poetry club ' depicted issues like 'eve-teasing' and domestic violence through a number of skits.
The star attraction of the evening was Chandrabindoo, the popular Bangla music band, which belted out one hit number after another. In between their songs, the band members also kept a conversation going with the audience. They spoke on the ills of violence against women and what young people should or can do to keep this in check.
In another programme, held yesterday at Max Mueller Bhavan, members of SAATHII ' a gay rights organisation ' paid tribute to battered women. In a three-hour programme, members of the group spoke on how they identified with the women in their lives, focusing on their support and solidarity. Called the Rainbow Salute to Women, the programme also featured stimulating discussions on links between the women's and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movements. There was also an audio display of Aashar Gaan, a CD with inspirational songs and voice recordings of women living with HIV/ AIDS. There was also the screening of Kashish, a short feature film on female bonding.
With input from Arunima Datta
Along the same lines
Posters, speeches, meetings and even silent marches (see Rahul Bose in picture) ' the country's commercial capital Mumbai observed the anti-violence campaign with a great deal of fervour. On the one hand there were human chains, formed by men and women to remember the sufferers of domestic violence. On the other, there were electrifying musical concerts by the likes of Sunita Rao to spread the message. Among other things, Mumbai saw workshops for women focusing on violence they face in public spaces and atrocities inflicted on lesbians. The most interesting part of the campaign in Mumbai is an inter-collegiate poster exhibition being held at KC College, near Churchgate.
But this is not all. There are many more programmes in the pipeline. December 6 will witness several commemorative programmes ' film shows, public meets and concerts ' in the memory of 14 women engineering students gunned down in Montreal in 1989 by a man who believed he was not admitted to the school because of a preponderance of women on the rolls. And running the show in the metropolis are 20 city organisations that have come together under the banner of Mumbai Violence Against Women Group.
Telling a story
Music is their weapon as also their medium. But they are not formally trained in music. Meet Vinay Mahajan and Charul Bharwada, a married couple, who are using lyrics and tunes to reach out to the masses. After working in the corporate sector for a few years, the duo decided to call it quits. Instead, they founded Loknaad (People's Voice) ' a forum ' in 1991. Since then, the duo has used songs to create social awareness in no less than 200 performances. Most of their performances have focused on marginalised communities ' with special emphasis on women and children ' and issues related to agriculture and water resources. On December 10 ' also the World Human Rights Day ' Mahajan and Bharwada will take the stage at Calcutta's G.D. Birla Sabhaghar to present a programme on communal violence and hatred. Named Insaan Hain Hum, the 90-minute presentation begins at 6.30 pm. Be there.
Overheard... that 60 per cent of rape cases in Mumbai are those of minors; roughly 16 lakh women face domestic violence each year in Maharashtra alone. Yet only 6,090 cases were registered in 2003, and only 198 in Mumbai.