| Rosemary Dzuvichu in Kolkata on Wednesday. Picture by Sayantan Ghosh |
Calcutta, March 20: “I was suspended twice from my job. I have received life threats at times in my two decades of activism. But the journey has to go on. There is still a lot to achieve, a lot to change,” said Rosemary Dzuvichu, adviser to Naga Mothers Association and professor at Nagaland University.
But her role in Nagaland society has been much greater than just teaching at the university. Dzuvichu has in the last two decades fought several battles for empowerment of women.
In this journey, this single mother of three had served as the first president of Lhisema Khel Gazetted Officers’ body and as president of the Kohima district Mahila Congress, which drafted its first manifesto for women during her tenure. Now with the Naga Mothers Association, she is fighting for 33 per cent reservation for women in the municipal council.
Today, she was speaking here at an interactive event, Our Voice Our Journey, organised by the American Center in association with Aspen Institute India. The interaction is an attempt at bringing together voices of women across cultures, transcending borders. And the organisers mention that their selection of speakers was based on one criterion: those who have travelled the extra mile fighting for their rights.
The other speakers were Sohini Chakraborty, founder director of Kolkata Sanvad, independent filmmaker and director Kaveri Kaul and author and former reporter of New Orleans Times Fatima Shaik. Dzuvichu said that her journey is intricately associated with the journey of Nagaland in the last two decades. She said over the years enormous amounts of money have been pumped into Nagaland but without anyone being accountable for it. This has resulted in no tangible development and rampant corruption. “When I took up the issue of corruption in Nagaland University I was suspended. Only after we met the CBI chief in Delhi was the investigation started again,” she said.
The activist who was quite disturbed by the recent gang rape in Delhi said that she thinks the subsequent protests were a positive development. “But to change things, one must be in touch with the larger reality of society. Reality of how patriarchy works in villages of this country and at every level. It is important that the activists understand this because change has to be brought at every level — from family to the National Commission for Women and is possible only through interactions and sensitisation,” she said.