Selling Nulcear Power to Women: Why the Industry has got it Wrong

Donella H. Meadows,
Donella H. Meadows is an adjunct professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College.

The U.S. Council for Energy Awareness has finally figured out how to sell nuclear power to women.

Women have always been a problem to the nuclear industry. Polls consistently show them to be more opposed to nuclear power than men. (“Because of their deeply held distrust of science and technology,” the Council for Energy Awareness assumes.) The Council, which, if it were honest would call itself the Council for Nuclear Propaganda, has never bothered to spend much of its $21 million annual budget advertising to women. It has sensed a better investment airing spots during football games and the World Series, telling men how nuclear power is going to free us from the domination of oil-rich Arabs.

That’s a lie, of course. Nuclear power generates electricity, which runs our lights and electric motors. It is not a substitute for oil, which runs our cars and planes. A flat-out program to build nuclear power plants could reduce our oil imports by a few percent at most. But then the CEA’s job is not to tell the truth, but to make us look kindly on nuclear power.

Which, when it came to women, was assumed impossible, until now. Through tireless polling, the CEA has finally found the key to female hearts and minds. Women, it has discovered, care about their children and about the environment and especially about the environment surrounding their children. And so the pages of Good Housekeeping, the Ladies’ Home Journal, and Better Homes and Gardens are soon to be graced with CEA ads showing kids playing happily in sylvan scenes with nuclear cooling towers rising in the background, and sweet pictures of a baby turtle crawling to the sea.

“The baby sea turtles hatching on nearby beaches are more evidence of the truth about nuclear energy; it peacefully coexists with the environment. Because nuclear plants don’t burn anything to make electricity, nuclear plants don’t pollute the air,” say the ads. “Nuclear plants produce no greenhouse gases.”

Nuclear plants produce radioactive wastes that no government on earth has figured out how to store safely, but those wastes are indeed not greenhouse gases. Under normal operating conditions nuclear wastes don’t pollute the air, though if anyone goofs and lets them loose, there is no more insidious pollutant of air, water, or soil. Nuclear wastes have to be sealed off in concrete tombs, kept under pools of water, and guarded closely for the several centuries; they have to be kept out of the hands of terrorists; the buildings that contain the reactors become hazardous waste when they are pulled down. But these matters would bother you only if you had some sort of irrational feminine distrust of science and technology.

young-women-in-nuclear-power-plantNuclear plants could, at best, reduce the world’s emissions of greenhouse gases by 12 percent, which is the amount generated by coal-burning power plants — the only greenhouse-gas-emitting activity for which nuclear power can substitute. To replace all existing coal plants with nuclear ones, would cost $5.3 trillion (and a multiplication of nuclear power reactors worldwide from the present 400 to 5,000). We could get the same amount of greenhouse gas reduction from energy efficiency at one-seventh the cost.

But let’s not bother the ladies’ heads with economics. Let’s help them, as the CEA kindly puts it, “sort out the facts from the conflicting messages they hear.”

“I want my kids to grow up in a healthy environment,” says the attractive young woman in the TV ad, as her kids play by a pristine lake. “I want them to breath clean air. I”m for nuclear energy because … it’s one of the cleanest sources of electricity we have. When I was in college, I was against nuclear energy. But I’ve reached a different conclusion. [Nuclear energy] means cleaner air for this planet.”

Her name is Karen Strauss, she is an environmental engineer, she travels around the country as a spokeswoman for CEA, and that college she was in when she was “against nuclear energy” was Dartmouth. She is the granddaughter-in-law of Dr. Lewis Strauss, once the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. He is the one who promised that nuclear power would be “too cheap to meter.” Now it is the most expensive way of generating electricity, even with major government subsidies.

Karen Strauss doesn’t mention the high cost of nuclear electricity, nor does she point out that the utilities funding the CEA run not only nuclear plants, but also coal-fired plants, sources of just about every air pollutant you can mention. They spend some of their tax-deductible public relations money telling us about nuclear power and clean air, and some fighting the Clean Air Act.

Nuclear power has dragged some utilities down to bankruptcy. Many others long ago reached the conclusion that they can meet their customer’s needs far more cheaply and with less environmental threat using technologies ranging from hydropower, wind, and solar thermal to smart conservation. The utilities that haven’t caught on yet are still trying to promote their dangerous, dinosaur technologies by lying to the public.

Maybe they would wise up if they hired more women.


#Pune- Week long festival of democracy starting @Jan26 #filmfestival

Dear All,

Lokayat is organising a number of public programs in the coming 10 days. Here is a brief list:

Program 1. 

Republic Day talk on:

Constitutional Vision of Education and Neo-liberal Assault:

Undoing Dreams of Freedom Struggle


Dr. Anil Sadgopal

Prof. of Education (retd.), Delhi University and

Member, Presidium, All India Forum for Right to Education

Date:   Jan 26, 2013, Saturday

Time:   6 – 8.30 pm

Venue: Lokayat Hall, Opp. Sydicate Bank, Law College Road, Near Nal Stop, Pune.

Program 2:

Lokayat is hosting

International Travelling Uranium Film Festival

Dates:  Jan 27 – 31, 2013 (five-days)
Time:   6 to 10 pm everyday (out of these 4 hours, two hours will be dedicated to the Uranium Film Festival. During the remaining 2 hours, films of the Vasundhara Film Festival will be screened.)
Venue: Balgandharva Rangmandir, Jungli Maharaj Road, Pune.


Concept note:

The International Uranium Film Festival ( dedicated to films about the Uranium atom and the possible dangers to Planet Earth’s environment and the very survival of humanity, from both its military and peaceful uses. It includes both documentary and fiction films on issues like: Uranium mining, nuclear power plants, atomic bombs, nuclear waste, radioactive risks, nuclear medicine, Hiroshima, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima. Many of these films screened during the festival are critically acclaimed international award winning documentaries. The best and most important productions receive the festival award “Yellow Oscar”.

This festival is unique as it is the only festival in the world dedicated to this vitally important global issue. Marcia Gomes de Oliveira, Brazilian social scientist and filmmaker, is the Executive Director of the festival, and Norbert G. Suchanek, the German writer and filmmaker, is the General Director of the festival.

The Uranium Film Festival starts from Rio de Janeiro and then travels to other cities around the world. This year, for the first time, the festival travels to India. Shriprakash, the National Award winning film-maker from Ranchi, is the festival coordinator in India. The festival is being organised in 8 Indian cities: New Delhi, Shillong, Ranchi, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Trichur and Mumbai.

We will be screening a total of 16 films during these 5 days. The films are extremely rare and top-quality films by some of the world’s most famous documentary makers, and so if you are interested in the issue of atomic bombs and atomic energy, these are a must-see.

The discussion following the screenings would be coordinated by Norbert Suchanek, Marcia Gomes, Shriprakash and Neeraj Jain.

Inauguration of the festival takes place on January 27 at 6 pm at the Balgandharva Rangmandir, followed by screenings of two films, ATOMIC BOMBS ON PLANET EARTH and INTO ETERNITY. I shall be sending you the exact schedule of films in a few days.

Note: We are organising the Uranium Film Festival as a part of the Vasundhara Film Festival. We were invited to be a part of the organising committee of the Vasundhara Film Festival, and we agreed and proposed that they co-host the Uranium Film Festival, to which they agreed.

Program 3:

Seminar on:

Global Warming: Myths and Facts


Soumya Dutta, Scientist, Researcher and Activist, based in Delhi, National Convenor, Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha; Convenor, Energy and Climate Change Group, Beyond Copenhagen Collective.

J. Srinivasana, Ph. D. from Stanford; presently Chairman of Divecha Centre for Climate Change, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; Lead Author of IPCC fourth assessment report, 2004-2007 and Review Editor of the IPCC report on Climate Change.

Date:  January 30, Tuesday

Time:  2 – 5 pm

Venue: College of Engineering, Shivaji Nagar, Pune.

(This seminar is being co-hosted with the Vasundhara Film Festival and Janeev, a social-environmental student club of COEP.)

Program 4:

Seminar on:

Sustainable Solutions to India’s Energy Crisis


Admiral (retd.) Laxminarayan Ramdas, Vir Chakra, Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal awardee; former Chief of Indian Naval; awarded Ramon Magsaysay Award for peace; active campaigner on environmental issues for many years.

Soumya Dutta, Scientist, Researcher and Activist, from Delhi; National Convenor, Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha; Convenor of climate and energy group, Beyond Copenhagen Collective (India); member, South Asian Dialogue on Ecological Democracy.

Neeraj Jain, Electrical Engineer, Writer and Activist; associated with Lokayat, an activist group based in Pune; author of: Nuclear Energy, Technology from Hell, published by Aakar Books, New Delhi.

Date: January 31, Thursday

Time: 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm

Venue: Seminar Hall, Fourth Floor, Marathawada Mitra Mandal’s College of Engineering, Karve Road, Behind Vandevi Temple, Pune.

(This seminar is also being co-hosted with Vasundhara Film Festival.)

Entry is free to all the above-mentioned programs. 

Other Programs

Apart from the formal programs mentioned above, Lokayat continues its campaign to create awareness about the social roots of violence against women. After talks by Prof Uma Chakravorty, we have had numerous talks by Lokayat activists in various colleges of Pune on the subject, stagings of the play Mulgi Zhali Ho and also stagings of our play on female infanticide, Ek Nai Shuruaat, film screenings of women-related films, and street campaigns on the roads of Pune on the subject. We also continue to organise lectures on various other issues in various colleges, and our cultural group has also organised numerous cultural programs all over Pune, For more details of these programs, you may visit the Lokayat Website.

Do join us for some of these programs. And if you are interested in joining us actively, rather than just attending these programs, do come down to our Sunday meetings from 4 to 7 pm every Sunday at the Lokayat hall.

in solidarity,



Change in the Body Mass Index Distribution for Women

Analysis of Surveys from 37 Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Razak F, Corsi DJ, SV Subramanian (2013)
 PLoS Med 10(1): e1001367. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001367

Available online at:

“…..There are well-documented global increases in mean body mass index (BMI) and prevalence of overweight (BMI≥25.0 kg/m2) and obese (BMI≥30.0 kg/m2). Previous analyses, however, have failed to report whether this weight gain is shared equally across the population. We examined the change in BMI across all segments of the BMI distribution in a wide range of countries, and assessed whether the BMI distribution is changing between cross-sectional surveys conducted at different time points.

Methods and Findings

We used nationally representative surveys of women between 1991–2008, in 37 low- and middle-income countries from the Demographic Health Surveys
([DHS] n = 732,784). There were a total of 96 country-survey cycles, and the number of survey cycles per country varied between two (21/37) and five (1/37).
Using multilevel regression models, between countries and within countries over survey cycles, the change in mean BMI was used to predict the standard deviation of BMI, the prevalence of underweight, overweight, and obese. Changes in median BMI were used to predict the 5th and 95th percentile of the BMI distribution.

Quantile-quantile plots were used to examine the change in the BMI distribution between surveys conducted at different times within countries. At the population level, increasing mean BMI is related to increasing standard deviation of BMI, with the BMI at the 95th percentile rising at approximately 2.5 times the rate of the 5th percentile. Similarly, there is an approximately 60% excess increase in prevalence of overweight and 40% excess in obese, relative to the decline in prevalence of underweight.

Quantile-quantile plots demonstrate a consistent pattern of unequal weight gain across percentiles of the BMI distribution as mean BMI increases, with increased weight gain at high percentiles of the BMI distribution and little change at low percentiles. Major limitations of these results are that repeated population surveys cannot examine weight gain within an individual over time, most of the countries only had data from two surveys and the study sample only contains women in low- and middle-income countries, potentially limiting generalizability of findings.


Mean changes in BMI, or in single parameters such as percent overweight, do not capture the divergence in the degree of weight gain occurring between BMI at low and high percentiles. Population weight gain is occurring disproportionately among groups with already high baseline BMI levels. Studies that characterize population change should examine patterns of change across the entire distribution and not just


#India- Dalit woman languishing in penury for 7 months ,officials are sleeping ,- Pl don’t disturb #Vaw


10 January 2013



The Hon’ble Chairman


Faridkot House

Copernicus Marg

New Delhi – 1

Ref. Our earlier complaint dated on 23rd July and 31st July 2012

Respected Sir


I want to draw your attention on the impecunious living of few aged women at the Char area of Raninagar Block- II. Though, on 16th of August, the Block Development Officer of Raninagar Block-II, called Ms. Agni Oraon; wife of Late Ludhu Oraon; aged about 72 Years, Ms. Kamala Bewa; wife of Late Panjatan Sekh; aged about 75 years and Ms. Minoti Mondal; wife of Late Jiten Mondal; aged about 76 years, all residents of village- Char Sahebnagar, Post- Borderpara, Block- Raningar- II of Domkal Sub Division to his office, where he made assurance that all of them will be distributed with constructed house in 3 decimals of land and they will be enlisted in BPL listing and as beneficiaries under Annapurna Yojna and provided with food grains. We understood that BDO Raninagar ll acted upon your Memo No. 1198/EN/JM dated 21 August 2012. But till date no positive measures have been taken for the same.


In this connection we made it clear in our previous communiqué that there are score of other such persons living in penury at the said area; who lost their livelihood in perennial river erosion.


In this connection we referred names of Ms. Malati Oraon, belong to Schedule Tribe community, aged about 43 years, w/o Mr. Sentu Oraon, estranged by her husband and forced to live in destitution while not getting any prescribed state deliverances. She is living with her daughter Smt Bisakha Oraon, aged about 11 years and mentally deranged brother Sri Biresh Sardar s/o Kantamoni Sardar aged about 62yrs. She lives at Village- Char Sahebnagar, P.O. Border Para, Police Station – Raninagar, Dist: Murshidabad, Pin Code – 742308 and Ms. Sarathi Mondal belong to Schedule Caste community, aged about 43 years, wife of Late Haripada Mondal and living at village- Char Sahebnagar, Post Office- Border Para, Police Station- Raninagar, and District- Murshidabad. We have made appeals for extensions of benefits of these persons under governmental deliverances before your good office on 23rdJuly and 31st July 2012, respectively.


Ms. Malati Oraon erstwhile living at Nirmal Char of Char Borderpara locality under Malibari Gram Panchayet became homeless with nearly 1000 of her neighbors after the devastating erosion caused by the river Padma and they had to shift from the said place without any of their belongings. They started living at Char Sahebnagar after erecting nearly 100 small thatched huts on a road and living there for nearly 12 years. The road, on which they have built their huts, is not a main thoroughfare of the village rather a less used road by the villagers for transporting their agricultural inputs. The land detail of the said road is Mouja: Bansh Gara, J.L No. 87, Daag – 1761/1630. Ms. Malati Oraon was in a precarious condition because her husband Sri Sentu Oraon had left her with their minor girl child namely Bisakha Oraon of 11yrs to fend. The destitution increased as she has to maintain her mentally retarded elderly brother.  Malati is in brink of starvation with her two dependent because the apathetic attitude from panchayet as well as block level civil governance and absence of mandatory provisions for destitute.


Ms. Malati Oraon and her neighbors of the village Char Sahebnagar were tortured inhumanly almost regularly by a group under the lead of two persons namely Jhalu Mondal and Ravi Mondal of the same village. According to Malati this group was acting under the bad influence and instruction of Head of Gram Panchayet of Malibari – 1 and Head of Gram Panchayet of Kalitala – 1. Jhalu Mondal and others were creating trouble to Malati & her neighbors with an ulterior motive to vacate them from their dwellings and use the place for their benefits.  The schedule tribe families of this area are in a very pathetic condition due to negligent attitude of duty bearers.


On 05.04.12 around 4pm at afternoon when 62 yrs old Biresh Sardar, a mentally retarded person was returning home with his cow then on his way back Jhalu Mondal and Ravi Mondal with some other people attacked him with bamboo stick and rod and started beating him. Malati came to save her brother from the battering and she was also brutally beaten by these miscreants. Malati and her bother were severely injured and they were profusely bled they did not have even on their sense. When the neighbours found them in the poor condition they rescued them and brought them to Godhapara Primary Health Centre for medical treatment. The treatment was done in the hospital and on 06.04.12 Malati Oraon lodged a complaint to the Officer- In- Charge of Raninagar Police Station, Murshidabad stating all the facts of 05.04.12 and prayed for proper investigation of this heinous act of Jhalu Mondal and others.


But it is very unfortunate that the Police force did not take the complaint seriously and not duly registered her complaint. On 01.05.12 on and around 12pm at Noon when Malati and her family were not present in their hut, in that opportune moment the perpetrator Jhalu Mondal and others entered to her hut and they stole medical prescriptions and reports and some of their belongings from her hut. This incident was also reported in writing by the victim Malati Oraon to the Officer- In- Charge of Raninagar Police Station, Murshidabad on 02.05.11. But the police did not take any action against the perpetrators Jhalu Mondal and others.  Then on 11.06.12 Malati Oraon found no other way made a complaint stating all the facts of the incidents on 05.04.12 and 01.05.12 to the District Magistrate of Murshidabad.


The Raninagar Police Station has not registered a First Information Report (FIR), though the two complaints have enough material for the same. The offences meted were cognizable in nature. So, this was a clear violation of section 154 of Criminal Procedure Code. The police not even treated the incident according to the spirit lies in ‘The Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act’ and not booked the errant according to its purview. Though, the offence was identical to the listed offence of atrocities in chapter 2, section 3(1) (v) of the Act as ‘Wrongfully dispossesses a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe from his land or premises or interferes with the enjoyment of his rights over any land, premises or water’. The police personnel defied the Act by violating section 4 as said in the Act as ‘Whoever being a public servant but not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, willfully neglects his duties required to performed by him under this Act, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to one year.


In other hand, Ms. Sarathi Mondal lost her husband and now living with her minor son; Gobindo Mondal aged about 15 years. The mother – son duo forced to live in government vest land by erecting thatched hut after loosing their dwellings and all other belongings in incessant erosion and flood caused by river Padma in the year 1998. Ms. Sarathi Mondal aged about 43 years, wife of Late Haripada Mondal is living at village- Char Sahebnagar, Post Office- Border Para, Police Station- Raninagar, and District- Murshidabad from the year 1999.  Now, her dwelling is in verge of collapse and she is not in a condition to repair it. The worried mother; Sarathi is also not in a position to fend her minor son. The influential political persons of the locality are trying to dislodge her from the place with ulterior reasons, which compounded her agony. Sarathi under tremendous pressures from this section failed to lodge a formal complaint to local police but she made an application before the office of the District Magistrate stating her impoverished situation and requested for adequate arrangement of her adobe under the scheme of Indira Awas Yojna and relevant Patta (ownership/ title) of the land in which she is residing with her son. Before making a complaint to the District Magistrate on 24.6.2012, she made several requests to the concern Panchayet functionaries but not received any response from them.


It is an utter failure of deliverances on the parts of State machineries and irony lies on the fact that Ms. Sarathi does not posses ration card or any other governmental documents stating her socio- economic identity. Her name has not been listed in bellow poverty category which further deprived her from receiving benefits of listed schemes meant for poor and disadvantaged.


Ms. Sarathi categorically demanded for patta (title) of the land in which she is residing now, In this connection she also made a request in given format to Block Land and Land Reform Officer; Raninagar ll Block under Domkal sub division of Murshidabad district stating the schedule of the land as under Basgora Mouza, JL No. 87, Dag No. 1734. The area of the said land is 5 decimal. But till date no measure has been taken by that office.


I also want to draw your attention that apart from these referred persons a large number of aged and impoverished populace are living at the said Char area, who are being continuously deprived off the governmental deliverances meant for this section of people. In this regard I made specific complaints to you for few of them, who are being left of from the benefits. Please extend the benefits to the persons for whom I made request and conduct a census for identification of such persons of the area.


In this connection I demand for:-


  • The victims; Ms. Malati Oraon and Ms. Sarathi Mondal must be provided with prescribed assistance or benefits in accordance to the state deliverances; Antodaya and Annapurna Yojna, she and her family must be enlisted under BPL category and 100 days employment must be guaranteed to them under MGNREGA.
  • The complaint made by Ms. Malati Oraon should be registered as First Information Report (FIR) and an apt inquiry should be initiated
  • The livelihood of the victims is at stake and the police and block administration did not even treat the incident according to the spirit lies in ‘The Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act’ and not booked the errant according to its purview. Though, the offence was identical to the listed offence of atrocities as ‘Wrongfully dispossesses a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe from his land or premises or interferes with the enjoyment of his rights over any land, premises or water’. So the errant should be booked under the prescribed penal provisions of ‘The Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act’
  • Malati Oraon with her brother should be financially compensated for their loss borne due to physical torture and ransacking of their house
  • The victims should provided with a proper shelter and safety and security of the victim should be guaranteed with due protection measures
  • The irresponsible and delinquent police personnel, block administration and Panchayet officials should be charged for non compliance of legal provisions
  • The Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act should be complied by the law enforcing agencies in verbatim.


Thanking You





(Kirity Roy)

Secretary – MASUM


UN Survey on women Make your voice heard #Vaw #Womenrights #Gender #Justice #1billionrising

Civil Society Section
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

 Survey on discrimination against women in economic and social life

 Make your voice heard


Dear all,

the Working Group on Discrimination against Women invites you to contribute to its 2014 report by taking the survey on discrimination against women in economic and social life available at this link:

The Working Group on Discrimination against Women is a special procedure established by the Human Rights Council in 2010. It has been tasked to identify, promote and exchange views on good practices to eliminate discrimination against women in law and in practice. The Working Group will devote its thematic report, to be presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2014, on women’s economic and social life, in particular during time of economic crisis. The inputs you will provide through the survey will inform the report. The deadline for reply is 1st of March 2013.

Depending on your expertise and experiences, you might want to respond to only some of the questions or some of the sections of the survey. Please be assured that all responses will remain confidential.

Please see the survey’s introduction for further details.

The Working Group thanks you very much for your time and efforts.

For more information on the Working Group see:


#India- Theatre fest takes hit, plays by two Pakistani groups cancelled

Dipanita Nath : New Delhi, Fri Jan 18 2013, 02:40 hrs

After hockey players from Pakistan returned home from India following tensions over the killing of two Indian soldiers , two Pakistani theatre groups felt the diplomatic ripples on Thursday.

Fearing trouble, the National School of Drama, which organises the annual theatre festival Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM), cancelled shows by NAPA Repertory Theatre and Ajoka Theatre. Both were due to stage plays on Saadat Hasan Manto, who chronicled the horrors of Partition and supported a tolerant society.

The curtains came down on NAPA a few hours before it was to stage Mantorama, directed by Sunil Shankar, at Kamani auditorium Thursday.

“The Ministry of Culture was apprehensive that disruptive elements might not allow the play to proceed smoothly. They do not want the audience to be hurt or injured and have decided to withdraw the two shows,” said NSD chairperson Amal Allana.

BRM is considered Asia’s largest theatre festival and features a selection of Indian and foreign productions. Pakistani troupes have always been a part of the line-up, with Ajoka having taken part more than five times.

The warning bells rang Wednesday, when Ajoka’s Kaun Hai Yeh Gustakh, which was to be presented at Ravindra Manch in Jaipur as part of a parallel festival, was cancelled. The play, directed by Madeeha Gauhar, revolves around events after Manto’s migration to Pakistan.

“It would have been held at a public venue in Jaipur and the state government asked us not to proceed with it. Both groups have performed at previous editions of BRM but we had to keep the safety of the audience in mind,” Allana said. “The groups have not been banned or censored, only (shows) cancelled.”


Rajasthan: Accused of rape, MLA’s husband roaming free #Vaw #Justice

RAJASTHAN, Posted on Jan 18, 2013 at 02:05pm IST

Jaipur: The husband of Congress MLA Jahida Khan, who was accused of raping a woman two years ago in Bharatpur, has been declared absconder by a court in Rajasthan. The victim has been fighting for justice for over two years. Now, she claims that the accused Jaleesh Khan is threatening her and her family and has also offered Rs 50 lakh to change her statement. Following the threats the victim has appealed to the district magistrate to provide her security.

Accused Jaleesh Khan is the head of Kama panchayat and his wife Jahida is a MLA from same place. Khan has been accused of abducting and taking the victim to Haryana and then raping her.

According to the victim the police did not register her complaint as the accused is a powerful person. Then the victim moved the court which directed the police to register the case and investigate it. Even though the police registered the case after the court’s intervention, but till now the accused has not been arrested.

The court has declared the accused as absconder. But the accused is allegedly roaming free and threatening the victim. The victim and her family have sent a written complaint to the District Magistrate and IG Bharatpur asking for security.


#India- Immortalising broken wings #dance #Vaw #Justice #1billionrising


Swiss pianist Elizabeth Sombart and Indian dancer Mallika Sarabhai.
Swiss pianist Elizabeth Sombart and Indian dancer Mallika Sarabhai.

A dance to commemorate women battling gender violence.

 If music be the food of love, play on, wrote Shakespeare. Swiss pianist Elizabeth Sombart’s music comes from her love for all the “assassinated” women of the world, whose memory she wants to honour. As she plays she asks listeners to “come light a star in the memory of a woman or girl you know who was killed. Give her name and we shall together build a celestial memorial for her”.

Elizabeth is as good as her word. Recently in India, she described her project ‘Women with Broken Wings’: “There are so many war memorials the world over. All of them are for men. There’s no space to commemorate the billions of women whose lives are snuffed out, who are raped or are victims of other kinds of gender violence.” Her memorial ( strives to raise global consciousness on crimes against the women “whose wings were broken. With this simple action, we shall help remember and bring about a change.” She relates a poignant story of a Lebanese teenager who had expressed her admiration for the Web site. Ironically and tragically, a month later she became a victim of honour killing by her brother.

In the backdrop of the murderous gangrape in Delhi recently and the fury in its wake, Elizabeth’s collaborative ballet with renowned Indian danseuse Mallika Sarabhai, director of the Ahmedabad-based Darpana Dance Academy, comes at the right time.

Titled ‘Women with Broken Wings’, it premiered in Ahmedabad last fortnight. Pointing out that violence against women remains unabated. Mallika says her experience of three decades had convinced her that more than “serious talk” cultural programmes worked better in raising public consciousness. Her dance, accompanied by Elizabeth on the piano, portrays the 11 states of mind of the assaulted woman — birth; discovery and exploration; the inner and outer worlds; unknown fears and self-discovery; betrayal and breakdown; lament; fleeing and failing; the soul’s cry; the march of the martyrs; consolation; and, finally, the way forward.

The performance, choreographed by Yadavan Chandran and Mallika Sarabhai, held the audience spellbound. One vignette depicting carefree childhood, where Mallika enacts a girl playing hopscotch, is particularly poignant. Elizabeth’s rendition of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 17The Tempest, was apt for the section ‘Unknown Fears and Self-Discovery’. Her interpretation of Chopin for both ‘Betrayal and Breakdown’ and ‘Lament’ was truly extraordinary. The ‘March of the Martyrs’ was followed by silence in a mark of respect. The performance ended on a positive note, with ‘The Way Forward’ exuding hope.

The work resonated perfectly with the One Billion Rising (OBR) international campaign against violence spearheaded by renowned playwright and actor Eve Ensler. As Mallika explains, “Our common interest got us to collaborate and participate in the OBR campaign.” She now plans to organise a garba dance by over 20,000 people, including children, to mark the culmination of OBR on February 14, also celebrated as Valentine’s Day or the international day of love.

“Since the OBR call is to dance against violence, garba is the most relevant in Gujarat, and artists will compose songs for us. Every woman here dances it during Navratri. Gujarat is a State where hundreds of rapes take place, where innumerable women are burnt because of dowry, and where violence on women is rapidly increasing. This is also a State where lots of villages are without girls because of rampant sex-selective abortions. We need to end this genocide and gendercide urgently, and we are using our abilities and art to do this,” she says.

The ballet performance in Delhi last week was followed by Eve Ensler’s dramatic rendering of vignettes from her play I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World, at an event hosted by Sangat, which is coordinating OBR’s South Asia campaign. The ballet next travelled to Chandigarh (Punjab) and Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala).

Delighted with the collaboration, Elizabeth stresses that there is no place for ego in music: “I dedicate every note to each woman who has suffered violence, and there are at least 100,000 notes in a ballet like this. So I believe I am honouring 100,000 women each time I play it.”

© Women’s Feature Service



IMMEDIATE RELEASE-Slavery in the name of religion; modern manifestation of Devadasi


: Dr. Ruth Manorama, Dalit Foundation


Bangalore 17, Jan 2013.

A two days (15th & 16th Jan2013) national round table consultation organised by Dalit Foundation and Samta Trust on eradication of Devadasi system held at Aashirvad, Marks Road, Bangalore. The consultation began with the key note address by Ruth Manorama, National president of NAWO. In her address she stressed on how in spite of strong laws and government welfare programmes Devadasi system is prevailing in the country.  And the only difference we see in present day is that it has manifested in modern forms in terms of name and its existence particularly in four states Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra”. She said, we are not just flesh stock but we are human who have the right to be free from all kinds of exploitation, to be treated with respect and dignity. Social activists, academicians, leaders from civil society, govt officials and victims of Devadasi system came together to share & discuss to form a strategy for the eradication of Devadasi system through proper implementation of law and welfare programmes.


Chandrashekhar, a researcher and founder of SAMATA TRUST shared his experience of working with the devadasi women in Koppal and partial findings of his PhD research. He says more than 99% Devadasi women belong Scheduled caste community. Giving the historical context of devadasi system he pointed out the problems that the victims of devadasi women face in the society, while dealing with the systems of government. Even they hold voter ID card but do not have access to the govt welfare programmes. He stresses that this is specifically due to lack of sensitivity, caste mind set and ignorance among govt officials. The victims of Devadasi system suffer multiple levels of discrimination and ignorance not only from the government but civil society too.  Children of Devadasi, who do not have father’s name to give in the schools during admissions, suffer from discrimination as they are not getting admissions in the schools and other benefits ensured by the govt through various welfare programmes made exclusively for the eradication of devadasi system. .Even opening a bank account is not possible for the devadasi. There are around 28,000 devadasi in the ten districts in the state of Karnataka who suffering acute exploitation due to this social evil in the most developed state of the country.


Divya, a researcher from TISS shared part of her research experience with the Devadasi of Northern Karnataka, which focussed on to understand the present form of devadasi from the experience of devadasi women. The relationship between caste hierarchy and patriarchal values of the social cultural set up of the region has a greater role in the perpetuation of the system and complicating the life of devadasi women in terms of their kin relations, and their relation with other people in the society, occupation and livelihood.  Even opening a bank account is not possible for the devadasi.


Akhilavasan, Co-convenor, People Health Movement, Karnataka said that Health is a fundamental rights under human rights which must be non discrimination and with the perspective of social justice and equality. Majority of Devadasi are suffering from critical health diseases including HIV and AIDS but due to the acute discrimination on the basis of caste, they are not getting proper treatment.


Academicians, social activist and victims demanded five acres of land which can be cultivated to the victims of Devadasi, time bound status report from the Govt on Devadasi’s and ensure free admission with hostel facilities to the children of Devadasi. The victims of Devadasi system vibrantly participated and shared their experience of being a devadasi.


On the second day strategic planning for the future action was the focus. This session was facilitated by Mr. Pradeep Esteeves, where devadasi women themselves participated in forming the future plan of action by identifying their problems that they were facing.  The major concern that came up was social exclusion, stigma, redtapism in availing the government services, identity. The need was felt to have a national level movement with a strong grass root level participation.  The groups felt the need of involving the community, government, media, social activists and organisations in carrying out the action to eradicate the system.


Chandrashekhara  HR                                                                                                                  Date: 15.01.13




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