#Delhigangrape inspired Swaang to pen A song for a Song #1billionrising #Mumbai #Vaw


Photo: ATTN MUMBAI- For the first time ..... SWANG  Cultural Group will perform live their protest song, on VIOELNCE AGAINST WOMEN  'Maa nee meri .."not to MISS join us at BANDSTAND AMPHITHEATRE, BANDRA, 530PM onwards 14Th feb

 

Why we felt we had to write a song for the Delhi rape victim

SWAANG PERFORMS THE SONG MAA NI MERI FIRST TIME LIVE AT MUMBAI, ONE BILLION RISING FREEDOM FROM FEAR, AMPHITHEATRE BANDSTAND, BANDRA ON FEB 14TH 5.30PM ONWARDS COME JOIN US AND RSVP

 

https://www.facebook.com/OneBillionRisingMumbai

 

Ravinder Randhava and Swara Bhaskar:

 

What occurred in December last year was not the first gangrape in India, or the last. But what was it about that ghastly night that brought thousands of people across class, caste and gender out to the streets, demanding justice? The answer came in the reports of how the young woman fought her captors. Her fight to survive, and her defiance in the face of unimaginable brutality, made us realise that she would not be forgotten — because we would tell her story. We would celebrate her courage, her will to survive, her fearlessness and her defiance. We would remind ourselves that she was more than a gangrape victim. That she was a fighter. That women are more than bodies that can be violated.

So, we decided to write a song not to mourn her death, but to celebrate her spirit. And thus the song, “Maa nee Meri” was created by Swaang (available at http://goo.gl/ADFsa). The song was created as a protest song, as a song of defiance, addressed to the mother, not just as a mother, but as a woman, a daughter, a wife, a sister and a victim. The idea was to begin by problematising the culture of silent suffering and sacrifice that is valorised, romanticised and idealised in India as a strength inherent to women. We also questioned a culture of parenting that teaches fear, submissiveness, obedience and precaution as virtues, thereby silently transferring the onus of a crime onto the victim. This girl would not remain silent, she would speak out, fight, drown, but not swim obediently with the tide of patriarchal norms (“Maa nee meri mitti moorat, main nee goonga patthar banana”).

The song looked beyond the perpetrators and rapists as those obviously responsible for such crimes. It laid responsibility on the larger public, on citizens, families, lawmakers, law keepers, keepers of faith and morality. It indicted all of us, “un chhey mein shaamil tum bhi thhey, yeh kaam toh hai hamdardon ka (You were amongst those six, this is the doing of well wishers)”, for being callous, complacent and comfortable in the security of our drawing rooms, for thinking “better safe than sorry”, for not fighting. We also tried to reflect a historical imagination about violence against women in our country and thus made references to 1984, 1992 and 2002; an acknowledgement that at each historical moment of public turmoil and conflict, women were victimised.

Finally, we conclude the song with the reminder that rape is not death. That even the idea of rape being the effective end of the life of the victim is deeply problematic. This understanding of rape reduces the entire existence and individuality of women to “jism ke dhaai inchon mein (two-and-a-half inches of the body)”, and is precisely the logic that perpetrators function on when they choose to rape women to “teach them a lesson” or “show them their place”. This notion is the cornerstone of any patriarchal understanding of women and is so widespread in our society that it is reflected in popular culture again and again, the most recently controversial of which has been Punjabi singer Honey Singh’s grossly offensive music, such as the song “C***t”.

Ours is a world where art is in thrall to the logic of markets. Any sensational, shock-value laden “product” that trades in existing stereotypes will be successful. This is a perverse culture that renders the role of the artist in a society obsolete by turning the artist into a vendor. Art must never be empty, instant entertainment. Because art, by looking beyond the obvious, can channel collective angst into a more constructive expression that can create a positive change.This is why the artist has a responsibility to oppose regressive works parading as popular culture. And thus, in the context of a land where violence against women is endemic, art that celebrates sexism and misogyny and glorifies masculinity in its most brutal form is regressive and ought to be questioned.

For every “C***t”, we must create songs that celebrate and remember that “she” fought. That she was one and they were six but afraid she was not (“Vekh maayi nee main lad ke aayi, kalli o chhey par na darr ke aayi”). We must continue to fight, to challenge, to protest. Because only then will we be able to move from a perverse misogynist culture to one that empowers, both in art and in life.

Ravinder Randhawa and is a Mumbai-based screenwriter. Swara Bhaskar is a Mumbai-based actor

 

An Appeal to ALL MEN to Join the #1billionrising Campaign


Members of Forum to Engage Men (FEM) are shocked and upset over the never ending stream of reports of violence against women in our society. While the secondary status of women in a male-centric world has been an issue of concern, the extent of brutality and sexual violence that is increasingly becoming evident makes it extremely important that all sections of society, especially men, stand up, resist and react against all such violence acts. Satish Kumar Singh Convenor of FEM and Deputy Director of the Centre for Health and Social Justice says “When I see or hear any incident of violence against women, I feel hurt and vulnerable because of my inability to stop the incident. Today there are various studies that show that nearly one in every three women will be beaten, harassed or raped in her lifetime. This is a very large number. Although not all men are perpetrators, most if not all men remain silent and do not speak out against this violence. We believe that all the men who are not speaking out against Violence Against Women (VAW) end up as contributors to this violence by silent endorsement. There is a serious need to challenge our role as the silent spectator. All men have to speak out and oppose VAW. It is the biggest crime and human rights violation on earth and the responsibility of ending VAW cannot be put on women’s shoulders alone.”

The One Billion Rising (OBR) movement is a collection of global voices, rising on 14th February, 2013 to stand up against all the atrocities against women. This call resonates with the stance of FEM that deep seated gender inequalities and patriarchal notions of masculinity allow these atrocities to happen and go unchallenged. FEM believes that men also have to take a leading role to eliminate such practices.

Anand Pawar, executive director of SAMYAK an NGO in Pune, is taking a lead to mobilise men across the state of Maharashtra to stand up and be counted on the occasion of the One Billion Rising campaign. He says, “While working with men is becoming one of the key approaches in the development sector, many of these initiatives are not necessarily informed with feminist perspectives and practice. These remain technical and their analysis of patriarchy is superficial. OBR provides an opportunity for men to participate in a campaign lead by women’s groups and understand feminist perspectives in organising protests against violence against women. It is very important that men across the world stand in support of OBR.”

Members of FEM have been working to stop Violence Against Women in different parts of the country. Notably in UP, FEM members of MASVAW (Men’s Action for Stopping Violence Against Women) have been protesting against VAW along with women’s groups over the last decade. On 14th February, members of FEM in different parts of the country, will be rising on the occasion of OBR to make ourselves be counted in the struggle for gender equality. We call upon all men and boys who want such atrocities to end to join us.

For more information contact: Dr. Abhijit Das (9871713314)

Satish Kumar Singh (9910589201) Phillip Perl (9818562923)

FEM : Forum To Engage Men and Boys for Gender Equality

(www.femindia.net)

Secretariat : CHSJ, Basement of Young Women’s Hostel No2, Avenue 21, G Block, Saket, New Delhi 1100117. Ph.:011-26511425, 26535203

#MUMBAI- One billion Rising for freedom from fear #1billionrising #reasontorise #vaw #menrise


meeta

By Kamayani Bali Mahabal, 13TH fEB 2013

tOMMORROW is   Februray  14  what does it stand stand for? Valentine day, right ?, no there is  another connotation attached to it, this year globallY it will be the  Violence free- day. The movement is aptly named ‘One Billion  Rising’, and it has been started by feminist writer, Eve Ensler, who
wrote and performed ‘The Vagina Monologues‘, 15 years ago.
The figure of one billion has been worked out on the basis of  available statistics that one out of three women on this earth will
experience violence in her lifetime, which means a staggering one  billion women on this planet would be impacted by violence. “Rise and  dance” is the vociferous message of One Billion Rising – a global campaign demanding the end of violence against women.On February 14, there will be 13, 000 organizations in  192 countries around the world  holding noisy, energetic events encouraging “activists, writers, thinkers, celebrities, women and men” to “strike, dance and rise”. In > India many cities and  groups are part of OBR both from urban and  rural areas

Women are not a homogenous group, The majority of the world’s poorest > people are women, who are further affected by discrimination if they  belong to minority groups. Women suffer disproportionately from  discriminatory labour practices and are frequently forced into  underground or informal sectors. Women who are discriminated against  on the basis of both gender and caste  are frequently subject to  violence. In armed conflicts, women are sometimes explicitly targeted  because of their ethnic background. Rape and other forms of violence  against women have been used as weapons of war in conflicts throughout history. Violence against women has been a major trope of the women’s > movement in India, right from the incidents of rape against women like  Mathura and Rameeza Bee in the 1970s. Over the last few months, especially after the Delhi Gang Rape , One Billion Rising campaign, we  have  revisited this theme , coming together to recommend to Justice  verma committee,. In  Mumbai  what t is unique about this is event  is  being ‘ most diverse and inclusive”, we have women representing variosy  marginalized sections of our society- the disabled, dalit, sexual > minorities, muslims ,participating to say  no to violence, and to also give a message that women with different needs have different rights

In  Mumbai , several woman organizations, youth groups and Bollywood  celebrities have come together to show  Mumbai’s ‘ solidarity towards  a violence-free city. The campaign one billion rising- Freedom from  fear, on 14th February will be the beginning of
These one billion rising- Freedom from fear is calling  all Mumbaikars  to join the mass event, which has rainbow hues of music, dance, poetry, and Rap.  Farhan Akhtar will be singing  and  reciting his  poem penned after the Delhi Gang Rape incident. Meeta
Vashisht will do an excerpt from the renowned performance of ‘ lal  dedh,   Young rappers including women rapper will showcase their talent on the  issue. and Swanmg group will perfomr. Maa ni main nahi darna .  Rahul Bose  would recite Man prayer.

Swaang cultural group will for the first time perform live tehir protest song maa ni meri which they wrote after delhi Gang Rape

The program  will end with the  flash dance Indian National anthem of ‘ break the  chains” adapted in Hindi. and we will dance on it

NOT TO MISS COME JOIN US ENTRY FREE

Youc an find video here

and the mP3 youc an find here

https://soundcloud.com/kractivist/one-billion-rising-indian

 In a patriarchal society like ours, the demands for a  non-discriminatory mindset and a gender sensitive society are not  going to be achieved in day or a month or even a year. It needs  consistent and self-directed actions by all of us without delaying or deferring the responsibility on each other, and one billion rising Freedom from fear is one such attempt towards a continuous process of changing mind sets . Let us make it a great event highlighting women’s rights and equality in the city, all are invited and entry is free

CALLING MUMBAI JOIN US

BANDRA AMPHITHEATRE, BANDSTAND, NEAR TAJ LANDSEND  5.30PM ONWARDS

for mroe information contact kamayani 9820749204

PL JOIN US ON FACEBOOK- https://www.facebook.com/OneBillionRisingMumbai

PL RSVP EVENT-https://www.facebook.com/events/158240337660310/

 

The Media must be part of the solution, not the porblme- -NWMI #Vaw #Womenrights



 
Network of Women in Media, India Calls for More Sensitive Coverage of Violence against Women 

The Network of Women in Media, India, celebrating its 10th anniversary at a national convention attended by

about 80 media women from across the country, discussed various aspects of the theme, ‘Women, Violence
and the Media,’ over a weekend meeting in Mumbai (1-3 February 2013). A public
meeting on 2 February 2013 focussed on how the news media can better report
issues of women, violence and public space.

Taking note of the public outrage over, and media coverage of, the recent
brutal gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi, the NWMI expresses
grave concern over the increasing incidence of violence against girls and women
all across India, in public as well as private spaces.  As women journalists we believe it is
important to recognise that the Delhi case exposed only the tip of the iceberg
of gender violence, much of which does not receive adequate media or public
attention.

We appreciate the fact that the media responded to the gang-rape in Delhi and
the public outcry that followed with prominent and largely sympathetic
coverage.

However, we recognise that media coverage is often a double-edged
sword.  On the positive side, it
increases public awareness about such crimes and puts pressure on the
authorities to take action. On the negative side, incessant coverage of certain
cases, particularly sensationalised cases of sexual violence, can obscure the
widespread prevalence of many different forms of daily violence against women
all over the country.  Unless it is
balanced and sensitively handled, such coverage can also be voyeuristic and
titillating;  it can increase the sense
of vulnerability and insecurity among girls and women (including survivors of
such violence), and lead to restrictions on their freedom and rights.

In addition, some of the media coverage in the immediate aftermath of the
gang-rape in Delhi provoked and amplified strident calls for harsher
punishments for such crimes – capital punishment, chemical castration, and so
on – despite the fact that most women’s groups with long experience in dealing
with gender violence have consistently cautioned against such kneejerk
reactions that could worsen the situation.

We recall the thousands of girls and women all over the country who have been
physically, sexually, psychologically abused and injured or killed. As
journalists we urge the media to pay due attention to sexual violence perpetrated
on Dalits and Adivasis, as well as women in militarised zones, where security
forces are granted impunity by law.

We renew our commitment to working towards ensuring that media coverage of
violence against women is more sensitive and nuanced, enabling victims and
survivors to get justice in an environment where women feel safe and can
exercise their right to equal citizenship.

The Network of Women in
Media, India
Mumbai, 3 February 2013

 

#India – has Yo Yo Honey Singh already won ? #Rap #Vaw


Garga Chatterjee | Agency: DNA

A song that celebrates rape and sung allegedly by Honey Singh has been ‘discovered’. The tragedy in Delhi created the ground for this. If the discovery was supposed to raise awareness against the contents of the songs, that scheme has failed miserably. The number of online views of the said song has shot up steeply ever since the free publicity. Honey has denied singing the ‘Balatkari’ song.

Many people and groups, who, till yesterday had hardly heard of Honey Singh or this song, have assembled his paper and cloth idols to consign them to flames in public amidst much supportive sloganeering. This speedy move from relative ignorance to active denunciation, however heartfelt, is all too familiar. This has also given a good cover to misogynists to peddle high-decibel righteousness. If morality-fired censorship riding high on the back of a human tragedy is not immoral and cynical, I do not know what is. Even more cynical is how some such groups stand side-by-side folks who have devoted decades working at the grassroots – Honey has provided a strange equalizing opportunity, a short-cut.

Many patriotic songs are full of exhortation of death and killing of name-less ‘enemies’. ‘Religious songs’ have elements of killing demons (considered by many as euphemism for Dalits) and infidels. Most of the folks who want to stop watching Anurag Kashyap’s movies for his association with Honey, will not stop using products that are advertised using advertisements that ‘objectify’ women or boycott filmstars who publicly endorse such products. Walking the talk requires a different culture than consumer culture. We are like this only.

Honey Singh has put to tune fantasies that are known and liked widely — what many draw on bathroom walls. Some argue that the free distribution of such material creates an ambience that facilitates viewing women in a certain way – rape is a part of that way of viewing. The individual, in such a milieu, has a greater propensity to rape. The problem with such conjectures is that they do not have a clear causal relationship with criminal action. In the absence of that crucial strict causal link between action and crime, to criminalise human behaviour, however reprehensible it may be to some, leads all of us down an extremely slippery path. Theories of broad propensity are good enough. Consider the implications of this for the ‘single, migrant, underclass, male’ theory.

We should strive towards a fuller understanding of the popularity of songs such as these. The sad use of ‘impressionable children’ to grind their own axe has to stop. There is no evidence that grandfathers from ‘purer’ times are any less likely to grope. And why should everything be ‘family friendly’ anyways? Media ‘explicitness’ as a cause for sexual violence also tacitly legitimizes the ‘titilation’ theory. The less said about that, the better. We have more to lose by sacrificing free expression than the supposed gains of censoring Honey Singh.

There is an anxiety that unless there are curbs, Honeys will take all. There is a tacit acknowledgement that there is no robust alternative on offer. And there is the rub. There is a secret fear that there is no cultural repertoire that is up-to-date and ‘presentable’ as alternative to ‘the youth’. Beyond religion and sex, the relationship of the market with non-sexual elements of ‘Lok-sanskriti’ is faint. Real ‘Lok’ is important in production, consumption and propagation. When profiteers limit ‘Lok’ only to consumption, we have a problem. Organised industry has a certain idiom it is comfortable with. Socially rooted cultural produce without corporate intermediaries, say, the Baul-shahajiya minstrels, thrive in a supportive ecology. One cannot take away the ecology and then expect that it will continue its own evolution, as if nothing changed.

No number of ‘folk-music’ festivals in Delhi can provide alternatives in the backdropwhere ‘folk’ are systematically displaced and brutalized on a daily basis. Music and art, in their many shades, spring forth from life. Without it, it is simply a plant without roots — destined to die sooner or later. The new world selectively cuts roots. Hence Honey lives. After the destruction of rooted cultural idioms and ways of life, from where does one expect songs of life to spring? What will the songs be about – since sadness and pain are ‘unfit’ for modern consumption? Even the idea of songs from struggles of the displaced is met with the some kind of mental cringe, if not a mental block. Consumption is the basic framework in the new world. And there are no holy hills, groves, cultures, homelands, people. Honey Singh has sung the allegorical anthem of the new world. He may have sung it a bit too loudly, at an inopportune time.

Garga Chatterjee is a postdoctoral scholar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

Cultures cause violence against women not the length of skirts #Vaw #Womenrights #moralpolicing


Banamallika Choudhury

‘We have low crime statistics here’ our instructor at Chulalongkorn University told us during the orientation of new students in Bangkok. “Most common thing that can happen to you is someone snatching your bag away or cheating you off your money. And we do not have crime against women,” she said. At that point I wondered if she really meant it or if it was her English. For how can there be no crime against women in a city as big and bad as Bangkok? 3 months of living there later, it turned out that indeed it is a city very safe for women.

A lifetime’s experience of growing up in India and the rising incidents of violence against women makes me think – why is it that just across a few hundred km, there are places, people, countries where it is absolutely safe for me to be a tourist, wear the shortest of shorts and walk back drunk from a night club alone at 2 O’clock in the night. And how is it that my own society, where I am born and where I have grown up and where I continue to live makes me feel unsafe taking a city bus during the day to work?

Of the recent Delhi gang-rape case, the anger that young people demonstrated on the streets of Delhi and the solidarity shown from other parts of the country is inspiring. However, some of the opinions that floated on my facebook page were disturbing. It looked to me like most people thought stricter law and punishment would end violence against women. Not really, I say. For we already have many laws and punishment in place but this has been no deterrent to patriarchal mindsets that perpetrate women’s subordination. Yes, the question is about subordination and discrimination. Not how brutal or how ghastly the crime is. And here lies the answer of culture.

Only a change in cultural practices and attitudes towards women will change the societies which right now are terribly tilted to one side. How women are treated in a society is not only reflected by how terribly they are raped but also how women are restricted in their daily lives. The fact that inherently most people feel women are weak, less informed, needing protection at the best and loose, immoral and should be controlled at the worst show that women are generally considered unequal in our societies and mind. But these ideas about women are not the same in all societies. These considerations about women change from Delhi to Lhasa, from Guwahati to Shillong, from Dimapur to Imphal and from Agartala to Aizawl. This shows it is all in the mind and all in the culture.

The good thing is cultures can be changed. In Thailand’s history of women, it is said in their societies too women occupied a lesser position, were expected to be caring, docile and looking after their husband, children and family. Their popular King Rama IV, who tried to modernize the country somewhere in the middle 1800s, was sure that women’s status in their society needs to change for them to become a modern nation. He took women out of the homes into the economic productivity zones and insisted they lower the length of their traditional skirt. Not that short skirts are a sure sign of modernization but his logic behind this was damn cool. He said that those long skirts limited women’s movement and if they had to go out and participate in the world equally with men, they better be able to move. That I call logic. Thailand’s endeavour for the equality of women continued beyond Rama IV. In 1932 Thailand was one of the first Asian countries to give voting power to women. Today, the Thai women make up for 47% of the workforce including businesses making them the highest percentage of women in the Asia-Pacific. Not that everything is perfect in Thailand, but it is also considered one of the safest countries in the world for women both domestic and tourists.

Therefore by taking measures, personal and official, we too can change things. For this a whole lot of self-questioning is prerequisite. Let us see what frivolous-yet-having-impact kind of myths are there about women in our society. Are women bad in maths and science? Can girls rapture their hymen by riding bicycles and climbing trees? Are they physically incapable of carrying heavy load or doing jobs that require physical strength? Are women cantankerous or nagging by nature? Do women listen to music? Are women mostly emotional that rational? Can women make sensible decisions about money, investment, buying of big things like cars, house, TV? Do they know what latest gadget has entered the market? Are single women cranky? Do all women have the desire to become a mother? Do women have less capacity to drink then men? Is menstruation a dirty thing? Are pregnant women something special? Have you ever told a boy he is acting like a girl if he is whining or crying? Do you find effeminate men funny or repulsive? Do you think you have a say in who your sister is hanging out, seeing, going around with? Do you have a say in what your girlfriend wears? Do you think women are goddesses or exotic creatures? Have you ever wondered what women were doing while history happened? Do you feel uncomfortable when someone says I am a feminist?

An honest answer to these questions will reveal how patriarchy plays out in the minutest of our daily events, thoughts, conversations. Most of the time, we let these things pass our lives without even registering the perpetration of patriarchy and violence against women they cause. Yes, rape is not the only violence against women. Patriarchal thoughts and practices are.

At times I despair thinking it has taken Thailand 200 years to reach where they are now (Thailand is just an example and not even a perfect one). But I am hopeful in knowing that it can be changed. Our commitment and will to change things have to start at the personal and reach out to the political level. The recent report of Justice Verma Committee

(http://www.thehindu.com/multimedia/archive/01340/Justice_Verma_Comm_1340438a.pdf) is a step towards this positive direction. In Arvind Narayan of Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore’s word “What is particularly moving and inspiring about the Report is that it does so by placing the autonomy and indeed the sexual autonomy of women at the very centre of its discourse.” (http://kafila.org/2013/01/25/the-verma-committee-alchemizing-anger-to-hope-arvind-narrain/). And this is precisely what we all need to do.

Put women in the centre. Recognise that every woman is an individual and has her opinion, feelings, circumstances and experiences, physicality, sexuality, aptitude, angels and demons. Let her decide what she wants. By assuming you can decide for your daughter, sister, friend, wife, neighbor and the girl on the street you are automatically putting her in an automatically subordinate position. And in an unequal world, there is bound to be violence.

Although I have found many similarities between South East Asia and North-East India, I feel sad to say that this is one of the aspects where the dissimilarity is stark. The societies of North-East which were supposed to be more equal for women are changing fast to compete with the most gender violent places. Walking about in Guwahati, the similarity is more with Delhi than with Hanoi although our physical distance is the opposite. And only by accepting this and not harping on the myth that North-East is safe for women, can we begin changing. If we have to emulate and adopt other cultures, let us chose the ones that are more respectful to its members. Let us chose the ones that ensure safety for all. Let us resist the ones that drag us down to a violent future. Let this be our neo-colonial resistance.

Banamallika Choudhury loves to travel and talk. Her mainstay passion is the North-East of India and the post-sub-neo discourses. Luckily her job with ActionAid India provides opportunities to practice all of these daily.

 original article -http://www.thethumbprintmag.com

 

MC Manmeet lambasts YO YO Honey Singh and his #Rap #Vaw #1billionrising #protest #Foe


Manmeet Kaur the bubbly , lively ,  woman rapper , a  Japaite ,   set the stage on fire  at the program  ON 26TH jAN 2013, at Ambedkar bhavan  bhavan in Mumbai. The program on freedom of expression ‘ bOl ke lab azaad hain tere”.  T he program in support of freedom of speech and expression in Indian Constitution, A crusade for creativity – speak, your lips are free, had a plethora creative and artistic presentations in form of skits, songs, and dance .

No Indian can keep quiet, when the freedom of his country is for sale.

While the most lethal epidemic is spreading in the world, only a few humans stand resolute against the enemy of humanity and are determined to remain altruistic. At any given point of time, such people are only a small handful. Dictators consider them as a major threat, hence they first try to woo them to join the thieves’ guild and be one of them. If all fails, they are offered a high post in the governmental machinery, a position of power or even monetary funds, in order to silence their noble quest for ever. If these measures fail, they construct new prisons for these humane persons and try to crucify them.

What is going on today? There is a constitution in this country, albeit without a soul. All pillars of democracy are dilapidated. Only those who have financial capital, rule the media and can brag and pontificate on anything. The supporters of Brahmanism and under-belly of capitalism keep blabbering nonsense incessantly. Those who are misleading the society by screaming utter lies have been given freedom of expression; and those, who write and speak the truth are forcefully silenced either by means of the police power or by the side-kick fascist organisations. But these moves are no more a secret.

In video below Manmeet gives a very apt reply to Yo Yo Honey Singh and his rap music .

JOIN US FOR MUSICAL ACTIVISM HERE  JUSTICE AND PEACE FOR ALL

BLOCK FEB 14TH, FOR  ONE BILLION RISING MUMBAI, Manmeet and more  performnces hip hop, rap, belly dancing, flash dance

Here  is manmeeet singh, rapping on Yo Yo Honey Singh

 

#India- don’t focus too much on individuals in the battle against sexual violence, #Censorship #Vaw


PRERNA BAKSHI, The Hindu  #India-Towards a Decisive Victory in the Historic Battle for Women’s Rights

Against the recent backdrop of the gang rape incident in Delhi, rapper Honey Singh found himself surrounded by a number of protesting activists and NGOs. Some of his songs have come under the scanner and have been termed by these activists as offensive towards women.

However, the rapper himself has denied being associated with one such song which has in particular grabbed attention for demeaning women. The song has been doing the rounds on internet for quite some time even though neither the management nor the singer has claimed responsibility towards the ownership of the song.

While the trueownership of this song could be debatable, the question that needs to be asked is should this matter be given the amount of attention it has and more specifically, are songs such as those made by Honey Singh responsible for the growing rape and sexual violence towards women.

While it would be true to say that many of the contemporary songs do objectify women (of which Bollywood has a lot to answer for) which further affects the position of women in society, it is important not to lose sight of the bigger picture while making such claims.

On New Year’s Eve, Honey Singh was forced to withdraw from the show at Bristol Hotel where he was scheduled to perform. Many people on social media celebrated the occasion by terming it the ‘first battle won’ on the first day of the New Year. It is here where the masses, activists and progressives need to take a step back and reassess their goals and strategies in a manner which does not over generalize and trivialize the issue at stake.

While there is not enough space in this article to look deeply at these issues, I have highlighted them in order to contribute to the debate about both the causes of gender violence, and the debate about what can and should be done about it.

A few points must be taken into account. Firstly, by focusing primarily on a single agenda and on a single individual, notwithstanding how achievable or worthwhile it is, we lose sight of more significant issues, thereby weakening the argument and the cause itself. By no means should any form of derogatory remarks towards women be tolerated in songs or public speeches but it should be recognized that removing sexism in songs and speeches, though helpful, cannot in itself fix the problem.

Secondly, by focusing on silencing the sexist elements within one’s speech without taking into account the existing power structures prevalent within the society, any efforts made in this direction would prove to be futile in the long run. It is for this reason the ultimate goal should be to alter the existing gender power differentials by aiming for a radical social transformation in order to truly achieve its ultimate aim of women emancipation. This cannot take place without altering the very power structures that have given rise to the ideology that gets manifested in speech towards women. Thirdly, devoting too much time and resources in shutting down the activities of people like Honey Singh would unnecessarily shift the focus of the debate from the praxis of gender relations to a debate about freedom of speech and would end up dividing public opinion and complicating matters further.

This is not a suggestion that time and effort should not be spent in protesting against such people but rather that it is imperative to address and correct their sexist and misogynistic attitudes. It is also not suggested that people should have the right to free speech no matter how violent and discriminating it may be towards women but that it has to be met with responsibility and accountability. The only necessary point is to refrain from over generalizing the effects of certain songs on the whole praxis of gender relations and not to attribute certain songs wholly as the cause of sexual violence and rape crises prevalent in the society.

Fourthly, caution is to be exercised whilst advocating for a ban or censorship of certain songs as doing this could further provide an impetus to the reactionary conservative forces that could later use this move to further their own agenda of maintaining the status quo and perpetuating existing power structures and thus consequently could prove to be detrimental to a revolutionary change in the society.

Censorship may sound appealing when the censors are targeting people we dislike, but for anyone interested in social transformation, censorship is negative in the long run.It is for these reasons that attitudinal and discourse level changes cannot be brought about independently and remain strongly influenced by the material and structural conditions. Without a change on the structural level, any meaningful change would seem unattainable.

 

#India- Download Full Justice Verma Report #delhigangrape #Vaw #AFSPA


Download  here JS Verma Report on Gender Violence

Justice Verma Committee Report on Gender Violence AMENDMENTS TO CRIMINAL LAW

Appointed by Prime Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on December 23, 2012

Released  on January 23, 2013

Justice JS VERMA Justice

LEILA SETH

Gopal Subramniam

Over 80,000 suggestions were received by the Committee. Among these were those made by  Women against State Repression and Sexual Violence, Women with disabilities, human rights groups and many others 

The committee has suggested a range of reforms dealing with all kinds of sexual crimes against women. It is not that the report is immediately going to alter the effectiveness of policing, crime investigation or court trials in India. However, what is particularly heartening is that the committee has not looked at crime against women purely through a lens of ‘protection’ of women. That lens looks at public spaces as a male prerogative, and woman as a fragile creature that needs to be kept away for her own benefit.

Instead, the committee has looked at crime against women through a lens of autonomy, which says that all women have a right to bodily integrity, in all spaces, and all circumstances. That itself is a good start for a country like ours, where women’s ‘character’, clothing and ‘background’ are the first things to be examined in the event of a crime.

1. When a woman is raped, it does not mean that she has been shamed or ‘dishonoured.’ Nor is it a crime against her community’s ‘honour’. 

“We believe that there is no danger and no shame or loss of honour in a victim seeking redressal by filing complaints and must in fact exercise,  consistent with fundamental rights of women, the right to file complaints and bring offenders to book. We also think that it is the duty of the State to encourage such a climate and also to make  available such resources that enable them to file such complaints.”

“We think that it is necessary for the police officers to be completely sensitised against the honour-shame theory, and to treat every woman  complainant as an individual in her own right capable of asserting her grievance…We think that there has been a completely erroneous connection which is being made between a woman and a community. In other words, we feel very strongly  that an assault on a woman is an assault on the person of the woman.”

2. The absence of violence does not mean the presence of consent.

“Consent must be real… Thus, if the consent is obtained after giving the woman a threat of spreading false and scandalous rumours about her character or destruction of her property or injury to her children or parents or by holding out other threats of injury to her person, reputation or property, that consent will also not be consent under the third clause as recommended to be amended…The 84th Law Commission Report correctly said that violence was not mandatory.”

3. There must be consequences, if police fail to register FIRs.

“What is most surprising is that Parliament has ignored the recommendation of the 84th (Law Commission) Report, which calls for the punishment of a station-incharge who fails to register information of a cognisable offence given to him.”

4. The definition of sexual assault, while including rape should also include any other forms of assault that challenge women’s bodily integrity.

“We are of the considered opinion that in the Indian context it is important to keep a separate offence of ‘rape’. This is a widely understood term which also expresses society’s strong moral condemnation. In the current context, there is a risk that a move to a generic crime of ‘sexual assault’ might signal a dilution of the political and social commitment to respecting, protecting and promoting women’s right to integrity, agency and autonomy. However, there should also be a criminal prohibition of other, non-penetrative forms of sexual assault, which currently is not found in the IPC, aside from the inappropriate references to ‘outraging the modesty’ of women in Sections 354 and 509. We recommended the enactment of Section 354 in another form while we have recommended the repeal of Section 509.”

5. Marriage is not a license to rape.

“We, therefore, recommend that: i. The exception for marital rape be removed. ii. The law ought to specify that: a. A marital or other relationship between the perpetrator or victim is not a valid defence against the crimes of rape or sexual violation; b. The relationship between the accused and the complainant is not relevant to the inquiry into whether the complainant consented to the sexual activity; c. The fact that the accused and victim are married or in another intimate relationship may not be regarded as a mitigating factor justifying lower sentences for rape.”

6. Acid attacks need greater focus – in law, and in terms of practical support for victims.

“The gender specificity and discriminatory nature of this offence does not allow us to ignore this offence as yet another crime against women. We recommend that acid attacks be specifically defined as an offence in the IPC, and that the victim be compensated by the accused. However in relation to crimes against women, the Central and State governments must contribute substantial corpus to frame a compensation fund. We note that the existing Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2012, does include a definition of acid attack.”

7. The presence of AFSPA should not give armed forces personnel impunity for sexual violence in conflict zones.

“At the outset, we notice that impunity for systematic or isolated sexual violence in the process of Internal Security duties is being legitimized by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which is in force in large parts of our country… Sexual violence against women by members of the armed forces or uniformed personnel must be brought under the purview of ordinary criminal law.”

8. Rape is not about “lust” or “loss of control.”

“Thus, rape and other forms of sexual assault have been found to be consistently deployed as an expression of power and must not necessarily be seen as ‘crime of passion’ only. Sexual assaults on women and children has been found to be have been used consistently by State and private persons in conflict areas including in communal violence; where by raping women, men attempt to establish their superiority over the other. The Committee is of the view that such forms of sexual assault deserve to be treated as aggravated sexual offence in law.”

9. Imprisonment terms in sexual assault cases can be strengthened. Capital punishment is not necessarily a deterrent, while it can be applied in the rarest of rare cases (as provided for in Indian law), 

“As far as term sentences are concerned, section 376 of the Indian Penal Code currently provides for punishment of either description for a term which shall not be less than 7 years but which may be for life or for a term which may extend to 10 years. We however recommend that in the proposed Criminal Law Amendment Bill, 2012, the minimum sentence should be enhanced to 10 years with a maximum punishment being life imprisonment…We therefore recommend a legislative clarification that life imprisonment must always mean imprisonment for ‘the entire natural life of the convict’”

10. Drop the two-finger test.

“It is crucial to underscore that the size of the vaginal introitus has no bearing on a case of sexual assault, and therefore a test to ascertain the laxity of the vaginal muscles which is commonly referred to as the two-finger test must not be conducted. On the basis of this test observations/ conclusions such as ‘habituated to sexual intercourse’ should not be made and this is forbidden by law.”

 

 

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


TANUSHREE GANGOPADHYAY, The Hind Jan 18,2013

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 (womenwithbrokenwings.org) 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

 

 

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