A picnic that changed lives

As a part of our ongoing project, SAJHEDAR, a picnic to Gwalior was organised on 30th June, 2013 for the animators of Morena. This story elaborates the experiences of the animators who are the grassroots level change agents of the Sajhedar project.

This picnic was organised by Dharti Sansthan, Morena as a recreational activity for animators and their family. Eight animators accompanied by their wives and children went for the picnic along with the project facilitators. The picnic along with its recreational purpose served as a space where the animators went through varied experiences. “It was a personal change”, mentioned one animator.

The animators expressed that the picnic brought them many memorable moments as for most of them it was the first time they were with their wife for an entire day having an enjoyable time. Also such outings were uncommon to the villages which they belonged to. The animators were all very happy to express their feelings and experiences, some of what they shared are “It was a great outing experience for all the animators, wives & children, for some it was the first outing experience in the last 7 to 8 years of their married life”, one appreciated by saying “It boost up feelings for our partners, enhanced the intimacy between us”. All the animators shared that it was a great experience to take lunch with wife for the first time after their marriages, this some have incorporated in their daily practices as promised during the picnic. Some animators said that men are preparing morning tea at their home as earlier their wife used to prepare it early morning but this change have been seen after the picnic. Another one said that it has been seen that some animators have started involving their wife in decision making process at their home.

Another uncommon activity each of the animators did was clicked a photo where the couple were very close to each other. This they would have never done otherwise but expressed that each of them would like a copy of their photo to keep as a memento.

This picnic was an enjoyable one, full of rich and memorable moments as quoted and illustrated by the animators. We can surely say this was a lifetime experience for many of them and a learning one for us.

How Do You Survive Being Named ‘The Park Street Rape Victim’?

This is a fascinating, thorough piece on Suzette Jordan’s experience after being gangraped in Kolkata, and being termed ‘The Park Street Rape Victim.’ Her quest for justice included mazes of bureaucracy, unreliable police and doctors, and strategic use of the media.  It is a sad exhibition of how difficult it is for survivors of rape to find justice.

http://in.news.yahoo.com/how-do-you-survive-being-named-%E2%80%98the-park-street-rape-victim%E2%80%99–054758334.html

We will not let the protest die down

With the recent string of violent rapes in West Bengal, civil society has gathered to protest in Kolkata. With the government showing how insensitive it is to issues of women’s safety, it is important that these protests continue in order to spread awareness and change mindsets.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/We-will-not-let-the-protest-die-down/articleshow/20709150.cms

Barasat Rape, Murder and the Culture of Rape in West Bengal

In West Bengal lately, there have been multiple rapes and murders.  And when citizens respond with peaceful protests, they get arrested. Rape culture is prevalent in many Indian settings, and politicians are not adequately responding. It is important for us to be aware of these issues in all corners of the country if we are going to create incremental change. This is a very thorough analysis of the rapes and rape culture in West Bengal:

http://kafila.org/2013/06/17/barasat-rape-murder-and-the-culture-of-rape-in-west-bengal-soma-marik/#more-18920

Men Care! How Fatherhood can enhance gender equality

This is a very nice article illustrating how international organizations like Promundo, and Sonke Gender Justice, as well as the campaign MenCare, engage fathers in the quest for gender equality. MenCare, despite being less than 2 years old, works in 16 countries, showing that work with men on gender issues is gaining momentum, and that there is a profound need for this kind of work.

http://girlsglobe.org/2013/06/16/men-care-lets-include-them-in-empowering-women/

As Rape Reports Increase in Delhi, a Call for Uncommon Men and Women

Last December, a young woman we call “Nirbhaya” was so brutally assaulted and raped by six men on a bus that she died from her injuries two weeks later. She was barely older than my daughter Mira. Grieving, I looked for solace in student memories. I had resisted going to a women’s college at Delhi University, but a few years later at Mount Holyoke, a college for women in Massachusetts, I discovered a world where no one had to remind you to “lean in” because every woman already had her shoulder to the wheel and was moving the needle on everything from microbiology to challenging history with herstory. I was surrounded by women who wrote poetry, discussed politics, dismantled engines, designed buildings, managed newspapers, and danced for the joy of being able to do so. It was a world where women were not less than but equal to – a world, as the playwright Wendy Wasserstein put it, of “Uncommon Women.”

http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/17/as-rape-reports-increase-in-delhi-a-call-for-uncommon-men-and-women/?smid=tw-nytindia&seid=auto