Delhi Pride Parade 2016

Delhi Pride parade 2016

Delhi Pride Parade 2016

A quip at the B.J.P

A quip at the B.J.P

 

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Trump and Modi at the Pride Parade ’16

Delhi Queer Pride 2016

Delhi Queer Pride 2016-demanding a world that is anti-caste, sex and body positive.

 

Demonetisation at the Pride '16.

Demonetisation at the Pride ’16.

 

Deepti Sharma- founding member Delhi Pride Parade

Deepti Sharma- one of the founding members of Delhi Pride Parade.

Do they look like criminals?

Do they look like criminals?

 

Delhi Queer Pride 2016

 

PINJRA TOD

Pinjara Tod-Break The Hostel Locks

Break The Hostel Locks

The Boys Turn up to Support Pinjara Tod

The Boys Turn up to Support Pinjara Tod.

#PinjaraTod

The Night March Starts From LSR

Pinjara Tod-break The Hostel Locks

#PinjaraTod- Break The Hostel Locks. ‘P.G Valo Baahar Aao.Pinjar Tod, Pinjara Tod!’. Through The Inner Lanes of Greater Kailash-1

Pinjara Tod

Through The Jamrudpur Locality Which Is Famous For Eve Teasing.

The Night Needs Lights

The Night Needs Lights Not Curfews For Women, Due To Their Gender.

Pinjra Tod

#PinjraTod- A movement addressing- women’s safety, anti- sexual harassment laws, affordable living spaces & the removal of unnecessary restrictions on women.

Pinjara Tod

Taking On The Streets Of South Delhi

Pinjara Tod

Pinjra Tod Night March Through Greater Kailash and Amar Colony.

Aath March Saath March 2016

 

 

 

 

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Aath March Saath March 2016 at Jantar Mantar

Aath March Saath March 2016 at Jantar Mantar

Over twenty organisations participated in the event. AIDWA was one of the main organisers of Aath March Saath March.

Over twenty organisations participated in the event. AIDWA was one of the main organisers of Aath March Saath March.

Deepti Sharma from Saheli at Aath March Saath March 2016

Deepti Sharma from Saheli at Aath March Saath March 2016

Vani Subramanian documentary film maker at Aath March Saath March

Vani Subramanian documentary film maker at Aath March Saath March

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#ChaloDelhi

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#ChaloDelhi Protest march organised by the University of Hyderabad & The Joint Action Committee for Social Justice. 

 

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The Protestor demanding justice for Rohith Vemula a Dalit Student of Hyderabad University.

 

 

 

 

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#ChaloDelhi

 

 

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Joint Action committee for Social Justice

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#ChaloDelhi 2016-Students from the University Of Hyderabad

 

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#ChaloDelhi

 

The Feminine Code- Change Starts From Within.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we dedicate a whole month to women who are choosing to change themselves one step at a time. We are going to- ‘Be the change we wish to see in the world’. So here we go forming our own set of rules. For me the first one that encompasses all others-

Be Kinder To Your Own Kind- I would want to start by being nicer to other women.

For my views on the female code read the last paragraph of this post -https://a100reflections.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/in-response/

In Response

Last year I received a mail from Iona, asking about my views on feminism. At that time, I sent her a response and contemplated publishing the letter on this platform. But since I was busy fighting my own demons, it got delayed.

My parents never had a traditional marriage. Since my mother has Bipolar Disorder, the roles that they played were quite unlike the classic man-woman roles. My Dad was the caretaker, whereas, my Mom is unlike most women you’ll meet. She is the centre of the household. I tread on matters of mental health, marriage, right/wrong rather carefully, since I have seen a lot of grey areas. As a human being, my personal beliefs disallow me to label myself. The world at large does that enough. I am not and will never be a feminist. Just like I will never be a good girl, a smart girl, a polite girl or an activist. If I had to label myself, I would call myself a ‘wanderer’ or a ‘seeker’- someone who looks for.

But since I was asked about my views, here they are-

“I am an odd person to ask about contemporary feminist views. Considering I’m a 35 year old photographer who travels to Rajasthan and Kashmir by road. At times unaccompanied, at times with a house help or an assistant…unlike most women I feel safe driving around in the middle of the day or night. This or when I say I’m not the bra burning type, infuriates all the lovely ladies who I bump into at Jantar Mantar or even artists who have been working for the cause for decades.

According to them I come from a privileged background, I only travel in my SUV; I never use public transport and therefore, in conclusion I’ve never been harassed by a man or I’m unaware of what most women go through! Now, that is a little bit unfair.

I’m well aware of the patriarchal system and especially amongst the class of society I belong to. Hailing from a Sikh business class family where the boy is the sole heir to the family business and the ancestral property, the reason I will inherit anything is because of the untimely demise of my younger brother. Most of my sisters won’t. So patriarchy I understand, through and through.

You ask for my views: therefore, I blabber… indulge me. I can’t quote Simone de Beauvior. Not because I can’t; it ain’t rocket science but because I don’t like to. She writes about the double and deceptive visage of women in the chapter, ‘The Myth of Woman in Five Authors’ in the Second Sex –‘’She incarnates all moral values, from good to evil, and their opposites; she is the substance of action and whatever is an obstacle to it, she is man’s grasp on the world and his frustration: as such she is the source and origin of all man’s reflection on his existence and of whatever expression he is able to give to it; and yet she works to divert him from himself, to make him sink down in silence and in death. She is servant and companion, but he expects her also to be his audience and critic and to confirm him his sense of being: but she opposes him with her indifference, even with her mockery and laughter.’’ So on and so forth; I can pull out my copy of the book, write down a couple of interesting lines and sound like the real deal! A true feminist but I’m not one.

As for the case of feminism in India, there are some feminists I’ve met who I admire. There’s Sheba Chhachhi who can be considered the ‘true feminist artist/photographer’ and Deepti Sharma from Saheli who is staunch supporter of repealing AFSPA and is part of the group, ‘Voices against 377’. Why I mention  these two is because these two veterans have been working quietly for the cause, without judging what others do.

But on the same topic, I have to agree with an essay written by Madhu Kishwar, about the initial phases of the feminist movement in India, which I find is still relevant.’’ In India new opportunities were made available for a small group of western educated women who gravitated towards feminism. Being absorbed in international feminist circles brought upward mobility, in jobs and careers and international conferences and study programmes. This access to jobs, consultancies and grants especially in universities and from international aid organization came relatively easy to those calling themselves feminists as compared to those unversed in feminist rhetoric. This was contrary to the experiences of the western feminists who had to struggle hard to find acceptance in their professions.”

I’m not playing the Devil’s advocate and stating that we don’t require feminism. Nor that women are safe in India or we don’t have to worry about inheritance issues or female infanticide, the economic/ sociological/ psychological issues faced by women. But the feminist movement largely disillusions me. I recently went for a protest against the rape of two Dalit women and the gathering was miniscule. There are some highly publicized events and issues where everyone turns up and some things it seems don’t count. They say it has nothing to do with class! Then there is the way in which we as artists are supposed to portray the issues…the Muslim woman is a clear example. Why am I supposed to portray every Muslim woman, with or without a veil as a totally subservient creature, just to be termed a feminist?

My ‘privileged’ existence and my sexual preference (I’m straight), discount me from ever being taken seriously in certain circles. But since I’m not looking for funding, I don’t care. A 100 pieces of me is my way of taking the time to understand the issues of each individual woman I meet, her thoughts, her life and what she wants from it. Not my label of who she is or what she ought to be!

As for how never having been harassed by a man, there are many instances. I am after all an unmarried woman, who does exactly what she pleases. So I get my share of harassment and my share of flak. Plus, each time I travel to a place alone, it’s automatically assumed it’s for a man. But the one thing that will remain imprinted on my mind was a remark that was made by a ‘progressive’ friend, ’ that’s why you’re not married because you’re bossy!’

Men will never be considered too assertive but a woman who means business is considered bossy and then her personal life, marital status etc can be dragged into any conversation. But these are issues that persist everywhere. After all we are under the male gaze.”

Since, we have opened the Pandora’s box, let’s see what I think, now. As usual I have more questions than answers.

In my adolescence, I believed that if I ever did get married, I would never take on my husband’s surname. In my case it would have been taking on, since, I thought that using my father’s name was also a label and that took away my personal identity. I have considered following the Sikh tradition of using the surname ‘Kaur’, but my religious identity is as questionable as the rest of my identity. The cover of my first book, Being- has just my signature on it. My signature till date consists only of my first name. I now call myself ‘Saadiya Kochar’,  due to an attachment to my sibling. But there has been another change in thought, over the years. I wonder if my sense of who I am is really attached to a name?

A lack of a lucid reply. Let’s retrace my steps. This is what I wrote on Fb on the 30th of December 2012.

“We go out and protest for the rights of a girl we didn’t know. Outraged, as we should be! Yet we never stand up for the rights of the women we know. Why don’t sons whack their fathers when they beat up their mothers? Why don’t brothers share their ancestral properties with their sisters? How does a father watch a man emotionally abuse his daughter? Why don’t the women of a household ever standup for any injustices inflicted upon the other female members? Why do we say it’s wrong but ACT like it’s all right? When we can watch it happen to the women we love… this was a girl we didn’t even know! We should demonstrate for Damini. But what happens to those rape cases that go unreported every few hours? Women are abused everyday and we watch it every single day! We women should first teach our sons, brothers and spouses something only then will the society change. That is demonstration!”
I  envy people who can ride the same train of thought. I change my mind at least twice a day, so holding on to a thought from 2012 is too difficult for me. As I read this another question pops up. If every one is going to change the society and the people around them, when are we going to change ourselves?
My entire life, most of my interactions have been with men.  Teachers, mentors, bosses, assistants I have been surrounded by the male species. Though, I went to a convent school, I kept to myself and the few female friends I made, were also like me, always surrounded by male relatives. Though my work has been about the female energy, my personal life has been a far cry from it. But suddenly, there has been an influx of women in my life and I have started to understand many things about my own kind.
Men have an unspoken understanding, the bro-code as they call it. Women have no set of rules to deal with other women. We are the first ones to pull a woman down. A guy will think twice before saying something unsavory, women can say and do anything to each other. Last year I joined an office, where all the women claimed to be feminists but I never heard them say one nice thing about each other. I realized that as long we are fighting for the victims we all stand together. But when it comes to dealing with someone from our class, who directly affects our lives, the rules change.
The only way we are going to change society, is by changing ourselves. The first step is to make your own set of female rules. I have started to make mine.
Let your work be about celebrating the female energy. Stand up for the women you know, not just the women you don’t. Promote the female voice. Don’t try to alter other women to your standard, live and let be.  Increase your interaction with women, even if it’s uncomfortable. Never go after another woman’s man. The mother-in-law is not a monster. Try thinking one good thing about a woman you don’t like. Let your female relatives/friends know you’re always on their side.  Put your money where mouth is and always stand up for yourself.
This is why I can never be a feminist, I’m fighting the wrong person- Myself!

 

 

 

16th December Kranti

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16 December Kranti-A Call For Rape Free India

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#Dec 16th meeting-Call for Damini Laws- Call for death penalty for all the rapists in the Damini Case.

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A call for Police and Judicial reforms.

Delhi Queer Pride 2014

IMG_7139 Delhi Queer Pride Parade on the 30th Of November 2014
IMG_7144 Artist Anita Dube, at the Delhi Queer Pride Parade, 2014
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IMG_7117 Everyone came together from the LGBT community to celebrate and to protest.
Unknown Chef Ritu Dalmia, at the Delhi Queer Pride Parade.

In Solidarity with Gaza

In Solidarity With Gaza

In Solidarity With Gaza-Protest In New Delhi

Protests were held today at the Jantar Mantar, against the assault on Gaza by the Israeli forces. According to reports, more than a thousand Palestinians have been killed and more than six thousand have been wounded by the Israeli forces. People from all walks of life came together to protest against the atrocities.

Students were part of the protest at the Jantar Mantar

Students were part of the protest at the Jantar Mantar

In Solidarity With Gaza

In Solidarity With Gaza at the Jantar Mantar

Is it about caste domination?

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Protest at Jantar Mantar on the 1st of May ’14, against the rape of two minor Dalit Girls from the Badaun district in U.P.

 

 

The rape of two Dalit cousin sisters- who were found hanging on a tree; did not get enough support from the feminists in Delhi. This was noticed by the 100 odd people who came to Jantar Mantar.

 

 

Many believe that Dalit Womemn are being targeted for caste domination. Ruchira, president of an NGO, stated that even the police feel that the women of the lower classes should be targeted.

Many believe that Dalit Women are being targeted for caste domination. Ruchira, president of an NGO, stated that even the police feel that the women of the lower classes should be targeted.

 

Manak Matiyani, from the youth collective spoke at the protest

Manak Matiyani, from the Youth Collective spoke at the protest

 

 

 

Irom Sharmila

Irom Sharmila apears before the court on the 28th May 2014.

Irom Sharmila sitting in the police vehicle outside the Patiala House Court.

 

'The Iron Lady', being captured by the press as she leaves the court.

‘The Iron Lady’, captured by the press as she left the court.

 

Protestors outside Gate No 1 of the Patiala House.

Protestors outside Gate No 1 of the Patiala House.

 

Irom Chanu Sharmila, appeared before the Delhi court yesterday, May 28th 2014. Sharmila who has been on a thirteen year long fast for the repeal of AFSPA, in 2006  went on a fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar – faces the charges of ‘attempt to commit suicide’. Each year she is released, as under the law she can only be held for a period of a year, for this offense but then gets rearrested due to her continual fast. The Iron Lady told the court that she was fasting for the atrocities that the people of Manipur are facing, for repeal of the draconian law- Armed Forces Special Powers Act and  denied trying to commit suicide.”I love my life very much”, she stated.

 

 

The Third Sex

Celebrations at Jantar Mantar Pehchan, Delhi Queer Pride and the 207 against the 377, came together to celebrate the verdict at Jantar Mantar.
According to the verdict, the eunuch's will be granted admission into educational institutes and will be given employment. According to the verdict, the eunuch’s will be granted admission into educational institutes and will be given employment.

 

 

The eunuch community in India, also known as the,’hijras’ in local parlance; jubilated at Jantar Mantar this evening, in response to the verdict passed by the  Supreme Court of India declaring them to be -‘The Third Sex’.  The judgement which was passed on Tuesday gave new hope to the LGBT community, that probably this would the first step in repealing Article 377.

 

 

IMG_6509 Laxmi Narayan Tipathi is considered to be an icon by the LGBT community

 

 

 

IMG_6567 In some countries, a seperate pronoun is used for transgenders – Ze and Zir.

 

 

The March Against AFSPA

March at Jantar Mantar

Repeal AFSPA march at Jantar Mantar

 

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A young Manipuri girl wearing a t-shirt in support of Irom Sharmila, an activist who went on a hunger strike in Nov 2000 as a means of protest.

 

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A young student holding a painting of the ‘Iron Lady Of Manipur’. Mengoubi (fair one) as she is also known, has been released and re-arrested many times. She was arrested from Jantar Mantar in 2006.

AFSPA- Even a teenager in a Kashmir knows what AFSPA stands for. The Armed Forces Special Power Act meant nothing to this Dilli ka Girl. But the past few years that I’ve spent in Kashmir have made a dent on my psyche.  I am not  a supporter of the Kashmiri’s struggle for independence or of the Indian States instance on holding on to it. I claim myself a wanderer, a kind of observer; just reflecting. So this is me reflecting. How would we feel if our houses were searched without  warrants, we were arrested without warrants and once in a while our loved ones would just disappear- without us knowing whether they were dead or alive? Are we going to wish away  the collective anger of the people of Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Kashmir; in the hope that it will have no repercussions on our coming generations?

 

A march was organised at  Jantar Mantar today, against AFSPA. A number of organisations  like-  Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign, AIPWA, DSF, The Voices against 377 etc came together to mobilize the civil society. The pictures are from the March.

 

 

One of the few Kashmiri youth at the march. This is what he had to say to me-''You people just want our resources our land but not us.''

One of the few Kashmiri youth at the march. This is what he had to say to me-”You people just want our resources and our land but not us!”

 

 

 

Deepti Sharma from The Voices Against 377, has been supporting the cause since 2000.

Deepti Sharma from-The Voices Against 377, has been supporting the cause, since 2000.

Protesters at the March

Protesters at the March

 

 

So Do We Think They Don’t Count?

Candle vigil at Jantar Mantar on New year's Eve.

At Jantar Mantar on New year’s Eve.

While the rest of us partied our way into 2014 disability activists all over India went on a nationwide candlelight vigil, yesterday. Prominent activists from the disability sector – Javed Abidi the convener of the Disabled Rights Group,  Zorin Singha from the National Association for the Deaf,  Dipendra Manocha ( National Association For The Blind) Merry Barua (A.F.A), Radhika Alkazi ( Arth- Astha) and Syamala Gidugo ( AADI) ; all came together  at the Jantar Mantar in support of a bill which has taken four years to draft. It was a rather peaceful protest with a gathering of a few hundred people- some in wheelchairs, some who couldn’t see and many who couldn’t hear, demonstrating about the new bill not being tabled in Parliament.

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The already existing law- The Person with The Disabilty Act 1995 is insufficient in providing for a better future for the disabled. The Bill that is meant to  replace it shall do the needful, according to these activists. Some of the changes that the Disability Rights Bill seeks to make such as emphasizing on inclusive schooling and tax deduction benefits to employers of disabled employees, will help in a higher integration of differently abled citizens into the main framework of  Indian society. As of now there is a delay in the introduction of this Bill.

According to the 2001 Census there are over 21 million differently abled people in India. What we need to ask ourselves is, if we want these millions of people to be included into our society or excluded from it?

Activists on Candlelight Vigil.

Activists At Candlelight Vigil.

DO THEY LOOK LIKE CRIMINALS?

Global Rage Day- No Going Back! 15th December 2013-18 cities around the globe protested against the reinstatement of Criminality of Homosexuality In India. These pictures are from the protests at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.

This is a very important post because it’s a campaign which is pro LGBT rights. It’s a campaign against the way in which the Indian state decriminalized homosexuality in 2009 and then reinstated the criminalization in 2013.

Protests At Jantar Mantar on the 15th of December 2013

Protests At Jantar Mantar on the 15th of December 2013

Protests At Jantar Mantar on the 15th of December 2013

Protests At Jantar Mantar on the 15th of December 2013

Does He Look Like A Criminal?

Does He Look Like A Criminal?

No Going Back!

Protests By the LGBT Community in New Delhi

Protests By the LGBT Community in New Delhi

Protests By the LGBT Community in New Delhi

Protests By the LGBT Community in New Delhi