April 2015

   


MARCH 8!
International Women's Day



India:
I Am Not A Wall That Divides, I Am A Crack In The Wall: Kamla Bhasin  

Kamla Bhasin is a woman of many parts - activist, gender trainer, inspired networker, writer of songs and books, tireless crusader for women's empowerment. Over 30 years of working with NGOs and women's groups in the development sector have made her a household name across South Asia, where she has energised many campaigns and forged strong links on several issues of common concern. In this excerpt from 'Memoirs From The Women's Movement In India: Making A Difference' (edited by Ritu Menon; Women Unlimited), she explains why she believes there must be humour and joy in the women's movement. As she puts it, since the struggle is a long and arduous one, it is important to enjoy the journey as well!

* 'I think my main contribution to the women's movement, and the movement's contribution to my creativity, has been the songs I have written for over twenty-five years.'

Read Full Feature


India:
Once Were Warriors"?: Devaki Jain

Devaki Jain is an economist who taught at the University of Delhi for several years and later began conducting research and advocacy to promote the rights of women, especially those from the least privileged sections of society, focusing on their work, wages and security. She founded the Institute of Social Studies Trust, which became a hub for knowledge and advocacy on women in economic deprivation, as well as on launching perspectives from the Global South on development issues. Jain is also one of the founding members of the Indian Association for Women's Studies as well as the founder of DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era).

* "Many decades later, as the wife of a Delhi-based activist, I had wonderful friendships with women like Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, Aruna Asaf Ali, Renuka Chakravarty, Durgabai Deshmukh, Sucheta Kriplani and many others of that era, the '50s and '60s, when each one of them was creating institutions and programmes, but at the same time were firmly bonded."

Read Full Feature


India:
Against The Odds: The Story Of Saheli, A Women's Collective

Saheli was set up in 1981 in New Delhi, primarily as a crisis intervention centre. Early struggles against oppression and violence within marriage, family and community led to campaigns against dowry, domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, communalism, war and discrimination against women in the law. Saheli's work on women's health includes long-standing campaigns against coercive population control policies, hazardous contraceptives, sex-determination, the unethical sale of emergency contraceptives and vaccines against cervical cancer. An integral part of the autonomous women's movement in India, Saheli continues today as a non-funded feminist collective. This is an interesting and important account of the evolution of a women's resource centre.

* "When we gave shelter to a young woman who wanted to leave her home, the police accused us of running a brothel and charged us with abduction!"

Read Full Feature


India:
Moments, Contradictions... Sheba Chhachhi's Snapshots From A Movement

Sheba Chhachhi works with lens-based images, both still and moving, investigating questions of gender, ecology, violence and visual culture. Her works address the question of transformation, personal and collective memory, retrieving the marginal and the play between the mythic and the social. A long-time chronicler of the women's movement in India, as both photographer and activist, she began developing collaborative, staged photographic portraits with her subjects in the early Nineties, moving on to photo-based installations... Public art interventions are an important part of Sheba's practice, in Delhi and elsewhere.

* 'I infiltrate the Rani Sati celebration procession in the guise of a Press photographer. My spying is useful, a tiny group of us manage to intercept this annual valorisation of Sati and briefly disrupt the ritual. The bewildered women see me join the 'troublemakers'.'

Read Full Feature


India:
Vibhuti Patel: In Step With The Movement

Today Vibhuti Patel is professor and head of Department of Economics and Director, Department of Post-Graduate Studies and Research at SNDT Women's University, Mumbai. In this account excerpted from from 'Making A Difference: Memoirs From The Women's Movement In India' (Edited by Ritu Menon; Women Unlimited), she talks about the innumerable influences, including a major riot, that shaped her early life. From being a shy adolescent based in Gujarat, she became a radical political activist and feminist conversant with global and national political developments.

* "Nobody harassed me on the road even when I returned from gate meetings at 12.30 a.m. on my bicycle. In my family, my parents were very impressed that, instead of fussing over gold, expensive clothes or eating in hotels, I was arguing with everyone about the Vietnam war…"

Read Full Feature


India:
Meera Velayudhan: New Challenges, But Dreams Persist...

Gender and Dalit Studies' scholar Meera Velayudhan's research has been centred on women's struggles and forms of organisation in varied historical contexts. She is currently working as a policy analyst with the Centre for Environment & Social Concerns in Ahmedabad. Among the important influences in her life was that of her mother, Dakshayani Velaudhan, who was the first dalit woman graduate in India, a member of the Cochin Legislative Council, the Constituent Assembly and India's first Parliament. In this excerpt from 'Making A Difference: Memoirs From The Women's Movement In India' (Edited by Ritu Menon; Women Unlimited), she recalls, among other developments, how her mother helped to initiate a national dalit women's forum.

* "As the only daughter (I had four brothers) I was special for my parents, who sent me away to a boarding school to ensure that their social activities did not interrupt my schooling."

Read Full Feature


Global:
Upholding Each Other: From Berlin To Madurai, Gabriele Dietrich's Slice Of Life

Gabriele Dietrich, who was born in West Berlin, has spent most of her working life in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, teaching social analysis and feminist theology in a Tamil medium college. She has been intensely involved with women's movements, unions in the unordanised sector, anti-nuclear campaigns and ecological movements. An excerpt from her memoir in 'Making A Difference: Memoirs From The Women's Movement In India' edited by Ritu Menon and brought out by the feminist publishing house, 'Kali for Women-Women Unlimited'.

* 'During the blockade of Berlin in 1948, which we survived by being trooped off to a Swedish soup kitchen, my mother decided to take me across the green border, together with another woman with a daughter like me.'

Read Full Feature


home| current features| media centre| theme of the month | ngo newswfs services | archives | conferences | about us