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Dalit women organise ‘differently’

 

Asha

Organizing by Dalit women has always been examined, by many, using a wide array of lenses originating in hues of various political perspectives. To some, we are autonomous, leading our movement towards a collective vision. To others, we are stooges, perhaps of the Dalit men, maybe the savarna women or the donors, or for that matter … any other dog! The intersections of our vulnerabilities are often heightened by constant criticism and the pain of brokenness further exacerbated by the feeling of being undervalued.

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Needless to say, like most of you, we also encounter a crisis almost every day. The intensity and impact of it vary; for us, it can often be debilitating. We wish to believe that the brickbats thrown at us from within and from outside, has steeled us to only strengthen and sharpen our strategies for organizing. For it is only by learning and unlearning each day, the women from our community have been able to come thus far.

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Transformative Politics for Dalit Women

 

Asha Kowtal

Transformative Politics for Dalit Women grounded in fierce resilience and compassionate sisterhood.

AIDMAM poster-pro20171202-20171203a

More than a week after the conference, I begin to write, still feeling overwhelmed and dazed coupled with a strange sense of loneliness experienced after loved ones have left home.

The #dalitwomenspeakout conference 2017 brought my sisters and friends from all over the country to my hometown Pune. They brought so much of love, gifts and excitement, which they shared with me in plenty. They came with their mothers and also their children. It was important for the mothers to see their daughters and for the children to watch their mothers. Nobody had taught us about inter-generational structural discrimination and violence, but we along with our children knew that this had to stop. That's why they all came.

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Why Not Janeu Under My Kurta?

 

Rahmath EP

Rahmath EPLipstick Under My Burkha is a ‘by the Brahmin for the Brahmin' movie to propagate the Savarna definition of the ‘oppressed women’. The whole movie gives you a clear picture of the story of women’s assertion on their personal and sexual liberation through brahminical patriarchal narration filled with Islamophobia by projecting Muslim men as a symbol of oppression and misogyny.

Many of you might have seen this controversial women-oriented movie. The story is about four women in a small town in Bhopal and their private life and desire for personal and sexual freedom and breaking the taboos. Rehana Abidi is a burkha clad college student, daughter of a tailor; Shireen Aslam, mother of three, a home maker and having a secret job as a sales girl;  Leela, a beautician living in her sexual fantasy while struggling for livelihood and Usha Parmar, a 55-year-old widow who falls in love with a swimming coach and expresses her sexual desires.

Yes, it is important to address patriarchy and liberation of women. But how to touch such issues, and address on what grounds and does it uphold the values of dignity, human rights, gender equality or women’s liberation. Is the narration free from patriarchy while making such an attempt? These are some of the key questions that immediately arise in our mind.

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Brahminical Patriarchy and Social Media

 
Bhagyesha Kurane

bhagyeshaSocial media has become an integral part of our lives these days. There are various notions prevalent about whether one should use social media, and if at all it is to be used, then how. Some people view social media only as a tool to pass their time and beyond a certain limit, see any engagement as wastage of time. Many parents are wary of social media out of concern for their daughters who might be harassed by anti-social elements and hence warn them to stay away. At the same time, social media helps one to connect with many people whether we may know them personally or not and it is through such communication that exchange of thoughts takes place. I also joined social media thinking of exploring the possibility of whether this media can be used as a viable alternative option to traditional media. So I started communicating with people through media such as WhatsApp and Facebook. I have been using Facebook for the past six years now. While I think about social media as an alternative to traditional media, it also becomes imperative for me to discuss about safety and security of girls/women in detail. Of course, it is also related in the context of the recent Amar Khade incident.

First of all, we need to take into account that in our brahminical patriarchal society there are certain rules that girls are supposed to follow, as far as use of mobile phones is concerned. Many a times it is just out of necessity that a girl is allowed to use a mobile phone albeit with certain harsh restrictions. The reason being the caste based society considers the girl as the 'honour' of the family. So her parents fear that through mobile phone she may come in contact with someone and get emotionally involved, thus marrying the person out of her own volition and this can result in loss of 'honour' for the family. That's why parents try to limit the use of mobile phones as far as possible and hence check call records and other details on mobile phones. In such a situation, for many girls to be able to use and access social media freely itself becomes a daunting task. Defying traditional restrictions she tries to express herself through social media. But our brahminical patriarchal society looks at her as a form of readily available entertainment instead of looking at her as an individual human being. That's why, often, these girls have had to face sexual exploitation in the online world.

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मुलगा पहायला आला

 

Vidya

vidya

"मुलगा पहायला आला"

 मुलगा पाहायला येतो तेव्हा मुलीला काय वाटत असेल? आज मला मुलगा पाहायला आलेला. मुलगा पाहायला येणं म्हणजे नेमकं काय? जेव्हा मुलगी "वयात येते", म्हणजे कि ती प्रेम किंवा मुलांशी मैत्री वगैरे करायला लहान असते मात्र लग्न करून संसार करायला समर्थ असते, तेव्हा तिचा बाप (किंवा घरचा करता पुरुष,..हो फक्त पुरुषच ..कारण हा अधिकार बायकांना नाहीच) हा मुलगा शोधतो ... अर्थातच जातीचा आणि 'स्टेटस' चा (मुलीचं मेंटल, इमोशनल, फिसिकल स्टेटस नाही, ते गेलं चुलीत)..शोधण्याची मोहीम हि वेबसाईटवर तर कमी होते पण काका, मामा, ताईच्या सासऱ्यांच्या बहिणीचा दिराचा मावस भाऊ, अगदी सगळेच, कोणीपण, हे सगळं करतात...काय सुख मिळतं यांना काय माहीत... May be मला वाटतं कि मुलगी वयात आली आहे तर त्यांना sense of pride वाटत असणार कि त्यांनी तिचे कदम "डगमगण्या अगोदरच" तिला वाचवले .. त्यांना कितीही पिण्याचे, दुसऱ्या बायकांचे व्यसन असले तरी मुलीने मात्र स्वतःच्या मनाप्रमाणे मुलगा बघू नये हि त्यांची "निरागस" आशा असते .. असो..

मग मुलगा सुचवायचं कार्यक्रम सुरु झाला कि सर्व decide होत.. मुलगी चुकून नौकरी करत असेल आणि सुट्टी मिळणं अव्हघड असेल या बघण्याच्या कार्यक्रमासाठी तरी ती office मध्ये काही कारण देऊन "स्व-इच्छेने" जाते .. मामा काका भाऊजी या सर्वांना विचारून मात्र दिवस ठरवतात आणि त्या मुलाच्या जॉब प्रमाणे सगळं ठरत कारण कि त्याचा जॉब महत्वाचा .. आणि समजा जर मुलीला जॉब नसेल तर तिला एकाच प्रश्न विचारतात कि "नाश्त्यामध्ये कोणती मिठाई खाशील बाळा? बाप तोपर्यंत मुलाचं नाव पण पूर्ण सांगत नाही कारण कि Facebook वर पोरीने search करू नये म्हणून .. कारण मुलीने उगीच काही "उकरून काढल" तर काय? आणि Facebook तुमचा फक्त चेहरा दाखवत नई तर तुमचे मित्र, लाईक्स, विचार सगळं काही दाखवतं...आणि हे असल काही मुलीला अगोदर कळू नये... मुलीने मुलाला नापसंत केला म्हणजे कि बापासाठी अपमानजनक गोष्ट .. आणि मग मुलीला एवढे superpowers कोणी दिले म्हणून लोकं तोंडात शेण घालतील .. मग आई आत्या यांच्यावर मोठी जबाबदारी असते कि मुलीला नीट नेसावे . असो.

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Where are the Women Professors from the SC/ST/OBC categories?

 

Prachi Patil

Prachi-BeaulaSpeech made at the protest organised by United OBC Forum and BAPSA on 9th June, 2016 against the discriminatory Anti-OBC Reservation circular of UGC/MHRD which denies OBC reservations in Faculty Recruitments and Promotions.

Jai Bhim Friends,

I will only take a few minutes of your time. Speakers before me have placed their important points on the issues of OBC reservation in Higher Education and Faculty Recruitment and spoken about the new Anti-OBC Reservation circular by UGC/MHRD. I will specifically talk about the condition of SC/ST/OBC women's representation in academic spaces, be it as students or as professors. Friends, few days back I was reading an article titled 'Dalit Feminist Standpoint' and when I read the author's name I found that the author was a Brahman woman! So you can see for yourself the condition of SC/ST/OBC women.

What is the reason that a Dalit woman is not allowed to write about her own standpoint in the academic spaces and that standpoint is written by upper-caste or Brahman women? Friends, I see many upper-castes writing papers and thesis on 'Dalit patriarchy' but someone needs to tell them that Dalit patriarchy is a matter concerning Dalit women and you should leave it to them, Dalit women have been fighting against it since ages. You should talk about your own patriarchy and casteism which you practise against SC/ST/OBC women to keep them out of the academic sphere. I want to question the Savarna women feminists from this platform, you speak of 'sisterhood', you speak of 'gender equality', you speak of 'gender justice', you speak of 33% Women's Reservation Bill, but I want to know why you are silent on the issue of 'reservation within reservation' in the Women's Reservation Bill? I wish to know when will SC/ST/OBC women get representation within the demand of 33% Women's Reservation Bill? Many friends have spoken before me about the reservation for OBC candidates, but let us not forget to include women in this. SC/ST/OBC women must have 50% representation within the SC/ST/OBC reservation.

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