Cultural and Commemorative Event in Memory of Violence Victims

You enter the venue at Chambi ground at Rait, Village Shahpur , District Kangra and two things set the mood for the crucial cause that Team Jagori spoke up for on Dec 16- the day the brutal gang rape in Delhi made the country question its conscience. One, the overflowing banner kept at the registration telling people to sign their name if they are against violence. And two, the song ‘Aazadi’ by Nancy Aren Ao featuring Kamla Bhasin, welcoming the participants and witnesses to this event with a revolutionary spirit.

The students of three colleges expressed their support for the cause by rallying against violence. When the event hosts Manju and Asha took the stage, it was clear that though it’s a commemorative event, the way to bring about change won’t be through tears. They will dance, be heard and project strength.

The event participants – women and men from nearby, villagers, anganwadis, youth- came in thousands and included a major chunk of the local communities who came from far-off just to be a part of the revolution. The event saw an audience of more than 2000 people. Inspector General G.D. Bhargava was the chief guest, while the event was also graced by the DPO, BDO and CDPO.

While the Music Team of Jagori Rural entertained the audience with the relevant and strong message of their catchy songs like ‘Ek Billion Umde Hain’, Rajni brought out national statistics that helped us understand the increasing violence against women. She explained that women have been numbed by this brutal patriarchy and social stigmas; they need to break free and must speak up!

The I.G. spoke with sensitivity and passion about how we don’t take action and have become too tolerant of injustice all around us. Manju and Asha took the audience by surprise when they pointed out that some women were busy working as always and were knitting sweaters, and even here they were probably not doing this for themselves but for their loved ones! Everyone laughed at this visible form of patriarchy and the women immediately dropped their work.

They further addressed the audience and asked what your first reaction is when a girl gets eve-teased or molested? Some people in the audience replied that the blame immediately shifts to the girl and she’s the one put under interrogation. Asha and Manju again put forth a mirror to the way we think when the audience laughed at a scene from a play where the girl was either getting eve-teased or assaulted. The hosts instantly addressed that reaction and made the audience think twice.

A group consisting of little girls from Chakvan School was the adorable quotient of the event as they sang and danced wearing traditional garbs, with energy and incredible precision on a local Pahaadi song.

Three plays were performed by different colleges that based their theme around gender discrimination and how a woman is oppressed not just by the society but from the home itself. Team Jagori’s play about society-enforced roles on women too got an emotional response from the audience.

And after tears of realization came dance and songs. In the end, the local celebrity Sunil Rana enthralled the audience with his melodious notes and performed local folk songs, along with Jagori songs on violence. The audience, especially the youth, responded by getting up and dancing. The motto of OBR- ‘Strike, Dance, Rise!’ was felt all around and absorbed by thousands.

CampaignsRiya Gupta