Monday, December 21, 2015

Stree Samaan Divas (Day for Women’s Dignity)

Stree Mukti Sangathan had organised its 14th Stree Samman Divas (Day for Women’s Dignity) on 20th December in Central Park, Connaught Place, Delhi. We commemorate this day of burning the “Manusmriti” by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. You might be aware that it was on 25 December 1927 that thousands of people came together under the leadership of Dr Ambedkar to consign to flames Manusmriti, the 'sacred' book which epitomised and legitimised the subhuman existence of the socially and culturally downtrodden in the Indian society, especially the dalits and the women. To underline the fact of the societal violence which continues unabated till date, we have been celebrating this day as 'Stree Samman Divas' for the last 14 years. 

This year we chose the theme of growing intolerance in the Indian society. We keep hearing every day the news of killing of dalits on the accusation of killing cows or on the pretext of eating beef, women being punished for making their own life choices and the false fear constantly being spread about increasing muslim population by blaming them for producing more children.  In this context of growing intolerance, it is important to state the fact that women are the worst sufferers and they take it throughout their lives. It is also important to realise our responsibility in fighting all such challenges.
The programme was started by Anjali Sinha, Stree Mukti Sangathan, discussing the historical context of the day and talked about the hold of such a culture over women under the garb of so called “Indian Tradition”. Such a culture controls and shapes the life of women on an everyday basis. She also talked about the need for reclaiming all such days which mark the struggle by women and Dalits against the brahmanical, casteist and patriarchal social order.
Pankaj Bisht, Editor, Samyantar said it is important to target and fight against religious orthodoxy. Religion creates the basis for this unequal and oppressive social order from which women suffer.
Kislay, FTII said that media creates a false notion of freedom for women. It gives them the false idea of agency of being a consumer in the commoditised market economy. Advertisements and films reinforce the notion that women’s existence is dependent on family and they do not have an individual identity. There are only a few films in today’s time that present women as free individuals, having independent choices, but then they are few and far between. The scenario is changing and we hope that it will change further for good.
Avipsha from Pinjratod shared about the campaign. The campaign is against the biased rules in women’s hostels. It is an autonomous collective effort to ensure secure, affordable and not gender-discriminatory accommodation for women students across Delhi.
The girl students always have to keep worrying about reaching hostel before the timeline and hence their options of either studying in a library till late or doing some other work get limited. The campaign is getting support across the country and students in other cities are also staging protest against the biased hostel rules.
Subash Gatade, writer and social activist reminded us the legacy of our secular Constitution. The Indian Constitution which clearly notes that state will function on rationality and will not propagate any religion, is in danger today after the Modi government has come in power. Ambedkar had said on the eve of Constitution day that ‘today we are entering the time of contradiction, in constitution we have one person one vote but in society we do not have the idea of one person, one value.’ This is true even today, where a cow has more value than a Dalit. We need to reclaim the secular and progressive values of our Constitution to fight communalism.
Apporvanad, Professor, D.U., and editor of reputed hindi journal "Alochana', talked about the importance of burning manusmriti. It is important to reclaim the legacy of the days like this. We all need to take such initiatives to fight the right-wing hindutava forces. Women’s issues are issues of the whole society. It is also important to fight the caste system and religious fundamentalism. Women’s emancipation is related to the emancipation of the entire society.

During the programme, IPTA performed a few songs. Stree Mukti Sangathan's cultural team also presented songs and poems. Few young poets also recited their poems on the issue of women's liberation.


Arpita said...

स्त्री सम्मान दिवस की सभी को शुभकामनाएँ!
ज़्यादा से ज़्यादा लोगों तक इसे पहुँचाने की ज़िम्मेदारी हम सब की है।

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