Saturday, November 21, 2020

Report- Stree Mukti Sangathan's 21st Workshop, 2-4 October, 2020

Stree Mukti Sangathan has organised it 21th workshop from 2nd October to 4th October. As we know Sangathan holds annual residential workshop in which various we discuss various issues concerning women and society at large. Due to Covid, this time the workshop was held through virtual mode. In the three days long workshop, we covered issues ranging from feminist politics in contemporary times to the politics associated with social media.  Workshop provided a free, gender- neutral space for both expression and discussion about issues permeating boundaries of personal-political life. Members from different corners of the country joined the workshop, and enriched the discussion through their participation.

Along with sessions, various activities were conducted which focused on and highlighted the problematic deep rooted gender based discrimination through a variety of research based presentation and experience based cultural activities.

Sessions taken by scholars working in the field of women development through various academic, political and cultural initiatives contributed in creating a feminist foundational understanding during the workshop.

Identity, Individual resistance and Revolutionary Movement, By Sudha Vasan, Associate Professor, Sociology, Delhi University.

 Based on a sociological understanding of gender based violence against women, she attempted to establish links between the patriarchal society, instances of everyday violence and its connection with other institutions of the society. Sudha emphasized on understanding the relationship between these events of violence and everyday’.  She discussed the need to reflect on the events happening around and then reflecting on the connecting link, i.e. patriarchy which situates women in vulnerable situation. In protests against such incidences, individuals/organizations come forward with a range of different levels of consciousness while exploring for solutions to seek justice. Protest seeking instance justice via hanging or killing the culprit displays the shallower approach and lacks understanding on this deeply embedded issue of patriarchy that demands gradual erosion via socialization and continuing the fight against injustice.  The act of fighting injustice is full of hope and joy when it is viewed as a slice of an innate historical tradition, as ancient reaching out for universal fulfilment. All this require us to rise in hope and unite for the revolution.  

So fear and tremble not. The battle is not only not over- It is barely been joined. And the momentum of history, like the logic of Science, is on our side. (Clara Fraser, Revolution, She wrote, 1998)

Highlighting the problematic common sensical approach of immediate redressal and dispersion of justice through popularly demanded methods rooted in violence in cases of sexual assault, Dr Sudha emphasised on the need for the development of a feminist outlook of issues of public concern in order to affectively overcome the outcome and by products of a patriarchal setting. Her discussion was rooted in the optimism one associates with the act of fighting injustice and thus provided hope for all future feminist resistance.

Social Media Politics, by Arpita Srivastav, member Stree Mukti Sangathan and IPTA

She created a holistic understanding of the current dependence on social media and it’s influence in terms of creating political consciousness by both appealing the mass and through disillusionment associated with conditioning individuals through mediums of fake news. Presenting her analysis on the topic “Social Media Politics”, she pointed the gender divisions in terms of access of social media, distorting ideas of social interaction, effective use of such platforms as political tool serving the purpose of party in power and growing slacktivism. Her understanding indicated towards the need for making individuals and groups accountable for actions being undertaken on these platforms and the need to question the sources of information prior to the formation of any assumption.

Population Theories and Policies around the world, By Dr. Nidhi Mishra

Dr Nidhi’s presentation provided a range of both historical and contemporary analysis of the modern state’s approach and attempt to deal with the question of population. Highlighting the various initiatives at the part of government be it compulsory sterilization of the poorer sections of the Indian society or china’s promotion of one child policy, a feminist analysis brings into focus the negligence on the part of the government to deal with the matters concerning women.  Pointing towards the positive experiences of the nation that lacked any state sanctioned population policy, she attempted to reinforce the alarming levels of sex based abortion and depriving health situations of women  involved in reproductive activities as state continues to endorse values peculiar to a male dominated society and a chauvinistic approach to population related issues. The presentation indicated towards the need of a common feminist standpoint for such matters in order to push forward women’s concerns within the arena of population policy matters. 

Along with sessions, various other activities were also conducted during the workshop. These included “Kon Banega Feminist”, a fun quiz aimed at reliving the past experiences and contributions of the organisation in the Indian feminist movement along with serving the purpose of introducing organisational history among new members. Another set of organised activity included the division of individuals into five groups, each given the task to choose a feminist icon who contributed to the growth of feminist ideology. Group 1 with Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar as their feminist icon emphasised how feminism is an ideology and not biology. The presentation highlighted his contributions in terms of introducing radical Hindu code bill, implementation of labour laws and demand for complete annihilation of caste to uproot all forms of gender based atrocities against women. Group 2 with Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy as its feminist icon aimed at drawing her life portrait with elements depicting her contribution in field of both medical science and women development were given special emphasis. Group also brought in the contributions of Olympe De Gouges, first woman philosopher and women right activist along with presenting the collage of feminist icons cutting across national boundaries. Group 3 had socialist feminist Alexandra Kollantai as their feminist icon and emphasised on ideals of socialist feminist orientation of society, radical interpretation of intimate relationship and other important contributions of kollantai.  Group 4 with their fascination to the scientific fiction “sultana’s dream” attempted to bring forward the contributions of Rukaiya Shekhawat Husain in establishing a feminist understanding along with questioning the deep rooted notions of gender discrimination in Indian society. Working on similar ground was the feminist icon chosen by the last group 5, Tarabai Shinde who through her writing work ‘Stree Purush Tulna’ highlighted the double standards of a patriarchal society and provided a radical understanding of gender relations within the Indian context. 

The three day workshop also included a variety of cultural performances in the form of poetry, music, theatrical performances and sharing of personal experiences of member throughout their journey with the organisation. The workshop was concluded on the note that we would keep organising sessions and discussion to sharpen our understating on the women’s question and an emancipatory future.


Arpita said...

बहुत बढिया रिपोर्ट लिखी साथियों!

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