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Feminist, blogger and activist Anasuya Sengupta, in an essay called ‘Fundamentalisms of the Progressive‘ wrote,
‘One of our campaigns was to wear a white ribbon for peace (the White Ribbon Campaign for Peace, India) – we used it both as a symbol and as a talking point, to begin conversations about violence of all kinds, including what we call ‘communalism’ in India (the rousing of hatred against particular communities). Initially, some of our friends scoffed at us, and wondered what an insignificant white ribbon could do, to change attitudes and animosities.
But the interesting thing was that there were so many people – both young and not so young – who were unable to be political in the same way as they saw ‘activists’; they felt this meant standing at street corners with banners, or going on rallies, or shouting slogans against the government. They found this too ‘political’ (in their understanding of the term), and yet they were deeply disturbed at the kinds of violence being perpetrated in the name of religion.
So for these people, wearing a ribbon was the beginning of a series of conversations they had with others, which began other processes of change, at least in terms of breaking the silence around violence.
And because it was something everyone could do – and have conversations at whatever level of politics and ideology each was comfortable with – it wasn’t intimidating in any way, and yet gave a sense of belonging to a community against violence, and speaking up for peace.’
Do you believe in pluralism and justice?
Are you Secular, liberal, free thinking?
Do you believe that all religion has in its essence ways of leading a soulful, integrated and fulfilled life?
Do you believe that religious extremism has done us no good?
Say No to religious bigotry.
In the past few days we have seen a brave intercession in the country’s political sphere. In what is becoming an increasingly stifling atmosphere for diversity and difference, it’s time to take a backseat and readjust our gaze.
To speak for all women in India one needs to stifle some aspect of one’s identity so that your voice comes through and is easily translatable. But to speak today, I’m going to stop trying to stifle the angst that is keeping me so narrowly focused, or else, I would just buckle-up and abandon the fight. So I speak as a woman and as a Muslim.
After Gujarat 2002 the psyche of the nation was shocked beyond belief that it was actually possible that the fabric of the country’s humanism had eroded. Had 60 years of being citizens of a secular republic not had any effect on us?
If what we saw in Gujarat is the success of a laboratory experiment in Fascism then it is important to analyse with great care its philosophy and hypotheses. To know how the symptoms were bred and where the zeal came from, to look at both perpetrator and victim and the real difference between them.
What effect the massacres of Gujarat have had upon the women in Gujarat will show itself in time. Because implicit in the understanding of sexual violation and rape as a means of extermination is a thinking that is at its root the gravest danger to feminine life.
Can we talk about this easily? No. Because we are suffering from it. There is no tenderness in the act of disclosure. No safe vantage point where our grief will find utterance. We’ve buried ourselves with and in it in order to exist so as to safeguard some other means of being. We will try to reach it, point fingers at it and leverage it on other indirect causes but our loss is as clear as the silence and rebuttal after an outrage. Nothing that can be said carries with it any meaningful articulation when it comes to this. Where there should be pain, agitation, aching and remorse there is grim intolerance set in sullen eyes, all too willing to look away.
What distance or gap could separate a woman from another’s pain? It could only be the vindictiveness that makes one want someone else also to suffer and feel what you have been through. This only means that the difference between pain is just of degree. When inhumanity is bred, that process is one of pain. In cold blood. Wanting to put someone else through the endless road to doom that you are already walking. Because you have been bred, not to immunity but to the vice. Because you can see better but you don’t want to because you didn’t have any better. When one woman is violated, all women are at shame. And all men are to blame. And this makes the massacres of Gujarat a telling systemic register for the sexual ethics in our ‘nation’.
Hope is still a better vision of the world because one has the imagination for change. The deepest precipices are written over but the outcry needs to be addressed first.
We all have been wronged.
More from the Feminist Front in Ultra-Violet.
And if you disagree with what I have said, because you can feel, then, lets come together.
It’s happening.It’s finally happening!
And it is also time to shed light on what really happened in Godhra.
The Tehelka Story on the operation brings to us the remorseless voices that orchestrated the tragedy.
After having moved the fourth estate, lets hope and pray that this operation moves the judicial machinery into taking the right steps towards trying and punishing all the accused named and implicated in the videos.Elections are due in December and contrary to the BJP’s view that this comes as a sabotaging act to the electoral process, this is in fact an aid to the concept of free and fair democracy.
A lot of what the tapes tell us is common knowledge in Gujarat. But having perpetrators implicate themselves on film is evidence that cannot be easily denied.And for the process of trial there is this and much more.It is time for the Center and the Election Commission to step in and stop the same criminal government from coming back again, in the name of development and progress.
For the public of Gujarat that seeks to put the shadows of 2002 behind, there can be no circumventing the issues of 2002.These are glaring wounds that yearn to be dealt with.
As a people we give thanks in deference to the entire Tehelka team, to Tarun Tejpal, Harinder Baweja, Ashish Khetan and Shoma Choudary among others.