Jantar Mantar Event, 2 November 2015

A little way into the turn of the Jantar Mantar road on 2nd November 2015 was a little space, seething power and liberation. A colourful stage flanked by banners, pictures and posters stood before an expectant audience, waiting patiently for the unfolding of the first glimpse of Kajarya in India. Kajarya is a movie which lays bare the palimpsest that India is. It deals with the issue of sex selective abortions in India and the methodology used therein. The trailer of this internationally acclaimed movie was to be launched, but before that, the spirit of One Billion Rising was ushered in to set the tone of the evening.

The programme started at 4:30 PM with overview speeches by Ms. Kamla Bhasin (OBR coordinator- South Asia) and Ms. Abha Bhaiya (OBR coordinator- India) on gender discrimination, child abuse, domestic violence, sex selective abortions and the role of One Billion Rising campaign in challenging all these. The audience saw words transforming into actions with heartwarming dance and theatrical performances put up by little children from SMS . Their musical piece depicting the child- father relationship was especially appreciated by the spectators. Next in line were slam poetry and rap performances by girls from Lady Shri Ram College for Women and Miranda House respectively. Raahi, an NGO working against child abuse also presented a freeze mob with powerful slogans put up on banners to raise awareness on the issue of child abuse. Mittika came up with a visual and compelling piece on men and masculinity. The Women’s Development Cell of Lady Shri Ram College had also put up an exhibition displaying the pictures from their sessions with children on gender sensitivity. Unprejudiced sketches made by the cell’s members and children aged 7-10 years of age earned a lot of appreciation from all present. Various organisations like Sangat, Action Aid, Jagori, FAT, Centre for health and Social Justice, Oxfam, CFAR, WSF etc. were present too.

Finally, Ms. Madhureeta Anand, the director of Kajarya, proceeded to the stage, accompanied by the cast and crew of her movie. By the time the clock ticked to the moment of the trailer launch of Kajarya, the audience was highly energised and the 2 minute long trailer only fastened their heartbeats. The stark realities of the Indian diaspora and its gendered treatment of the process of birth itself came brimming out of the lit screen and a pressing urge to change things shined through all pairs of eyes. The culmination of such an event could not be anything but an oath, a resolution of revolution. Everyone present lit candles in remembrance of all the girls who had disappeared from the Indian demographic and brought a perfectly solemn end to a passionate evening.

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