Love women with respect this Valentine's Day

Love women with respect this Valentine's Day

Love women with respect this Valentine's Day

Love women with respect. That sums up the overwhelming message of this Valentine’s Day, on Thursday, poignantly brought to the fore by well-known musician Anoushka Shankar’s painful admission of a sexual abuse that she suffered as a child.

Anoushka’s forthright yet powerful remark was voiced in a video she forwarded to a movement, called “One Billion Rising,” in support of a global campaign to end violence against women.  

On Wednesday, the distinct echo of that movement was heard again in India, a nation outraged by a savage gang-rape on a medical student. Demanding dignity and equality, women’s organisations chose to herald in Valentine’s Day packaged to sync with the “One Billion Rising” campaign.

They wanted love, but that feeling has to be with caring and with a deep sense of equality for women. Sharing their experiences of violence, the victims seek to add voice to the campaign, like Anoushka did on Wednesday from her London home.

Noted activist Kamala Bhasin stressed that point as she launched the campaign’s India leg in Delhi. “The campaign is for justice, equality, peace and harmony; we need to work on all aspects of life laws, governance, culture, religion, media and today we commit ourselves to carrying forward this freedom movement,” explained Bhasin.

Peppered with dance, music and street plays on women’s emancipation, the campaign has been propelled by artistes Shabana Azmi and Mallika Sarabhai, Javed Akhtar and Rahul Bose.

Shabana will kick off the campaign in Bhopal. Mallika Sarabhai will launch the drive in Ahmedabad. Disabled women and those working in marginal and exploitative occupations will add depth to the campaign. A public hearing in Bangalore, a prelude to the “One Billion Rising” campaign, had a cross section of women share their experiences of domestic violence on a common platform. 

For 31-year-old Anushka, the decision to get into an active campaign mode has a purpose. “As a child I suffered sexual and emotional abuse for several years at the hands of a man my parents trusted implicitly,” she was quoted as saying by the BBC. The daughter of legendary sitar player Ravi Shankar had to do it, “for the child in me who I don't think will recover from what happened.”

It’s a day for parents too

The Karnataka Education Department issued a circular on Wednesday directing the commissioner of Collegiate Education and vice-chancellors of all universities in the State to observe ‘Bhavanamana’ in all colleges on February 14, the Valentine’s Day.

The circular dated February 13, 2013, while referring to a note by the minister for Higher Education, states that students should be made aware of the Upanishadic dictum ‘Mathrudevo bhava, Pithrudevo bhava’ (treat mother and
father as gods).  

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