Over the weekend, the Ansari auditorium of Jamia Millia Islamia University took on a fiery hue as students across the academic spectrum came together to raise their voice against crimes against women.
The Sarojini Naidu Centre for Women's Studies and the Outreach Programme collaborated with Delhi-based organisations for an evening of art, music, dances and strong opinions to strengthen the ‘One Billion Rising for Justice’ campaign to end violence against women. Students marked their presence and support by attending the event in impressive numbers.
Flaunting pink ribbons that read “Haq hai humara ahimsa” (Non violence is our right), people showed their support. While inaugurating the session, the acting Vice Chancellor, SM Sajid won a thunderous applause from the assembled gathering of students and university dons when he said, “At present there is a 35 per cent representation of girls in the university, but we would want to take it up to 50 per cent.” He also reiterated support to the campaign to end violence against women.
University students exhibited their paintings outside the hall on mostly gender-based themes such as female foeticide. “I was enraged when a girl was made to swallow glass, such incidents leave a horrifying imprint on one’s mind. In my painting I have used a barbed wire around the womb of a woman to show how our society shackles women,” says Malvika Rastogi, a second year Bachelor of Fine Arts student.
A nine-minute film was the opening act of the evening, it showed how on February14, people gathered in 207 countries across the world to strengthen the One Billion Rising campaign. There were dances, news clippings and bytes set to rousing music in this short film. The film has been selected for viewing in this year’s Sundance film
festival. Following the film were girls from Srijanatmak Manushi who performed
on Mann ke Manjeere a rendition by well-known singer Shubha Mudgal.
Tony award-winner playwright and activist, Eve Ensler, took to the stage telling the audience, “People ask me what keeps me coming back to India, I say, who wouldn’t keep coming back here, it is such an amazing place. After the Delhi gang-rape, people started calling it the ‘rape capital’, but Delhi is the unearthing capital of the world as media and people finally came out and reported these stories.”
Eve ended her speech with a note, saying, “We need to end patriarchy and turn it into love and connect.”
What followed next was a powerful performance by the firebrand activist. Performing ‘In The Body Of Justice’, she enthralled the audience with her recital, which she says was specially penned keeping India in mind. Thumping her feet, emphatically reciting her act, Eve held the audience spellbound. “I am dancing for the return of the bees and the butterflies and the birds...I am dancing ...thumped and I am not afraid this time, no not anymore,” were almost the closing lines of Eve’s act that infused a sense of passion and activism in the audience.
Besides, there was a special address by the Special CP Delhi Traffic Police, Taj Hassan, and some riveting performances by Justin McCarthy, Katie Gray and Manzil Mystics.