Dhai Aakhar Prem Ke, organized by Ek Saath Campaign and One Billion Rising and hosted by Sangat was an event to raise gender sensitisation against gender-based violence. Entry was open for all at the Stein Auditorium in Indian Habitat Centre at Lodhi Road, with roughly 250 people present to attend the event.
Ek Saath Campaign, which emerged in 2016 and aims to “engage men and boys to as partners for gender justice in changing gender social norms that are discriminatory.” It works towards dismantling archaic social gender norms and puts the onus on men to stop upholding discriminatory laws against women. Some of the country’s leading women’s organisations are a part of the campaign.
One Billion Rising was initiated for instigating international solidarity and was launched in response to increasing violence against women. The main objective of the campaign is to focus on the issue of justice for all survivors of gender violence. Sangat is a Delhi-based network of South Asian feminists working towards gender sensitization.
The event started with an introduction by Kamla Bhasin who referred to the current political climate and condemned religion based-violence, citing it as against the constitution. She emphasised the systematic violence practised against the minorities as against the tenets of the constitution, not just in India, but in every country. She condemned radicalisation of any kind, without overtly naming BJP or Hindu nationalists as perpetrators, though the reference was obvious.
Kamla Bhasin, who has occupied the feminist realm for the past few decades and is a vocal critic of capitalism, is known for her stellar work with the NGO Sangat and developing a network for South Asian feminists. She is the South Asian Coordinator for One Billion Rising.
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She talked about patriarchy and how in a reasonable world, one gender cannot take precedence over the other, which was followed by sloganeering for the next few minutes. Slogans which stated – “Hum maang ke lenge – Azaadi. Le hi lenge – Azaadi.”
Kamla Bhasin has often resorted to non-literary ways to create awareness, sloganeering primarily being one of them. She has worked on reconciling feminist theory with ground activism effectively and derided the idea that feminism is only a western concept.
Kamla Bhasin then gave way to Sonam Kalra who re-emphasised what she said about religion based and gender-based violence. She talked about the absurdity of the superiority of one human being to another and said that femininity must be celebrated. She started with a song of Faiz, and when finished, talked about her past experiences with similar performances she gave.
Sonam Kalra’s Sufi Gospel Project blends poetry, prayer and music. It is an internationally acclaimed project and she has engaged in social activism in the past to raise sensitivity around the topic of domestic violence. Sufi Gospel Project is the blending of different faiths through the medium of Sufi music. She has also given a TEDx talk.
She sang another song by Faiz followed by Hallelujah, and every song was followed by a break where she talked about the need for gender sensitisation and decisions based on love and not fear or insecurity of any kind. This was the template for the rest of the event, songs were sung to raise sensitivity against violence and detailing the futility of it.
Sonam Kalra has detailed the essentialness of a “unified” voice and oneness through music several times in the past. The whole point of the event was instigating solidarity through music.
Also Read: Kamla Bhasin: On Feminism in Pakistan and India
Featured Image Credit: Sangat Facebook Page