Delhi’s One Billion Rising!
‘Pledge for no more violence against women’
Souzeina Mushtaq and Hilaans Nautiyal Delhi
This Valentine’s Day, thousands of women, men and youth from all walks of life commenced a daylong ‘One Billion Rising’ campaign with music, dance and plays. The motto being ‘Strike, Dance, Rise’. The campaign started simultaneously in India and in over 200 countries across the world.
One Billion Rising stems from the work of an organization called V-day that was founded in 1998 by Eve Ensler, author of the award-winning play, The Vagina Monologues. Every Valentine’s Day, Ensler’s group holds events around the world promoting equal rights for women.
“Nothing we have ever done has spread so fast and happened so easily. All these stories have built the outrage and ignited a fire burning through the world,” Ensler had said recently in an interview with The Guardian.
In Parliament Street, in Delhi, the event was organized in the evening at 5pm where around two thousand people, both men and women wearing pink bands, carrying colourful placards and posters saying ‘Stop Violence against women’ gathered to show their support for the global movement. The atmosphere was euphoric. People shouted slogans, calling an end for violence against women.
The event started with the performance by Delhi Rising, followed by dance by Samarthyam and Ability Unlimited. The event also included a play on Violence Against Women by Asmita Theatre, songs by Vidya Shah, a choreographed dance by students of Kamla Nehru College, a monologue by Lady Shri Ram College, a skit by Miranda House, Delhi University, and songs by community women and commitments by eminent activists.
Briefing the media about the campaign, Kamla Bhasin, Advisor of Sangat, A South Asian Feminist Network said women are yet to realize their freedom.
“In 1947, India got its freedom from the British but if we go by the statistics, women are not free and have yet to realize the freedom guaranteed and enshrined in the Constitution,” she said while emphasizing that it was the right time to start a new freedom movement for women and girls, freedom from patriarchy and violent masculinity.
According to the United Nations, one in three women in the world have been beaten or raped. This counts to over one billion women. With the increase in the number of violence against women, One Billion Rising is regarded as a step towards that new freedom- for justice, equality, peace and harmony.
“We have to rise as survivors, to make everyday a festival of equality, justice and love. To reclaim women’s dignity, respect and freedom,” said Akriti, a volunteer.
Over the past few months, the campaign has moved and touched the lives of people across India and South Asia, who came out to share their stories with the world.
“When I refused to go for sex determination test during my first pregnancy, my husband and in-laws tortured me a lot. Despite all the brutal pressure they put on me, I stood my ground,” said Rekha, who is raising her daughter as a single parent now.
Meanwhile, as part of the campaign, another event was held at National Law University campus in Dwarka. Put together by ANHAD, an NGO, women’s right’s organisations and educational institutions, the event also comprised of plays, skits and a flash mob performance.