The Aurat March is an annual political demonstration organised in various cities of Pakistan. 

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Pakistani womxn organised Aurat March across various cities in Pakistan. The Aurat March is organized under the banner of “Hum Auratain” (we women), an umbrella term for a collective of feminist women, transgender individuals, nonbinary persons, and gender and sexual minorities who stand against the patriarchal structures that result in the sexual, economic, and structural exploitation of women.

It all started two years ago when a couple of feminist groups from Karachi decided to hold a march on International Women’s Day, 8th March. Nighat Dad, the founder of Digital Rights Foundation and one of the organisers of the march in Lahore wrote, “The agenda of the march was to demand resources and dignity for women, for the transgender community, for religious minorities, and those on the economic margins, but more importantly, to acknowledge that women’s emancipation is inherently linked with improvement of all mistreated groups and minorities”.

According to the ‘Hum Auratain’ collective manifesto, there was no NGO or corporate funding and no political party alliance. It demands economic justice including implementation of labour rights, the Sexual Harassment against Women in the Workplace Act 2010, recognition of women’s input to the ‘care economy’ as unpaid labour and provision of maternity leaves and day care centres to ensure women’s inclusion in the labour force. It also demands environmental justice.

Women’s right to climate justice and resilience must be recognised and ensured, it said, access to safe drinking water, safe and clean air, protection of animals and wildlife, including cessation to the culling of stray dogs, and ensuring and protecting women’s food sovereignty, and recognition of women’s participation in the production of food and cash crops.

Other points in the manifesto included accountability and restorative justice against violence, access to a fair justice system, the inclusion of women with disabilities, the inclusion of transgender community, reproductive justice, access to public spaces including transport services and clean public toilets, inclusion in educational institutions, etc.

Then there were the more sedate messages. Five coffins were placed at one end of the park, with chilling signs stuck to them. ‘Honour Killing’, Transgender Killings’, ‘Child Victims’, ‘Domestic Workers/Polio Workers murdered’, and ‘Domestic Violence’ – a reminder of why women are killed every day.

The rally, organised by a collective called ‘Hum Auratain’ was huge and held in different cities – Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Hyderabad.


Feature Image Credits: Zuneera Shah for Dawn

Paridhi Puri

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A strong ballad that reminds you of the quintessential essence of Music, Harry Style’s Sign of the Times echoes our struggle for equality and keeps our hopes alive for the young must conquer. 

There’s a special thing about Music and lyric – it’s eternal presence; the ever long availability and it’s the ability to feed in artificial and human memory makes it a significant instrument to strike the chords of change that are hard to achieve otherwise. These crisp, short, hard-hitting words in sumptuous symphonies or in an amalgamation of rock and roll deploy a certain kind of adrenaline rush. Coupled with the popular stars who have an increasing base and reach, the theme of political and social relevance often finds a place in their approach and outset that promulgates important messages. 

From Beatles to Beyonce, music together with other performance arts has been an important tool to achieve social objectives, from racism to mental health and in dealing with events like elections and gun violence in the states. ‘Every revolution has a sound,’ the echoes of the modern struggle for equality is well observed in many songs but for many specific reasons I choose Harry Styles debut solo single ‘Sign of the Times.’

A subtle and splendid number from the ex One Directioner, was a surprise to many that harkens back to David Bowie transcending the 70s to modern geopolitical context, ‘Sign of the Times’ takes somewhat an eschatological end born out of the political suffering. 

The lyrics of the song are just like the untangling of the complexity of an extreme simpleton, basic words, strong sentences, construct hard phrases that leave ambiguous interpretations. The song is about the pangs of a dying woman who is being separated from her child after childbirth, she has five minutes for being all the moral and didactic to her child who needs to ‘conquer the world’ as the reality approaches, but is that it? In an interview with Rolling Stone, Styles talks about the ‘Fundamentals’ that inspire him for this piece, things like Equality, Human Rights. Styles compels us to think about these basic things that are often sought to be an obligation on the part of the authority are due essentials on the part of every single being. 

In a further exchange with the New York Times, Styles takes on the political upheaval and catastrophes ensuing the show of political superiority in the world, he talks how the outside chaos in the world can’t be segregated from his song. He says, “We’re in a difficult time, and I think we’ve been in many difficult times before.” Further quotes, “But we happen to be in a time where things happening around the world are absolutely impossible to ignore … It’s very much me looking at that. It’s a time when it’s very easy to feel incredibly sad about a lot of things.”

The current situation appropriately explains the lyrics and the feelings that a significant amount of population carries in times of distress, the sense of freedom, the idea of hope to calm the human emotions that are inevitable in a crisis as such. Sceptical about it? Remember the lines. 

“Just stop your crying It’s a sign of the times We gotta get away from here We gotta get away from here Just stop your crying It’ll be alright They told me that the end is near We gotta get away from here”


Image Credits: spin

Faizan Salik

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The year 2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. His words are acknowledged far and wide for their deep-rooted wisdom which he presented in the most accessible language for all. Here is an intersectional piece on his ideas of social service and the education of children.

Since the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to interact with the children of the migrant labourers who were working in my college. Spending time with four of them made me realise and think deeply about a lot many things that are still happening, and are significantly pressing issues in India, which are sadly overlooked. Holding bricks in their little hands came more naturally to them than holding a book or a badminton racquet. This image, as simple as it might sound in its description, made me question the very living reality I am a part of.

In all of his seriousness, Mahatma Gandhi once said, “I would develop in the child his hands, his brains, his soul. Now the hands have almost atrophied and the soul has been ignored.” The words he spoke years ago ring a deathly cacophony in the face of modern India – an India built on hopes, dreams, and immense ambitions. Upon interacting with those children, I found how the very act of accessing good education is a dream too fancy to dream. They are a generation of unlettered Indians, much like their parents and grandparents. They will continue to be a part of the vicious labour cycle, because we have continued to sit quietly in our ignorance. In the actions on my part, I taught them to play badminton, how to read and write alphabets, and they taught me the value of privilege.

I hope that they all get an equal opportunity for a beautiful childhood because that is what every child deserves. That is a future our founding fathers longed for, and a future which they died for. It rattles me to the core, when we boast of the fact that India is developing and whatnot – is all of that true, or just a globalised facade while the local reality remains unnerving? There is a long way ahead of us with a long trail to tread. Are we mere paper tigers when it comes to implementation? It is here that Mahatma Gandhi’s words ring all the more true, in a dire need to be put into action, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” It surely is a battle, but one to be won with pen, patience, and systematic resistance, in going out and reaching to this parallel reality of India. It is at this powerful juncture the motto, “Each one, teach one” almost screams to me in all its naked truth. It screams how one person has the power to bring changes in their immediate ecosystems. It screams how we are just one action away from building our future and giving no individual effort in this pious task.

Every person has the right to lead a life of dignity, respect, and one where they are not exploited. Even spending as less as 15 minutes a day to teach something to an illiterate child can bring watershed changes in our society; one which have been lying dormant for the longest time. Brace up and buckle up, India. Every effort of every individual counts, and it is the time to contribute substantially to the cause of the leaders whose birth and death anniversaries we celebrate with pomp and show, while ironically rolling down our car windows to buy chai from young children who deserve an education.

Feature Image Credits: Amrashree Mishra for DU Beat

Amrashree Mishra

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In an episode of Bojack Horseman, I saw some smart satire when a news panel discussion on sexual harassment was going on, while the participants in the discussion were four to five old white males. Now, I have seen this satire turn into reality!

If you do not know yet, Kirori Mal College (KMC) was having a panel discussion on “Inspiring Stories Around
Us” and two-thirds of the panelists were men! Ironically, the discussion was being organised by KMC’s Women’s Development Cell (WDC)(yes, let that sink in).
The event faced backlash from many circles in the University of Delhi (DU) but the people who are speaking in its defence meekly say, “Hey, we promote equality. So why should gender even matter? Male or female, everyone is nice.”
Why should gender even matter? Well, gender has mattered immensely for centuries – from the time of early “man” to the 21st century of “man-made” goods – so we definitely cannot turn a blind-eye to the concept.
A ridiculous creation in this century with a rise in feminist movements, has been the word “meninist”. For these so-called meninists, “feminism” is synonymous with
a derogatory remark. “Aye haye, yeh toh feminist hai (Oh no, she is a feminist)” is something that I have been hearing for
a long time, and it is a bleak realisation that I have stayed silent with such sentences being thrown around.

I also feel guilty for saying things like “Femi-
Nazi” or “don’t be such a pussy”. When I was
corrected by people, it is not like I accepted them the way a disciple listens
to Jesus. I made a face and gave my arguments – “Hey, I just say this casually but I believe in equality. I’m not sexist.” Yet, the very fact that I found calling someone
a Nazi “casual” shows you where the problem lies.

Similarly, people are quick to jump on
the bandwagon with arguments like “But I
respect my mother/sister/girlfriend/wife” when their casual sexism is called out. But that is your basic obligation as a good human being. You will not get a trophy for that! Why does a woman even have to be related to you or another man for you, to respect her? What people need to understand is that despite all this ideological respecting, they might still falter. It is perfectly all right, as long as you wish to grow by listening, and trying to understand what the other person is saying.

Another ridiculous argument that I have heard proud and “woke” meninists to be making is biological in nature. “These women want itna (so much) equality, then why do they need paid maternity leave?” Yes, sure, women are consciously craving to get  menstrual cycles and nine months
of pregnancy pain, right? This argument again prompts some people to look at women as sensitive creatures and we start sympathising or pedestalising, when what we clearly need to do is empathise. In this age, when we can point out problematic arguments with counter-arguments, we can only hope that everyone listens to all opinions, and they accept their mistakes if they say something baseless. Alas! this seems Utopian, since right now, people like the meninists only seem to feel attacked at the drop of a hat (as if they are the target of attack for anything that concerns women).
It is not hard to be a feminist. It is fine if you do not want to share Instagram stories, if you do not wish to join feminist marches, some elitist feminist organisations, or a WDC with an all-male panel. You can, at the least, try learning. You can be a feminist, most importantly, by just not accepting all the problematic stereotypes and jokes that have
been passed on through generations. It is not as if without the sexist jokes, without calling a cowardly person a “pussy”, or calling a feminist a “Nazi”, your world would be shattered.
Trust me, it will not. It is fine to not be a youth activist or influencer. But if you can consciously try to correct “meninist” notions from the past, so that future generations can learn better, I think that is quite enough, for now.

Shaurya Singh Thapa

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The Indian Judiciary System sure has substantial laws for the protection of women, but where does one go when these laws are not used as shields, but as weapons? 

Humanity proclaims that justice is the right of every individual, regardless of their gender, caste, social status. But what steps have we taken to ensure that? Let’s address this phenomenon that needs acknowledging but is also just as much overlooked by talking about issues faced by Men- The forgotten gender.     

India’s Sons, a documentary that brings forward the anecdotes of false rape case survivors. It’s a film that traces journey, ordeals and escapes of innocent men who were falsely accused of rape charges. This documentary aims to start a dialogue over misuse of rape laws and reveal the unsaid truth behind India’s title of Rape Capital. 

A statistical report compiled after a survey showed that out of the total rape charges filed, 53% of them were false accusations. There was a case in which, the girl, willingly eloped with her boyfriend and when she came back, the family had filed rape charges against the boy. In 2012, out of the total rape cases which were filed in Delhi, the acquittal rate (acquittal- not guilty of a crime) was 46% but after the horrifying case of Nirbhaya, when the rape laws were amended, the acquittal rate went up to 70%. Just imagine, out of 100 cases of rape accusations against men, 70 of them were in fact false. We as youngsters feel so frustrated when we are wrongfully or mistakenly accused of something we didn’t do during typical conflicts and teenage drama. Visualise the trauma one goes through when he is falsely accused of such heinous crime. One loses all respect in society, his job, his social status. Sometimes their own family disowns them. These men see no way out but to kill themselves. And sometimes they even spend decades in jail. 

Rape is a heinous crime, but if someone is falsely accused of it, it’s an equally inhuman manifestation. If this issue is still not that sensitive to you and you believe that this suffering of innocent men is a price paid for the protection of women (if you’re a Pseudo-Feminist) then let’s familiarise you with the further harsh truth. When an innocent man is accused of such crimes, the humiliation and punishment is not only faced by him but also by his 18-year-old sister and his 60-year-old mother. 

Apart from this, Section 498(a) of the Indian Penal Code, a law made with very noble motives to prevent violence and cruelty faced by married women. 35 years down the lane, Today, section 498(a) is being known as the law that’s been most misused in the history of jurisprudence. Barely 18% of the number of people accused under this law are actually found guilty. I am certain there would be a necessity for evidence of this statistic because we’re talking about men. When we talk about women, we don’t really need to give evidence.

There was once a man who had a 2-year-old son from a 6-year-old marriage. He had a DNA test conducted on his son due to certain suspicions. The next day he was arrested under the act of dowry reported by his wife when she found out about the test. Certainly, the results showed he was not the father of his child. So the child belonged to somebody else and his wife put him behind bars. There have been cases where people were accused of being incriminated in sexual harassment at the workplace because the woman didn’t get a good appraisal so she filed charges against her superior. Writers of various crime serials that are shown on television these days were asked, “Why don’t you televise cases in which the accused men were later proven innocent?” To which they answered, “When we show such episodes, the TRP doesn’t go that high. People don’t see it as an issue and don’t consider it as painful and worthy.”

While it’s a good sign that we have all these laws for the protection of India’s Daughters, why to disregard India’s sons, who might not be dead but are just existing and waiting to be buried because of crimes they did not commit.

Why should you care?

“If the cry of a wolf is made too often as a prank, assistance may not be available when an actual wolf appears” – Supreme Court of India.

Source: Martyrs of Marriage by Deepika Narayan.

Feature Image Credits: Milaap 

Avni Dhawan 

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The ladies coach of the Delhi metro is touted to be a safe space for women. However, an experience in the general coach brought the nuances of reservation and safe spaces for women in perspective. Read on to find out why.

After a tiring day at the college, all I wanted was a comforting nap in my only place of solace, the Metro. It had already arrived on the platform, so I rushed towards the ladies’ coach, only to land up in the general coach. It was crowded with almost no space to stand. Just then I saw a man sitting on the seat reserved for ladies in the general coach. I approached towards that seat, but as soon as I reached there, I decided not to take it.

My decision was based on a few observations I made during my experiences of travelling in the metro. The first one was the question which always came to my mind- Why do I need a reserved space as a woman? I could recollect the phrase “missing women” which was coined by Amartya Sen when he showed that in parts of the developing world, the ratio of women to men in the population is suspiciously low. The same case of missing women arises when it comes to women in public spaces. Because of the lack safe spaces for women, the women’s coach brings in a sense of comfort and is one of the safe spaces in the lives of women. Suppose there were no ladies coach on the Delhi metro, then maybe these “missing women” may disappear even further. As it is not always the case that women travel alone, there is the provision for reserved seats for women in the general coach. Therefore, these underlying problems make it very necessary for me and all other women to have a reserved safe space.

In another instance, I saw a woman in her twenties scolding a man to get up from his seat (which was not reserved), as if, he is obliged to show the chivalry she was expecting from him. But even if it was a reserved seat, on that very instance I had chaotic tension in my mind over my entitlement towards that reserved space. What defines my entitlement towards that seat? Is it my sex or is it because of the social hindrances I face that make me obliged to it? Women are the ones who are on the receiving end of social discrimination. But when I consider myself as an empowered and aware woman, I have to check my privilege of enfranchisement to this seat and chivalry I expect from men. When I say I need a safe space, I also imply that I would not use this boon to my advantage for a warranted chivalry to be shown by men.

Feminism and women empowerment are not just women’s issues. They are a collective of efforts by men and women to equalize opportunities for all.  The equalization will happen only when I don’t use my identity, but my social disadvantage due to the dysfunctional society.  My feminism stands for empowerment of women not because they are women, but because they faced the evils of the society as they are women. In a way I offered the seat to that man, and that made me feel empowered.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Sriya Rane

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Read on to know how this indoctrinated system of privilege makes us blind towards the condition of those who come under the reserved categories. 

On entering your University of Delhi (DU) college, you will find people who belong to the reserved categories. Before you pass a quick, seemingly harmless judgement, here are several things you must consider.

  • Equality vs Equity:

Reservation and equality are talked about simultaneously. While reservation is not synonymous to equality, it becomes imperative to know that the reserved and the unreserved categories do not have the same pedestal to start from. High-handed statements about reservation having been there for seven decades, and that there is no discrimination in the ‘India of today’ will instantly evaporate on reading a newspaper, with headlines screaming of caste-based discrimination and violence. 

We must also understand that caste-based and economic discrimination are not very different from each other. In a society where we have certain jobs like manual scavenging, cleaning toilets, etc. ascribed to a particular section of society, we must not take education away from them because it is the only tool that they have to dream of an upward social mobility. 

  • They get it easier:

People who have access to convents and DPSs, with world-class education, and people who don’t even have funds for a decent basic education, write the same board exams, and are marked irrespective of their social background. For that student to score above 75%, with the limited amount of resources is, if anything, more difficult than their privileged counterparts. 

22.5 per cent of the total numbers of seats is reserved in DU for candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (15 per cent for Scheduled Caste and 7.5 per cent for Scheduled Tribes, interchangeable, if necessary), as per DU’s website. And although the numbers vary in different surveys, the amount of SC and ST inhabitants in the country is over 25%. Therefore, to say that every reservation candidate will get into DU is a rather poorly researched argument. 

  • It is time reservations should end: 

“Discrimination is already illegal in India. In fact, so is murder. Yet court after court is acquitting self-confessed brutal mass murderers of Dalits,” Vidyut, Founder of the website Aam Janta, writes. People feel reservations are divisive, and they are. But they are the effect, and not the cause. People should take it upon themselves to end discrimination, and the need of reservation will end, thereof. 

  • The fault in our systems: 

 “If the general category students think they are losing out of seats then their fight should be for more colleges and universities,” says Niharika Dabral, an outgoing student of the Varsity. Rather than ending caste-based reservations, management quotas that reek of nepotism and networking is the real fault that exists in our system. 

For a central educational institution like DU, it becomes a moral responsibility to make sure it has seats reserved for the underprivileged to safeguard their rights because they do not have the kind of money to pay the tuition for privately-funded institutions, let alone give donations to get admitted – as is not uncommon. 

All being said, reservation isn’t the medicine that the society is meant to ingest to cure it of caste-based discrimination. Rather, it is a protective measure that is here to stay till the psychological cleansing has been done, and people recognise each other for what they are – humans. 

Feature Image Credits: Aam Janta

Maumil Mehraj

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Here’s a culmination of thoughts about what I have come to feel and believe in.

“Turning and Turning into the widening, The falcon cannot hear the falconer. Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold, Mere anarchy is loosened upon the world.” – W.B. Yeats (The Second Coming)
In my three years of studying English Literature, I do not think I have come across lines that better define the times that we have become a part of, both partly willingly and partly reluctantly.
With the turn of the year and the ever-nearing elections, we are seeing the worst that this country has to offer. We had a near war-like situation with Pakistan, there have been various accounts of Muslim lynchings, the situation of Kashmir is continuously falling into an everlasting non-conclusionary void. We have become the community that loves cows more than the girl child while rapes are still growing more in number and less human in grit.
Netflix, seemingly the only hope of escape from the brutal reality, has started cancelling shows that we want to watch and I do not understand what this Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) system in the University of Delhi (DU) is, in which you can’t even get marks.

India, as a nation, has achieved a feat of having killed 30 million women, from unborn children, to honour killings. To put it in comparison, even Hitler killed six million Jews. We, however are the nation of the woke and the ancient dharma. These are the deeds of Indians and religious fanatics – both Hindus and Muslims alike. No Pakistanis, no Chinese, no West – we are stuck protecting the cows and calling ourselves chowkidars, forgetting the duty we hold for our girl children. When will this play – pretend end? Many men have started becoming a part of the equal rights movement, yet where are the mainstream movements against lewd advertisements and songs? When will we realise silence is supportive only for the oppressor?
Another thing that bothers me is the society’s ignorance at how men are the victims of patriarchy too. We need to let go of the stigma that toxic masculinity and patriarchy put us men at a pedestal that damages us as well. We need the equality, the normality, as much as women do. It isn’t men versus women; it’s us together versus this social construct of patriarchy.

As the elections draw closer, we are seeing everyone choosing sides on this mindless battle of two parties with people going like “I will vote for Modi ji” or “I will vote for Rahul Gandhi.”

Everyone has blatantly forgotten that these elections are to vote for the person standing and delivering in your area. Vote for them based on facts and accountability, not based on propaganda jingoism.There are many more gloomy things that could have been entailed in this rant. However, I believe I have done my bit to share my thoughts enough to make at least one man think of what is happening in this great, beautiful nation, that has merely become a playground where the rich kids have the toys and we are stuck eating sand.
“It is what it is,
The playground of the puppets,
The ‘woke’ with strings attached, Those asleep completely detached.
In the great circus of life,
With the audience and the Joker, Maybe its all a dream, or maybe it’s over, When will we wake up to see things closer?
It is what it is.

A play with no players, and no god watching us over.”

Haris Khan
[email protected]

Read on to find out about the gem LSR’s Dramatics Society has created and why it is a play we must all go to see.

The Dramatics Society of Lady Shri Ram College has created a marvel in their street play, crushing the myths against people with disabilities, called Today’s Special. It takes you through a roller-coaster with its stellar acting, splendid music and inspiring story. In a few minutes it is able to encapsulate so many aspects of a person with disability’s struggle and how we as individuals have not just refused to acknowledge this, but also worsened it by humoring their hardships.

The play starts with a girl getting ready for a race, only for situations to reveal how she suffers from a problem in her leg, as the audiences’ reaction changes to silence, it clearly shows how in our daily life reactions are not much different. Why should she be seen different? Is a question that arises in our minds and continues when in the next breath the play depicts how in a school, little children draw people with disabilities as monsters, and not heroes.

The connotations attached to the people with disability do not end at ‘different’ but are also ‘villainized’. These negative connotations are not reinforced by strangers but also by their blood. One such scene shows how the sister of a person with disability, embarrassed by her sibling, locks him in a room on her birthday party to not be seen by anyone.

LSR’s play also talks about the provisions for people with disability. They show the seemingly negligible percentage of reservations in jobs, the constant running from one place to another due to the absence of infrastructural facilities and the pressure put by school authorities to put their children in ‘special’ schools. This brings forth the third connotation attached to the people with disability : they are ‘special’ or devyang. The question of whether these people should be put on a pedestal, whether they should be inspirational or godly is purely subjective and debatable.

Keeping in mind even their daily struggles are far greater and incomparable than what abled people must go through, their lives and endurance does become an inspiration for all of us. But for some, the idea of being ‘different’ could arouse feelings of isolation and alienation. Do they want to be seen as different? Do they want for no distinctions to exist? Do they want their struggles to be reflected in its true essence? Subjectivity arises in the spaces between these questions. More than our opinion, what matters is their own and for us to respect those.

Their sublime music also stands out in course of their play. The play takes a dig at the song “Ladki Aankh Maare” for its “Tusshar Kapoor ki awaaz mei..” which instantly puts light on the internalised and covert discrimination we are all guilty of. Whether or not we danced to this song since it came out or liked Tusshar Kapoor’s character in Golmaal, how many of us realised the grave insensitivity both carried? Or how we have laughed at Rani Mukherjee’s dialogue in the film, Black, “mujhe lagta hai baarish hone wali hai..”.

Today’s Special ends on a powerful and beautifully written aspect of sex and dating life of the people with disability. In a heart wrenching scene, it depicts the sexual assault of a girl on a wheelchair by her caretaker and misunderstands this as love. The thoughtless and insensitive comments and questions on the technicalities of sex by abled people to the people with disability is a scene which accurately depicts how sex has been made a taboo. While the last scene shows how a girl with a disability meets someone who brings her out of guilt and embarrassment, the audience is left with several thoughts of self-reflection.

LSR’s play is a movement. Authorities, film makers and we as individuals have failed the people with disability on several levels. Beyond a few tokenistic measures and facilities no tangible step towards their lives have been truly made. Shonali Boses’ “Margarita with a Straw” is one of the few gems which speaks their story and the possibilities of self-discovery, romance and so much more. But even though such films win awards, it fails to win hearts at the Box Office and thus remains few.

At an important time like this, where political parties are demanding votes, we should demand a change. Better facilities and infrastructure for the people with disability at schools, colleges, universities and other buildings, genuine and apt reservations at offices and other places, better laws are some ideas which can become a starting point in this journey.  As a society, we need a change of thinking and mindset. Emotions of shame, guilt or embarrassment should not be attached to the individual or his or her disability or their families. Now as for ourselves, we need to reflect on our actions towards the people with disability.  The ability to overlook the larger picture and simply laugh along comes from a place of privilege. While we have no control over how we are born, what we make of ourselves is what speaks volumes. And therefore, it becomes our prerogative to stand with the people with disability and to bring some sensitivity- that person may not be your sister or brother, mother or father, but is an individual in and of themselves and deserves this respect.


Feature Image Credits: Shivani Dadhwal for DU Beat.

Shivani Dadhwal

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The recent upliftment of driving ban, government’s strategy under the garb of the move and women’s miserable lives – is the battle against patriarchy over in Saudi Arabia?

The recent announcement by the Saudi royal family and officials of the upliftment of ban on women’s driving may seem like an unprecedented victory for Saudi women but it has little to do with their empowerment. Besides, it will be implemented till June 2018.

The sudden news can be anticipated as part of the crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman’s Vision 2020 or a strategy to improve his image internationally after ousting two distinguished prospective crown princes. This ‘radical’ change would improve his stature as a ‘feminist’ thinker and assist him in ascending the throne very soon. But all the applause that is being showered on the royal family is not to be credited to them but those women who struggled for this right since the 1990s and ended up in jails.

During the press release, it was stated that a special committee would be made to chalk out the way to go about implementing this idea of women driving motor vehicles in Saudi Arabia. What is quite startling to note is that this has been issued stating its accordance with the Sharia law and order which according to the officials earlier could damage women’s ovaries and jeopardise their fertility.
First and foremost, the question that arises is the new law’s proper and just implementation, whether the male guardian’s permission still be an obstacle in giving women this freedom and to what extent will they be able to contribute to the country’s economic growth.

Now you must be thinking what this male guardianship is and that is where Saudi women’s real freedom lies. Women in Saudi Arabia cannot travel, marry, get educated, employed or even get a medical surgery done without a male (whether father, husband, son or any other male relative) guardian’s consent. They cannot mingle or even talk with the male fraternity in public barring their guardian(s). Saudi women don’t even have a right over her children beyond age 7 for daughters and 9 for sons. Giving the son the authority to decide the mother’s fate is absolutely appalling and so in line with ancient traditions. Women are considered as mere objects for sexual pleasures.
Women and men all over the world have been trying to escape the shackles of patriarchy and here is a country that is reinstating ancient patriarchy and practically has not entered the 21st-century mindset.

I hope that these women’s lives can be changed similar to the women of Israel and Egypt and also hope you feel proud to be in a country like India.

Feature Image Credits: mintpressnews.com


Prachi Mehra
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