Ring the Bell

Ring the Bell

Ring the Bell and Indiblogger organized a meet on International Women’s Day.  The aim is lofty i.e.

Ring The Bell calls on men and boys around the world to take a stand and make a promise to act to end violence against women. From 8th March 2013 to 8th March 2014 we’re going to get a million men to make a million promises to ACT to end violence against women

It was a well organized event with celebrities like actor Rahul Bose, Entrepreneur Priya  Paul, Sitarist Anoushka Shankar, her fingers move on the sitar string like wow!  There is no way to describe it.  I reached very early and saw her rehearsing.  It made me think I’d seen it all.  But then she performed live on stage and it mesmerized me. .Mahabanoo Modi Kotwal was a huge surprise.  I am a fan now.  SWARATHMA, is electrifying.  I am going to buy their music.  Advaita Kala of Kahani was also there.  She spoke about women as strong women and definitely sexual beings.

 

Under the sky, Sitarist Anoushka Shankar rehearsing

Under the sky, Sitarist Anoushka Shankar rehearsing

As far as the aim is concerned, the ground realities sadly, are pathetic.  The laws for Women’s Reservations and Rape still gather dust in some filing cabinet while the Parliamentarians are busy sniping at each other and taking potshots at each other – it is pre election year, you see.  The powers that be are not “Ringing the bell.”

Swarathma did a wonderful satire on politicians, but their song on child abuse titled GHUM or LOST was awesome.  I was too enthralled by their performance and did not take pics.  This is from their Facebook page

 

Swarathma

 

I live in Haryana where women are treated at par with the cattle they rear.  Sometimes cattle are treated better.  Ring the bell …. anyone?

Gentlemen

What bothered me is that patriarchy is so well entrenched in our psyche that even well meaning men like Rahul Bose spoke about teaching brothers to “give power” to their sisters.

Give Power?

No one gives power, you just have to grab it.  Wasn’t that patronizing and patriarchal?

No, I am not dissing him.  He means well.  It is just that the attitude is so deep rooted in society that men feel that power is theirs to appropriate and, if they feel benevolent enough, they can bestow it on their loving sisters.  He did redeem himself in my eyes by wanting to support, counsel and enlist men whose wives/sisters/mothers have been assaulted or molested by low lives.  Considering that every third woman has been in such a situation at some time and at some point in her life – we have a huge population to enlist.  What is more, these men would be sensitized to the issue and be supportive to the cause.

Mahabanoo Modi Kotwal’s reading shook me.  It brought a certain incident I was recently involved in – trying to help a minor victim of rape – back to my mind (if it will ever leave it).  The child is dead and yes, I was unsuccessful.

There were two grass root workers from rural India who were invited to stage by Indira Jaisingh.  These women spoke from the heart, bringing forth real problems they have to deal with, awful attitudes they battle every day of their lives.

Speaking about the patriarchal mindset we battle everyday – my thought is simple.  Sensitive men are not born, they are nurtured and brought up so.  Just treat the boys and girls at home as equals, make them both aware of the challenges the other sex faces.

Utopian thought?

Perhaps …

Then again, perhaps not.  My sons say they want independent women in their lives, girls who can walk free and do their own thing.  They want to live their own lives, not be fettered with the responsibility of chaperoning their women everywhere and protecting them 24/7

Yes, that is one call for emancipation …

I think I did well as a parent :  They do not attend any women’s meets with me.  Overtly they do not support such things : they think I am more than equal.  But to my mind they ring the bell.

She was all dressed up and in the mood to rock the audience – which she did!Anoushka Shankar performing

anushka-shanker

Eat your hearts out people, we saw her this close.  And she plays wonderfully.  It was magical.  Pic courtesy our very own IHM

Was great fun meeting old blogger friends and new.  Ruchira, Aabha, Tikuli, Akanksha, Priyanka and so many others.  Met Bhavna for the first time – shy and so well brought up.  My Ma would have told me to behave like you – you are such a pleasure!

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24 thoughts on “Ring the Bell

  1. I am glad the show went great. I had half a mind to sign up, mainly as an opportunity to meet you and other Blogger friends that I have got to know on Facebook.
    My only submission is that such events sound like preaching to the choir. I would be extremely distressed if I found even one male participant in attendance yesterday who doesn’t respect or believe in women’s equality already.
    Anyway, I guess a start needs to be made and the choir might be as good a place to do that.
    I think I am becoming too cynical at the way things are going all around us.

    • Cynicism is good, it keeps us grounded. Ground realities are appalling. Listening to the grass root activists from rural India was so shocking – a reality check. We urbans freak out and create a huge row – while these women – the real soldiers are fighting a war out there! The men who attended were the converted : educated, urban and sensitive. No surprises there. Yes a choir is a good place to start. More than the cause, I feel interacting with fellow bloggers is important. I started blogging to vent and I blog now, since I am proud to belong to this wonderfully articulate and vibrant community of people. I love meeting bloggers in real life

    • It is a good cause and very relevant. I am glad there is a movement and is gathering strength. Some day … some day … perhaps … I will not matter what sex you are born as, all that will matter is how far your talent and your capabilities take you

  2. Ritu as you said, one out of every three women have been molested at some time in their lives. My question is this: where did the molesters come from and whither did they go?

    What price women’s day? What about the wolves that lurk amidst us? They stand with us and shout for women’s right to be safe. And in the dark, their hands are groping silently.

    Dagny

    • We are the women of India – every day we are stripped with men’s eyes, our ears raped by sleazy comments and cat calls, every day someone brushes against us, without our permission. Our teachers, our drivers, our cousins, our uncles, sometimes, God help us – our fathers and brothers …. Womens Day – a laugh

      Even more laughable is that Mr. Rahul Bose who was there at the Womens Day and Bell Bajao campaign wants to reform the rapists. It sickens me

      • I think Mr Bose ought to have an iron rod shoved up his. Then we’ll talk all the reform he wants to.

  3. I loved the Monologues. The one titles ‘Baptized’ was very powerful. I had goosebumps. It was great to meet celebrities like you and IHM. 🙂

    • Amit thanks – but I am not a celebrity. I am just a story teller, a blogger and above all a woman, who has lived her life without a husband or any male protection. I just feel strongly about women’s issues because of my life

  4. After Rahol Bose’s statement, I feel he was there just to grab some free ki publicity and nothing more. Whatever he said about ‘giving power’ makes sense now, when I see him as the in-sensitive man who doesn’t care about women. As if power is a man’s birthright and they are doing a favor by ‘giving’ it to women too. Bullshit

    The rural women sure brought some ground realities to notice, which at-least I wasn’t really aware of. Like they said, I’ve never stood in a line to get LPG cylinder. The world is even more harsh for these ladies than for us urban women.

    Loved the monologues and music performances and as always, it was lovely meeting you and all the other blogger friends. Wish I got more time to interact with Bhavna though.

    • I have seen wars to collect water in small towns, its cheap and nasty!

      Yeah, pity we did not have much time to interact with Bhavna, though I was glad to meet her.

      Rahul Bose … I do not think he has any sort of stand or understanding of women issues.

      • I totally agree on that. I gave it a second thought and realized that if he would have said that the culprits should be hung, it would have not given him so much cyber space. Now, at least he is back in limelight for the comment he made, and doesn’t regret it.

  5. As much as I like what you wrote about the event what really strikes me, Ritu is what you said about women not needing to be ‘given’ our power and the choices your sons are making. I’m so blessed to have a husband who doesn’t think he needs to be protective of me – rather he pushes me when I act wimpy!

  6. It must have been a great show, by the sound of it. I would surely like to know more about monologues. Their mentions have stirred my curiosity.
    Yeah, we dont need power to be given to us. Agreed completely.
    Pics are lovely.

  7. Yayy to you Ritu for being the person/parent you are.. surely shows in your sons choices.
    And, you’re right.. when you say that we do not need to be given the power.

    Event sounds awesome. Nice pics!

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