As I run a campaign, The 50 Million Missing, to raise global awareness about India’s female gendercide, one of the things I find I need to do, is highlight that this gendercide is not limited to India. It is happening in Indian communities in the West too. In countries like the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Norway. See this article I wrote on Pickled Politics.
Recently, I interviewed Indo-Canadian, feminist artist Soraya Nulliah, for The 50 Million Missing’s blog, Gender Bytes. Soraya has been using her art to raise awareness about the hidden gendercide in Indo-Canadian communities and the violence it entails. In 2006 she held a solo exhibition titled ‘SHAKTI’ on this theme, at the Nina Haggerty Centre in Edmonton, Canada. As one review of her exhibition pointed out: “Under the rich textures and colour, there is a sad theme: the reality of violence against women…”
Below is my extremely inspiring interview with Soraya. All the paintings in the post are by Soraya Nulliah.
Rita: Your family is of Indian origin, but you grew up in South Africa and Canada and now live in the United States. So why did you choose the subject of violence against Indian women as the theme for your paintings and your exhibition? (more…)
Posted by Rita Banerji on July 21, 2012
For the last 10 years, I have been researching, writing and working through my online campaign, The 50 Million Missing, to raise awareness about India’s ongoing female genocide. More than 50 million women have been eliminated from India, subjected to every form of violence, at every stage of life. (See this video)
I realize that many people don’t know! That’s why we have this campaign. And when they find out many are very supportive.
But I find, the biggest resistance in the west are are women’s and human rights groups, people who have some awareness about what’s going on, and who turn and look away even when I provide them with the information.
And I’m writing this blog to tell you about one such incidence with a blog called “Women Under Siege” and to ask why this is so? (more…)
Posted by Rita Banerji on July 3, 2012
A feminist friend, who I told about the Afghan women’s Green Scarf movement, said, “I don’t support the veil!” And I suddenly realized that probably she’s not the only one with the wrong idea about what this is all about.
To support this movement all one needs to do is: 1) Put on a green scarf (Doesn’t matter whether you are a man or a woman, or how you want to wear it) 2) Take a picture of yourself wearing it 3) Upload it on this site to show your solidarity with the Afghan women.
And to clarify: it does not ask for people to wear a veil! It says ‘A scarf.’ It just needs to be green. And you can wear it however you want. My green scarf (in the picture to your left) is 6 yards long, (more…)
Posted by Rita Banerji on November 10, 2011
This picture was taken in May this year. That’s me in the center with some local guys on the streets of Calcutta.
There are 2 things I’d like to point out about this photo:
1) If you walk down any street in India, it is not at all uncommon to find men partly clad like this — as they work, or sleep or, urinate, or play cards or just sit at the local tea vendor’s chatting with friends.
2) You would never see a picture like this in the reverse — that is, a man sitting all clad in the center, with a bunch of semi- clad women prancing around him, on any street corner of India!
And when the Slutmarch came to India, the people who were organizing it were really not demanding the right for women to run around, tearing their clothes off. They were asking “Why is rape the fastest increasing crime in India even though women go around fully clad and men have the freedom to take their clothes off anytime and anywhere?” Do read this article “Slutwalk to Femicide” that I wrote for The WIP (The Women’s International Press) where I argue why the fundamental message of the Slutwalks was lost not only on India, but on the rest of the world, and why it is of significance not only to the issue of sexual violence against women, but also to the issue of India’s ongoing femicide. Click here for the article.
Posted by Rita Banerji on October 20, 2011
A friend once joked about how much easier it is for him to be gay in India than in some parts of the U.S. In India, it is not uncommon to see two men demonstrating their affections for each other openly in public. Holding hands, hugging, entwining fingers, engaging in kitten play or riding pillion on a motorcycle wedged together like bread and butter. Are all these men gay? Who knows? Yet the same is not permissible for heterosexual couples.
Last year, walking down Camac Street, in an upscale neighborhood of Calcutta, I witnessed a disturbing incident. A man and a woman, probably in their early twenties, were walking ahead of me, laughing and joking, when the woman playfully reached out and grabbed her friend’s hand. They walked along, still talking and swinging their locked hands in a carefree manner, when a group of men, vendors who run little snack stalls that line the pavements, came charging. The men stopped short a few paces of the couple, and began to shout at them. “Bitch!” “Whore!” And a string of such epithets. (more…)
Posted by Rita Banerji on September 25, 2010