( Baten Aman Ki)
Weaving Lives Together
Annie Raja (NFIW), Marium Dhavle (AIDWA), Leena Dabiru (India Inclusive) and Shabnam Hashmi (India Inclusive) addressed a press conference today at IWPC and announced Baatein Aman Ki campaign.
Annie Raja said,’ In the last four years the position of women in India has been deteriorating at an alarming rate. This is chiefly due to politicizing religion, and bringing religion into politics – where the Hindu right wing organisations are playing a leading role, in deciding moral values and ascribing the role of women in society. They have invoked religion with the implicit and often explicit consent of the ruling BJP. ‘She further added,’ this govt has betrayed women in the name of various incentives. The time has come to make our voices louder. Through Baatein Aman ki we will stand against all those forces which are trying to break the country in the name of religious or nationalist sentiments.’
Marium Dhavle said, ‘ All the stereotypes in the name of tradition imposed on women over the centuries that we have fought against, to demand equal participation in public affairs and in public spaces, and establish ourselves in the context of an empowered democratic India is at stake. ‘She further added ‘needs of the people are not fulfilled. 7000 people dying daily of hunger in India mainly women and children. One third of hungry people of the world are in India. In Jharkhand, if a person has died due to hunger the govt will conduct post mortem to assess whether they have died of hunger or not. In the name of culture and tradition, women are pushed further. The concept of RSS that women should be at home is being propagated.’
Shabnam Hashmi said, ‘ Women are deeply concerned by the growing violence in the country and all major women groups and people’s movements are joining hands together to spread love and peace. It is for the first time perhaps since the freedom struggle that women are coming together not for talking about women rights only but about the country as a whole and all problems faced by different sections of the people including farmers, students, unorganized sector, professionals , women, adivasis, Dalits and minorities and safeguard the Indian constitution. She said fascist forces are taking over and this campaign will be taking the forces of hatred on the ground as well as fighting the atmosphere of fear.”
Leena Dabiru talked about the need for women to rise and fearlessly fight against the onslaught on the constitutional values. She told media that a large number national networks, individuals and local organisations are joining the campaign. Leena Dabiru further and described all the five routs of the Baatein Aman Ki campaign to the media.
We believe that it is a targeted attack on the Constitutional rights of women in India. Not only is there a direct attack on the independence of women but a constant effort to psychologically undermine women through systematic propaganda – irrational, unscientific and anti-democratic. With the growth of the overall violence in society there is a deep impact on the lives of women. The mob lynching by the cow vigilantes, honor killings etc have become a daily affair. Attacks on Muslims, Dalits and Christians are creating an atmosphere of fear and insecurity.
Inspired by the Hitlerian policy of the superiority of colour and race, and in the footsteps of, various outfits of RSS: Garbh Vigyan Sanskar (Uterus Science Culture), Arogya Bharati and Vidya Bharati have been conducting live trials in various parts of the country to produce ‘fair’ and ‘tall’ ‘customised’ children. Like their predecessors they see the role of women as submissive wives and mothers who produce babies of ‘good race’. There is a strong agreement among the conservative clergy of all religions and fascist forces on women’s role in society
During the Modi regime there has been a frontal attack on the Constitution, on freedom of expression, which impact all women. This includes our right to dress, speak, write, eat and choose, rights we had fought so hard for, and gained through sustained feminist struggles. In addition, the neo-liberal economic policies have not only adversely impacted Indian women in general, but those of us who are Dalits, Adivasis and people already marginalised in this country. Their fragile economic base has been devastated. Women who are from the minority communities – Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities, Dalits, those following a different ideological bent; and all dissenting voices are being attacked on a regular basis with the active support of the ruling party, the BJP. The violence and atrocities by the Indian State against Kashmir’s youth and women has exceeded all previous limits. Our women’s peace initiative believes that dignity and rights for the Kashmiri people and withdrawal of the military footprint from civilian areas in Kashmir are essential for peace in Kashmir.
As women and as citizens we have all been horrified at the state’s response to the Kathua and Unnao rapes. They have been targeted for political revenge and vendetta. But these are also crimes under the law, regardless of any affiliation. We are witnessing a steady deterioration in the rule of law, and the basic constitutional commitment to equality. The political and religious discourse being created around these rapes are equally unacceptable. Rape is used to polarize people on communal lines.
After a long struggle by the women’s movement, many Laws were passed like Minimum Wages Act, PWDVA, Dowry prohibition Act, PCPNDT Act, MGNREGA, NFSA, RTI, but these advances made by long women’s struggles are being back tracked.
This is the first time in the history of India that large sections of women were forced into humiliating situations within their own homes due to demonetization. Thousands of women lost their job and livelihood.
Women constitute 50 per cent of our population – a force to be reckoned with. There is a crucial need to bring women across the country together to prevent the erosion of, and build on the huge political gains that women’s movements have achieved over the last century. There is also a need to emphasize that any talk on growth will have to include the larger concerns of equality – political, democratic and socio-economic concerns of India. Cutting through obscurantism, we need to reestablish and bring back on course the developmental agenda of this country on the grounds of Constitutional guarantees.
Women groups from across India are coming together in organising बातें अमन की (Baatein Aman Ki) campaign. बातें अमन की ( Baatein Aman Ki) campaign is conceived to address much broader democratic challenges also which are facing the country. The बातें अमन की campaign is planned between September 22 and October 15, 2018. We hope to galvanize women and men across India to rise against the violence and chaos that has engulfed our nation. Five routes have been chalked out, various women groups and people’s networks in various cities, towns, villages en route will be invited to form local coordination committees and hosts the groups of women who will travel on different routes. Hosting will include coordinating with all peace loving citizens, organizing public meetings, making arrangements for food and stay.
Each travelling group will have 20-25 women from diverse backgrounds. In each state local women will join the group and travel within the state before the बातें अमन की campaign group moves to the next state.
The whole 20-25 day program will be funded by personal donations from ordinary people, peoples’ movements and women groups.
The route map and list of individual women and groups who have endorsed the बातें अमन की campaign are attached.