Saturday, January 03, 2015

On the auspicious occasion of birthday of Savitri Bai Phule

"One of the first-generation modern Indian feminists, and an important contributor to world feminism in general, as she was both addressing and challenging not simply the question of gender in isolation but also issues related to caste and casteist patriarchy
” Tiffany Wayne, a historian says about Savitri Bai Phule. [i]

Savitri worked as both an educational reformer and social reformer, especially for women. Savitri bai and her husband established a center for caring for pregnant rape victims and delivering their children. The care center was called "Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha." Savitri ran the home and considered all the children born in the home her own.

PVCHR, SWF along with its collaborating organizations Child Rights and You (CRY), Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, DIGNITY: Danish Institute Against Torture, Ms. Parul Sharma & 200 Swedish donors, Ms. Helma Ritscher, DIG and Inwent and all children of Bal Panchayat are paying homage to her through our work following her path.

PVCHR believes that violence from women “Womb to Tomb” from selective abortion, effects of battering during pregnancy or on birth outcomes, female infanticide, physical, sexual and psychological abuse, domestic violence, dowry deaths or harassment, mental and physical torture, trafficking, and humiliation, honour killings and forced suicide or homicide of widows. Most of these are for economic reasons as well as sexual, physical and psychological abuse.
According to the National Crime Bureau data Ninety-two women were raped on an average every day in India and the national capital with 1,636 cases recorded the highest number of such crimes among all cities last year.[ii]

Shama (name changed) ordeal began about six months ago when the three accused Babudan, Gabbu and Pappu started harassing her. The girl and her father approached senior police officials, but no action was taken. This emboldened the accused who on December 18 entered her house and tried to rape her while her family members were away. She put up a fight and screamed out loud. The boys then poured kerosene and burnt her. She died on 26th December, 2014.

In India, an ideal woman is supposed to be silent, that nourishes the system of patriarchy; men in the society take decisions and women silently follow them. Society asks its women to be silent and obedient, following all its norms and keeping up the same values as before.

Shama was the only girl in her family who was studying (Rajkiya Balika Inter College (Government Intermediate College) and had dreams of getting a job and supporting her poor family. When I go to school these three people (Babu, Pappu and Gappu) tease me and molest me and give threat. Every day I inform to my mother about the incidence. One day my mother took me to Sigra police station but our woe was not heard. We return backed and I was nervous.[iii]

We complaint to District Magistrate, Senior Superintendent of Police and S.P but did not received any action from the concerned authorities. So, I left my study and involved myself in learning stitching clothes. Here also I was followed by these people. They snatch my dupatta and I started to scream to save my dignity. They throw Gamcha (cotton clothes) and I fainted and fall in the ground. They torn my clothes. Anyhow I save my dignity and ran away to my house. I informed to my parents and they took me Sigra police station where I informed all woes. Instead of lodging FIR against the perpetrator the Sigra police station filed FIR against me, my parent (Mohd. Amin and Kuraisa).

The situation arises even more serious when patriarchal attitudes are reinforced by caste, communal and class inequalities or perpetrated by the state.

17 year old Suman (name changed) was raped by Anil Kumar Mishra from her own neighbouring village. Anil Kumar Mishra stalked Suman when she goes school for the study. She always received threat from him not to disclose the incidence to her parents. In March, 2010 when she was returning back from her house. In a way she was abducted at knife point and raped. The family was able to lodge FIR after three year long struggle i.e. on 28th January, 2014. 

Suman left study after receiving immense pressure from the perpetrator family and attitude of the society making responsible women or girl responsible for it.   

The Government of India amended law in context of request of Justice Verma Commission. 

Recognizing contribution of Savitri Bai Phule is a way to establishment of feminist movement in Indian context of mind of caste and masculinity.  PVCHR and SWF also salutes to Jyotirao Phule for his contribution as responsible men. 

A joint statement from 

Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR)

Savitri Bai Phule Women Forum (SWF)

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