• Reclaiming Their Privileges

    Ritam Talukdar

    December 4, 2019

    On January 21, 2017, India experienced its first ever #IWillGoOut national movement. Women across 30 states and towns of India — including Bangalore, Kolkata, Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Jalpur, Bhopal, Udaipur, Kochi — marched demanding right to fair and equitable access to public spaces. The march was organised by some individuals and organisations. In Kolkata, the gathering of women was organised by Maitree — a social women network to reclaim public spaces and to make them safe through public gatherings. It was held in Allen Park near Park Street. The women in the evening gathered in large numbers, consisting of students, performance artists, musicians, activists, singers and many more from their distinct fields of expertise. It felt as if they owned the evening, as they sang, danced, recited poems and reclaimed their rights, going against the patriarchal mindset that dates back to a thousand years. Members of LGBT, Queer, Asexual and Intersex community also participated in the said march. All we could hear was “Freedom, Freedom, Freedom!” and see banners saying, “The way I dress is not a YES.”

    On 18 April, 2018, Maitree organised a protest against the increasing number of violence against women and children in different parts of the country. The walk was conducted in five parts in Kolkata simultaneously, which was followed by a candlelight march.

    On 4 April, 2019, women, transgender, transsexuals, working class, dalit, muslim and differently abled women took out a “March For Change” from Ramlila Maidan, Entally to Shyam Bazar by foot, raising slogans that demandingequal recognition. The rallying crowd also rejected the environment of hate and violence prevailing in the country and demanded to claim their constitutional rights as citizens of a democratic republic. Women March for Change was aimed at uniting voices of dissent against the targeted attacks on the constitutional rights of women in India. Women captured the streets through  performances, slogans, music, and distributing pamphlets to the crowd that had gathered around. The Kolkata March for Change was part of a nationwide protest that took place in 15 States and 146 Cities of India. 



    Ritam Talukdar is a Kolkata-based freelance Photographer and a digital artist.

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