Chandigarh girls seem to have risen up to exercise their right to equality and freedom as they raised their voice in the global campaign for women safety - One Billion Rising - organised in the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10 on Thursday.
The event was a part of the campaign ‘One Billion Rising’ initiated by playright and activist Eve Ensler, known for her play The Vagina Monologues whose organisation V-day celebrated its 15th anniversary. Numerous events were held all over the world in almost 205 countries including Australia, Sudan, Indonesia, Phillipines, Bangladesh and in various cities of India, as part of this movement to encourage one billion harassed and exploited women to stop suffering in silence and to strike, rise and dance. The campaign, started almost an year ago, is inspired by the UN statement that one out of three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime, which is already one billion plus.
An NGO called ‘Humanity: Sharing Smiles’ organised an interaction programme in the city, wherein the guest speakers SSP Naunihal Singh, former editor of Dainik Tribune, Radhe Shyam Sharma and actor Savita Bhatti interacted with audience that largely consisted of girls.
Starting with rendition of saraswati vandana by students of Institute for the Blind, Sector 26, it was followed by the recitation of Eve Insler’s famous poem ‘Rising’. SSP Naunihal Singh who was the guest speaker expressed hope that crime against women can be curtailed easily in Chandigarh with the co-operation of the girls. He called upon women to use the most effective tool they have at hand - the cell phone to report any such case. He added that Chandigarh had received 315 confirmed complaints and around 110 sexual harassment cases were registered since October, 2012 while not a single such case was reported till September, 2012. Though Panchkula and Mohali were still slow in reporting such cases.
Savita Bhatti said that violence cannot be merely restricted to physical terms, it’s also about prejudice and stereotype. Taking cognisance of the occasion, she added that idea of love has been commercialised, with cinema selling the idea of romance. She added that unlike the popular dialogue, cinema is not entirely about entertainment.
Radhe Shyam Sharma who was also present on the occasion quoted Bertrand Russel and said that freedom is a relative term and the girls need to take precautions in terms of their safety.