Live blog on ‘Bell Bajao’ #anganwadi event in Mangalore by Gururaj and Dhempe

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4.35 pm – Ms. Vani took the stage again for the final session and sought insights from the participants. A couple of them aired their opinions and said the event was a great learning experience. Before the session came to an end, there was a group song on Sthree Shakti with very good lyrics.

I would like to infer here that the day long event turned out to be a great forum to learn/share and know about the rights of Women. It  is high time for women tormentors to give due respect to women folk and also change their attitude towards women. I sincerely hope that the world will not be same when that thinking comes to all.

Bye for now.

Gururaj Kodambahalli

4.10 pm – Talk from Ms. Merlin, Legal professional and Director of Deeds NGO,  – She recollected the proceedings of the whole day and asked the crowd to make introspection on whether a woman is the biggest enemy of a woman. She pointed out some of the daily issues any house wife or a working woman face everyday, be it in office or at home. Merlin went on record saying that as Anganawadi workers, they have the right decision making and judgment skills to provide counseling to the needy women. She wondered whether there is any good step mother is there in this earth or not taking one of the skits into account and suggested to show woman as not the enemy of other woman. She also spoke about the three orders/injunctions  which prohibits husbands to physically abuse the wife, throwing her out of the house and selling the house without her consent.  Speaking about upbringing of the children, she recommended to all the women present in the event to make their daughters to raise their voice wherever they experience or see injustice and not be just mute witness or undergo harassment. It was an inspiring speech for all and the crowd acknowledged by joining their hands together.

3.55 pm – Play by Eight Circle -  The play starts with a school kid Chenni coming to home only to find her mother eloped with her paramour. Hearing this news, Jenny’s father also dies.  Chenni becomes an orphan all of a sudden. Her Uncle takes her home. Her Uncle’s wife and children does not like this but eventually allows her to stay but like a servant.  She is ill-treated to the core and made to eat left-overs. Her Uncle starts seeing her with an ulterior motive.  One day suddenly Uncle’s wife dies and this makes him more drawn towards Chenni. One day when nobody is in home, Chenni’s Uncle goes beyond the limit and takes undue advantage.  Uncle’s son, who was secretly loving Jenny comes to know of  her father’s and Chenini’s relationship becomes very desperate and starts ill-treating Chenni more and more.  One day Chenni’s Uncle decides to marry her and ties the nuptial knot forcibly which is witnessed by his son. He gets so dejected and becomes a drunkard. Jenny could not take this and tries to commit suicide only to be stopped by Uncle’s daughter at the right time. She then approaches Anganawadi Teachers/counselors to find a solution on this. They assure her and ask to bring Uncle, his son and Chenni to the Center.  They counsel all of them and make them strike the right chord.

3.45 pm – Dance by Ninth Circle – Scintillating dance performance by all of different age . The steps are uniform, the dress very striking and the song, very meaningful in the context of today’s event. It seems to me that all the events today are very meticulously planned and sends a strong message to the society about the Women Power.

3.30 pm -  Tulu Skit from Fourth Circle -  This depicts the struggles of a housewife, Savita who wanted to be self reliant but always ridiculed  by husband and mother in law.  She comes out of her husband’s house and start business on her own and prosper through her hard work. She also gives jobs and guides other ladies, destitute women towards self reliance. She propspers so much that she drives her own car, takes orders through her cell and becomes extremly busy and famous.   Seeking constant guidance from Break Through she zooms past everybody and becomes rich.

Seeing her richness, her husband and mother in law comes to her acting very good and showing that they are repenting. But Savita is aware of their greedy character and doubtful credentials, she refuse to live with them and sends them out of her house after a fitting reply.

3.20 pm – Now the new skit is more of social maladies like female infanticide, dowry, child marriage, prostitution, alcohol, AIDS.  The skit was done in a highly articulated  way and earned huge applause.

3.15pm – Wonderful ‘Yakshagana’ performance ends.  True to the Women Centric event today, the performance was more of a women oriented and as the organizers themselves said ‘This is an attempt to give more scope to Women and their thoughts and work.’

Credit should be given to the children who acted like thorough professionals.

1.50pm – ‘Yakshagana’ performance starts with an all-women cast (a first!) and not about mythology but about ‘domestic violence’ (another first!)

1.37 pm – Lunch Break which will be followed by an ‘Yakshagana’ performance.

1.20 pm – Now a play on ‘Spandana’ by the Anganawadi First Circle  – A typical day for an anganawadi worker who also has lot of family commitments.  She goes back to her house a bit late after a greuelling day of survey work and is questioned as though she had committed a crime and is beaten black and blue.

A girl who could not get a job despite her good qualifications is seen  walking on the road near a Bar. She encounters a lady whose background appears to be dubious.  She shows sympathy and brings the girl to the owner of the bar and restaurant and sells her without her knowledge. The Bar owner coerces her to do dance  and get involved in immoral trafficking.  The girl pleads with the owner to leave her but to no avail.

At the same time, a police official appears and inquires with the owner about the license and the girl in tatters.  After not getting any convincing reply from the owner,  she arrests him and advises the girl not to trust anybody blindly. The play ends on a happy note with the girl getting out of the bar and reunite with the parents.

12.45 pm – Ms. Shanta of ‘Vimochana’ addressed the crowd and emphasized the need of Anganawadi workers to work towards Domestic Violence. She recollected how ‘Vimochana’ was started. She also spoke in length about Female Infanticide happening all over India.  She called for the starting of ‘Mahila Nyaayalaya’ meaning ‘Female Court ” where all the cases dealing with women can be tried.  She also mentioned that as per the survey conducted on ‘Dowry Death Cases’, very few cases accounted for conviction and majority of the cases were derailed during the course.  Ms. Shanta dealt with the differences between ‘Varopachara’ and ‘Varadakshine’. She was very vocal on the derailment of dowry deaths that happens with the collusion of the authorities.

12.30 pm – Circle 7 will be presenting a skit ‘Varadakshine’ meaning ‘Dowry’

The skit is about how the parents of a girl married to a rich family gets into the whirlpool of debts. It also deals with 1961 Dowry act. The mother in law gives a time of one month to settle the dowry. Even after one month, when she does not receive the dowry as promised, the Mother in Law sends the daughter in law back to her house insulting her and abusing her physically. It ends on a happy note after counseling about the Dowry Act.

12.15 pm – Circle 3 presented a Tulu skit  ‘Kannirina Thelike’ meaning ‘Laughter in the midst of tears’

The play is about a blind girl who is tormented to no end by her step mother. The step mother’s son also ill treats the blind girl though the father tries to advise both of them not to trouble her.  To put an end to her sufferings, he plans to marry her but was not sure whether anybody accepts her. Fortunately, one guy with a good heart accepts the proposal because of the girl’s good character. The skit ends in a happy note.

11.55 am – Now the Circle 9  of Dakshina Kannada Anganawadi is performing  Tulu skit on the theme ‘Ponnu, Samsarada Kannu’ which effectively means ‘A Lady is the eye of a Family.’ The skit is based on a real life incident where the wife faced perinneal harassment from the husband who never respected his wife and belittles his own daughter when she happily shows her marks sheet.  He again admonishes his wife and leaves to drink alcohol. Once he is back, the wife chides him but he beats and kicks her and sends her out of home. She approaches the elders, teachers and counsellors and requests them to advise her husband suitably. They effectively counsels him and he repents a lot and becomes a changed man.

11.45 am – A video clip of Shobha Mugdal’s  ‘Man ki Manjire’ focusing on the women’s rights, their entry into new horizons, the dreams, the awakening , their belief in themselves.

Drawing parallels between Shamshad and another harrasment case, she called up on the crowd to take courage in every aspect and face the issues as it comes and have a never say die attitude.

11.30 am – Ms. Kanmani, working as Trainer in CART told a heart rending story of Shamshad who commited suicide on Dec 3, 2009 unable to bear the torture  is a victim of both extreme domestic violence along with police dereliction of duty.  In a video which was taken on her when she was alive, she(Shamshad)  narrated the trials and tribulations she underwent in the form of domestic violence. She told how her husband tried to burn her by pouring kerosene on her on more than one occasion.

Ms. Vani Periodi called upon the crowd to muster courage to fight against these evils and also find a solution rather than going for suicide.  She listed out a new charter in the form of the below bulleted points to enable such situations do not arise.

  • there should be a full time officer to look into these sensitive issues
  • Police, Advocates should be sensitized
  • A separate law should come into effect
  • Time should be the essence of this law and suitable action should be taken within a short time

Taking these issues into account, there will be a signature campaign to support the charter to enable it to expediate

Ms. Kanmani expressed thanks for the Break Through for their constant support .

11.25 am – Mr. Venugopal in his Vote of thanks expressed his heart felt thanks to  Ms. Shobha Rani, Ms. Neelam and all others who graced the occasion as Chief Guests.

11.15 am – Ms. Shobha Rani, in her presidential address recalled the efforts that were put in to hold the event. She felt sad for those who could not attend the event due to the transport strike. She spoke about the trainings that are available for the Anganawadi workers. She stressed on the awareness related to domestic violence, how to find a concrete solution for the various harrassment.  All the legal aid that needs to be given to the the women suffering all types of harrassment are being provided with the help of a advocate who will be present always for the needy. She cited a scenario where the husband is a high earner and  subjugate his wife for various types of insults and at the time of divorce or breakup, the husband will get the custody of the child though as per the law, the child should always stay with the mother.

11.10 am – Ms. Neelam, a legal luminary who was involved with the External Affairs Ministry is now addressing the crowd. She emphasized on the dimension of the domestic violence more from a violence on children perspective. She quoted a report on Child Abuse which stated  70% of children are abused, both physically and mentally which is  a startling find. Summing up, 2 out of 3 children are abused. She recollected her proud moment when her daughter did her PhD.  ‘Men will not stop the domestic violence until Women resists’ was her mantra. She congratulated all the people involved for working on the cause of domestic violence.

11.05 am – She further spoke about the domestic violence prevailing and sought a solution once for all on the burning issue. She also let the crowd know about the list of events that will happen throught the day culminating in a Yakshagana performance and thoughts from the people assembled.

Now the traditional lighting of the lamp is on with the revered guests lighting the lamp one by one with the background of some soothing music. The mood is ecstatic in the hall.

11.00am – The much awaited event organized by Break Through – Sashakta Hejje – Mahila Mela is now on at Mangalore’s Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

Braving the Bus strike which is the lifeline of DK, it is heartening to see Anganawadi workers assembled in large numbers.

The event started with a customary prayer and continued with the falicitating the Chief Guests assembled on the dias. The Chief guests have done commendable work in their fields and deserve all the praise.

Ms. Vani in her speech expressed speculation in the beginning about organizing the event. She related Anganawadi as the ‘Jeevanandi’ which can be called as Life Line when translated to English.

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