Jurrat – 10 to 16 December 2013, Delhi

Majma and Swaang are organizing JURRAT – A week long campaign on violence against women, from Dec 10-16.

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About Jurrat

On 16th December 2013 one year would have passed since the shameful, horrific and brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old girl in Delhi. And yet this whole year, city after city and village after village has screamed ‘Rape’ ‘Gang Rape’ in the months after the much publicized and condemned Delhi-gang rape. Continue reading “Jurrat – 10 to 16 December 2013, Delhi”

In Delhi’s defence

Reuters photo
Reuters photo

By SHIVAM VIJ: The census counts ’urban agglomerations’, and the Census of India says that Mumbai is India’s largest urban agglomeration. This includes Mumbai’s suburbs. In counting Delhi, the suburbs are not added because They are separated by state boundaries. If you were to add suburbs of the ’National Capital Region’, Delhi’s population would be not 16 million but over 22 million, making it the world’s largest urban agglomeration after Tokyo. This bustling urban centre is made of its people. Today’s Delhi cannot be stereotyped as just the seat of power. There is more to Delhi than the endless roundabouts of Lutyens’ capital.

Delhi’s core – the Partition refugee Punjabi – is not xenophobic like the Marathi ’manoos’ of Mumbai. In fact Delhi today is what Bombay once was, India’s foremost cosmopolitan metropolis. It is the city of choice for people from across India to migrate to with dreams of riches.

A lot has been written about “the Delhi gang-rape”. 16 December 2012 started a conversation that doesn’t seem to end. This conversation has largely been about rape, not about Delhi.
Continue reading “In Delhi’s defence”

The media monster of the juvenile offender: Enakshi Ganguly and Anant Asthana

This is a guest post by ENAKSHI GANGULY and ANANT ASTHANA

July 17 was an important day. Supreme Court announced its judgment refusing to interfere with the Juvenile Justice Act. This was with respect to the eight petitions that were filed in the wake of the alleged involvement of a juvenile in the rape and murder of a 23 year young girl on December 16, 2012. The boy, who was found to be below 18 years, was described by the media as the most heinous of the rapists, a monster and a beast, and even the main accused—and this even before the police had filed the charge –sheets based on statements of the witnesses and evidence gathered. Should there be a fair judicial process that decides the case based on scrutiny of relevant facts or should we let media undertake a trial? Continue reading “The media monster of the juvenile offender: Enakshi Ganguly and Anant Asthana”

Why was Ram Singh killed in Tihar jail?

The chief accused in the Delhi gang rape “found dead” in his cell? Killed with his own shirt? Hanging from a grill, with his three cell mates sound asleep all the while? The moment I heard the news  on Monday, every conspiracy theory-oriented cell in my body did a quick cartwheel. Promptly I sent out a mail to the sisterhood on the Feminists India e-list:

I’m wondering whether there is something more than police negligence involved here. I have always felt that the role of the police on that night was more than simply their usual laparwahi – that bus may have been used often in the past for such activities, remember they didn’t follow up the complaint of the man who had been earlier that night robbed by the same guys? And how they located the bus from their hafta diaries? I’m wondering – and going to sound paranoid and like a loony conspiracy theorist – whether the key accused in court would have revealed more about police complicity in rapes and other activities on buses like Yadav’s than we imagine. Prisoners in jail often carry out attacks on other prisoners on the orders of the police themselves.

Yes, Indian prisons are violent and brutal, and the police callous and vicious. Yes, there should be an enquiry to assign responsibility. But I’m pretty certain I know who killed Ram Singh – some other prisoners. And I think that they did it on orders from the police. Continue reading “Why was Ram Singh killed in Tihar jail?”

Harvard to the rescue!

Some good news for embattled and weary Indian feminists. All those endless submissions to the Verma Committee prepared and submitted, all those critiques of the Ordinance written and disseminated, all those street protests, all those meetings with students and the public, all those delegations to government officials, ministers…not to mention decades of efforts to amend the rape laws.

It’s been a long hard haul, so it’s a great relief that the Harvard Law School has stepped in to take this burden off our shoulders. Continue reading “Harvard to the rescue!”

Why the Delhi rapists should not be hanged

The shameless and cynical Manmohan Singh government has found an easy way out to appear strong, deflect attention from its failures and save itself from the opposition’s questioning. Just hang a death row convict before every Parliament session! It is very likely that if the 16 December Delhi rape-and-murder accused are placed on death row by this time next year, the UPA government will hang them just in time for the 2014 general elections.

I am opposed to death penalty in principle, and there are good reasons why so many democracies have abolished death penalty. But even if you do not agree that death penalty should be abolished, please consider why it should not be applied to the five accused in this case.

About a month ago I visited the Ravi Das “camp”, a slum colony near RK Puram where four of the six accused lived. I met the mother of one of them. Champa Devi’s son Vinay Sharma was the first to plead guilty and say he should be hanged; his father agreed on television. Continue reading “Why the Delhi rapists should not be hanged”

The Languages of Sexual Violence: Anupama Mohan

Guest post by ANUPAMA MOHAN

I teach a big word in my critical theory classes: phallogocentrism. It is the idea that our societies are centred by the phallus and language (logos) and is a word that often scares, perplexes, and disturbs my students, but I unpack it using an example. In English, the word seminal, which means something important and path-breaking, derives from “semen” and in contrast, the word hysterical or hysteria, which is a word that has for long been associated with peculiarly female physical and mental disorders (and often used for recommending women’s confinement), derives from “hystera” or the womb. What does such loading of the language – what a 20th century Russian thinker, Mikhail Bakhtin, called the formation of the verbal ideological world  – in terms of the perspective, validation, and supremacizing of one gender over the other do to/in our varied lives? Think of the word vanilla that, at least since the 1970s, has meant the ordinary and bland: its etymology derives from the Latin word for vagina (vaina) or “little vagina” for the pods of the plant that reminded someone of women’s genitals. The word porcelain – a thin, fragile kind of clay – too comes from the word for “cowrie shell” whose Italian links to porcella or young sow (a female pig) for someone recalled the shape of a piglet’s orifice. One more: the word amazon which refers to a legendary race of female warriors and has come to mean a strong woman derives possibly from many sources: from the Classical Greek a-mazos or breastless to the Iranian *ama-janah or “virility-killing” – a meaning that interprets the idea of women’s strength as both a mutilation of her physical self and/or as a threat to men. Continue reading “The Languages of Sexual Violence: Anupama Mohan”