Tag Archives: Pinjra Tod

Free Hadiya – An apeal to the Chief Justice of India from Pinjra Tod

Guest post by PINJRA TOD, a Delhi-based collective of students fighting to “Break the Cages” of women denied the rights of adult citizens by the restrictive and patriarchal rules of women’s hostels.

Your Lordship,

We write to you, to bring to your notice a recent judgement of the Kerala High Court which has annulled a consensual marriage of an adult Muslim woman. The judgement also makes many other remarks which can completely undermine any claim for equal citizenship for women and are violative of their fundamental and constitutional rights. Hadiya is a young woman, 24 years of age who has went on record to say that she willingly converted to Islam. Her parents have since approached the court twice asserting that she has converted to Islam under external force, demanding that she return to living with them. In their second petition to the Kerala High Court they also raised the allegation that she would be transported outside the country and demanded the court’s intervention.

During the proceedings of the second petition, Hadiya contracted a marriage with a Muslim man according to Islamic rites and rituals and stated her full consent in the marriage. The Kerala High Court has finally annulled the marriage and forced Hadiya into the custody of her father. She has not even been allowed a phone and has been denied any contact with the rest of the world beside her parents, in effect putting her under house arrest for no proven crime committed by her. Policemen guard her every day and just beyond stand RSS cadre further ensuring that their prize catch finds no exit from the situation.

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Bharat Mata and her unruly daughters

Bharat Mata’s daughter? But the Hindutvavadi motherland produces only sons – Hindu, savarna sons – to protect their mother’s ever fragile honour.

Let us begin these reflections with a moment from Nisha Pahuja’s disturbing film the World Before Her, which tracks two young women – Ruhi, a beauty pageant contestant and Prachi, a trainer with the Durga Vahini, women’s wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

While Ruhi and her fellow participants emerge as conventional and pallid, Prachi is fierce and questioning, independent minded. But towards the end of the film, you realize that for both women (and not for Ruhi alone), this period of training was only a small window that gave them a brief glimpse of broader horizons. It was only a brief moment of excitement and hope, and what seemed like freedom, before real life – the real lives of real women – closed in on them.

Throughout the film, Prachi has been telling the film-maker that she will never get married, she will live her life as a Hindutva activist. She emphatically rejects the ordinary life of a wife and mother. But towards the end, her father declares quite explicitly that this is out of the question. She can never be a full time activist. Of course she must get married. She has a womb, do men have wombs? Her responsibility then, is to bring up children. Initially in this sequence, Prachi argues against him vehemently, verges on the insolent, but gradually she falls silent. Her expression, still rebellious, but devastated, resigned, signals to us her recognition that the daughter of the Hindu nation is only in training to be a mother. That is the highest ambition she can have.

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Our “hormonal outbursts” will be your nightmare! Pinjra Tod

Statement and image by Pinjra Tod

On the eve of International Working Women’s Day, Maneka Gandhi has given a deeply patriarchal, casteist and classist statement to a media channel saying that hostel curfews are necessary as “laxman rekha” for controlling women’s “hormonal outbursts”, that the question of “women’s safety in colleges cannot be solved with just two Bihari guards with dandas”, that there should be separate days for men and women to go to the library at night.

Its clear to us that she has said this today in response to the fact that women students across the country from Benaras to Mumbai, Delhi to Patiala, Lucknow to Hyderabad, Chennai to Ludhiana, Roorkie to Cuttack have come out strongly to assert their presence in the university space and claim over public resources.

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A Pinjra Tod Winter Afternoon In Jamia Millia Islamia, November 17, 2016

Statement by Pinjra Tod on November 19, 2016

A fiery anonymous open letter by a women resident of Jamia Millia Islamia to the VC on the arbitrary cancellation of late nights in August last year, marks the inception of Pinjra Tod as a movement. It has been an incredible year of reaching out to each other, connecting, discussing and collectivising in Jamia. Overcoming our anxieties of a repressive state machinery intent on criminalising minority voices and institutions, conquering our fear of an administration that has repeatedly targeted students (especially women) for raising their voices, we came together in Jamia last Thursday (17th Nov), drawing confidence from our collective strength, to hold our first ‘public’ event: an exhibition celebrating the struggle of women for education, and a session of poetry, songs and sharing of experiences.

Women students reiterated that the UGC circular issued on 2nd May’16 is being shamelessly flouted by Jamia administration, as in all other Universities and colleges. There are no sexual harassment complaints committee (the program was conducted beneath a huge anti-ragging banner), libraries and other facilities on campus remain inaccessible to women students after 8 PM, random show-cause notices for ‘misconduct’ are a common practice, very little democratic space for women students to organise events/discussions/screenings within hostel spaces and continuous surveillance.

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Letter against Dismissal of Prof Sandeep Pandey

sandeeppandeyGuest Post : Letter from Ex-Students of Banaras Hindu University against the dismissal of Prof Sandeep Pandey from IIT-BHU for wider endorsement

To

Prof. Girish Chandra Tripathi

Vice Chancellor

Banaras Hindu University

Varanasi – 221005, U.P.

Dear Sir,

We, the ex-students of Banaras Hindu University, and other concerned citizens, are writing to you to express our deep worry about removal of visiting professor Sandeep Pandey allegedly for his “anti-national activities”. He had been teaching a few branches of chemical engineering and a development studies course at the Indian Institute of Technology-BHU for two-and-a half years. Prof. Pandey is also a renowned social activist and a Magsaysay award winner. Continue reading Letter against Dismissal of Prof Sandeep Pandey