In India, ‘One Billion Rising’ Resonates With Many

The protests in Delhi demanding justice after the Dec. 16 gang rape may have wound down, but many women here, including Reecha Upadhyay, a 34-year-old filmmaker, continue to feel a “deep sense of outrage.”

“We can’t be on the streets physically every day, but surely there’s something we can do,” Ms. Upadhyay said in an interview Wednesday. “I felt the need to continue the movement to demand safety for women.”

On Thursday, as India participates in One Billion Rising, a global campaign that uses dance to call for an end to violence against women, Delhi will have a full day of events, including a flash mob organized by a small group of young professionals including Ms. Upadhyay, at 5 p.m. on Parliament Street.

The international reaction to One Billion Rising, spearheaded by Eve Ensler, the author of “The Vagina Monologues,” has been strong: nearly 200 countries are expected to participate, and dance troupes are expected to pop up on street corners and at public squares around the world.

In India, the issue is particularly raw. The problem of violence against women has dominated public discussions and debate for nearly two months. The trial of the five men accused of the rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student is being watched closely, and legislative and judicial changes are afoot.

“This is a new struggle for freedom,” Kamla Bhasin, the South Asia coordinator for the campaign, said of One Billion Rising. “Freedom from patriarchal mindsets, patriarchal families and patriarchal religious traditions.”,

The campaign in India seeks to shift the focus from the lapses of the state to individuals who can drive change in their homes, communities and families. “Governments don’t rape; people do,” Ms. Bhasin said. “We should ask: What are we as a society doing to our girls and women?”

The One Billion movement urges people to “walk out, dance, rise up and demand an end to violence against women.”

 

Read the full article from The New York Times here.