Transform men’s hearts and not their minds was the call given by Kamla Bhasin while releasing her CD titled – Hinsa Mitaaye, Pyaar Phailaay: Azaadi, Nyaay, Pyaar aur Sharif Mardangi Ke Geet
Delhi, 12 November, 2014: The CD has 14 songs of which 13 are penned by Bhasin. The songs celebrate gentle, nurturing men who go beyond the usual masculine stereotypes of mainly being the providers and bread-winners concerned only with money and properties.
“This CD is dedicated to all the men across the world who have chosen to embrace equality and justice and are part of the One Billion Rising Campaign and some have travelled with Jagori for the last 30 years” said Bhasin.
The songs – replete with quirky, humourous lyrics, have all been performed by feminist women like Runu Chakravarty, Manisha Chaudhry and Ranu Bhogal. “The decision to use feminist artistes was deliberate,” Bhasin added. Songs spoke of women’s preference for gentle and caring men through lyrics like, Miyan musclon, moochwaale, out of fashion ho gaye, isliye miyaji apne fully delicate hain. “The men we love don’t feel threatened by superior women. So a song goes, ‘MBA main ho gayee, par Sirji graduate hain’,” she added.
Simultaneously, activists from an umbrella group comprising Mittika, Sadak Chaap, Hamsa and Yuva Ekta Foundation broke the intellectual monotony of the symposium with theatre by staging forum plays that raised awareness on gender issues by involving the audience to participate in the action and become agents of change.
Kavita Mahato, 20, a student of BCA, and a theatre activist with Sadak Chaap for the past four years, “ I never realised that boys could be abused but through this campaign I realized that abuse is not something girls alone experience.” She went on to add that she became aware for the first time the pressure that is put on boys to act and dress like men and shared how she has a friend, who likes to wear ghungroos, but “his family does not like it and he is scolded for that.”
Kavita says one of her most memorable performances was in a temple in West Delhi’s Baljeet Nagar where 250 had gathered to watch their forum play. “The audience reacted with great resistance about gender role, but after seeing the play they changed their mind,” said Kavita.
Jaya Iyer, independent theatre artiste, who was also involved in creating and staging these performances said the idea was to make people think how not to be a bystander. “In one of the sections of the forum plays we show a scene representing a food stall at a bus stop where men are eating at night and a woman comes and wants to eat and the scene freezes – then we invite the audience to come and intervene, act and become an agent of change,” said Iyer.
“In a forum play we don’t give any solutions, we speak to the audience and leave it open ended,” added Iyer, who works on issues of women farmers, seeds, community conservation, issues of conflict and violence.
The plays are taken to various parts of Delhi where people in public spaces are included into the action. “We do these forum plays in 33 colonies as a part of our Delhi mobilization activity. We have partnered with 15 organizations. We are looking at gender, masculinities, and socialization and not being just a bystander,” said Durba Ghose of Mittika, a development resource organization.
Speaking about the effort made by Yuva Ekta Foundation to work with the young people of Delhi University, Puneeta Roy, Director, stated that “what really worked for us when we involved young people not just in acting but in fashioning the play and in using it to dialogue with the wider audience.”
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