Sounds of Freedom The Gender Equality Chapter, 31 August.
The compound of The India Habitat Centre buzzed with activity and roaring excitement as upcoming performers from various theatrics and music clubs across different Colleges and Universities gathered here on 31 August, 3 p.m. to be a part of the first event of this year’s season of “Sounds of Freedom” - a workshop with renowned Sarangi player Suhail Yusuf Khan and Chayan Adhikari from ‘Advaita Band’; Rahul Ram from Indian Ocean; Arvind Gaur, Director of Asmita Theatre Group; Dilip Shankar and Kristen Jain from The Society of Creative Expression. The event was organised by Teamwork in partnership with UN Women and The 2ndMenEngage Global Symposium 2014, the agenda being a holistic approach towards Gender Equality as a universal concern with respect to genders, sexuality, race, caste, class and region. The event began with a play by The Society of Creative Expression followed by a mesmerizing performance by Suhail and Chayan. The students were then addressed by Rahul Ram and Arvind Gaur on technicalities of composing songs, music and skits with a particular focus on how issues of public concern can be incorporated in art.
About 150 students participated in the workshop being divided into various musical and dramatic groups, each one being facilitated by one of the resource persons on board. They were given choices on thematic concerns related to gender issues such as “othering”, “sexual violence against men”, “gender as not only a women’s concern”, “alternative sexual identities and gender performativity”, “men as equally accountable for strive for gender justice”, “men not just as perpetrators of violence but also as supporters and pioneers of gender equality”, “youth’s accountability and responsibility over concerns of social change” etc. The highlight of the day long workshop was the message that came through skits and choirs that were developed at the end of it. The young student performers delved into their own experience, the world as seen by them and came up with performances that highlighted minor daily habits which are implicit to a culture of misogyny. They were compelled to reflect on those subtleties that seek to depict a sense of reversed gender role in order to facilitate men and boys to reflect on their actions and assumptions towards the other gender/genders from the other gender’s perspective, that which seek to bring out instances when a man is exploited or limited on the basis of the attributed gender and those which lend an alternative lens towards notions on gendered practices thereby engendering alternative sense of gender identities and performativities.
The workshop not only spoke of music and art but also provided food for thought on how these mediums can be used to highlight issues that need immediate attention!