यह बात लगभग दो हफ्ते पहले गाँव पठा, ललितपुर जिला, महरौनी ब्लॉक के सूचना केंद्र की है। निरंतर में काम कर रही नीलिमा वहाँ सहजनी शिक्षा केंद्र टीम के साथ असाक्षर और नव-साक्षर औरतों के साथ भाषा के बारे में सत्र कर रहीं थी।
Bringing out the voices and different facets of lives of young girls, the illustrated book ‘Beauty, Bebo and Friends Pick a Fight and Other Stories’ was launched last month in Delhi.
Dipta Bhog who is associated with Sadbhavana Trust and Disha Mullick who is associated with Khabar Lahariya, collated the data for the book which features three illustrated stories. These stories were based on the adventures of different girls across various villages in India. It portrays groups of women who support each other across generations.
Chedkhani, for me, was always a form of sexual harassment with terrible consequences on young women’s mobility where they might be forced to discontinue their education, be married off at an early age or face severe violence. But my idea of chedkhani got challenged during an interaction with the girls of our learning centre at Khanpur. While waiting at the centre for other girls to arrive, Roshni (name changed) came and said “Didi yesterday I was going to the park and at the entrance of the park a few boys were sitting. They asked for my name and address but I aggressively retorted and shooed them away”. Hearing this, other girls also jumped to share their experiences and joined the conversation. The most interesting part was that everyone had different ways of looking at such incidents. For some it is scary, but for some it is simultaneously a way of getting attention as is exemplified by Anjali (name changed), “when someone comments I start running hurriedly to avoid the boys but I also feel that I am looking good and at least somebody has noticed me”.
“The map was just an accessory. She knew exactly where she was.” ― Galt Niederhoffer
To step out of the house, travel to faraway places, explore the world or even loiter in the in the narrow alleys in one own city is a joy that women are most often kept away from. Famously, explorers in history and fables have always been and portrayed as male. It’s worth exploring why none of these words ever bring to mind the image of a woman who steps out of her house, to have a nice time, travels to different places alone, or just loiter around?
Travelling has its own zest which fills people with excitement, anticipation, and thrill. Women have time and again spoken about their passion for adventure and traveling, though only some have managed to see these dreams to fruition. Why? The control of underlying structures of patriarchy on women’s bodies and their sexuality have set rigid norms to limit mobility, decision making, and financial independence of women. Travel often involves transgressing several of these norms and facing social reproach in its wake.
“Even people who listen to you are a resource – only when people listen to you can you move from one place to another.” – Sankari[i]
The above quote was shared by a participant at the National Consultation on Sexuality Discourses in India, organized by Nirantar on 16, 17 June 2016 in Delhi. The consultation was a step forward from the sexuality mapping that we conducted in the year 2013-14. . Through the mapping exercise, Nirantar started to interrogate conversations around sexuality happening in different spaces. One of the primary points of discussions that emerged during the sessions was that of Identity Politics, “political arguments that focus upon the interest and perspectives of groups with which people identify”.[ii]