Friday, 21 February 2014

Gender and the Hindu Right in India

A Public Meeting With Nishrin Jafri Hussain, Dr Angana P. Chatterji and Meena Kandasamy

Chaired by Kalpana Wilson

Monday 3rd March 2014
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE
Freedom Without Fear Platform in collaboration with the LSE Gender Institute and South Asia Solidarity Group are hosting a panel discussion on Gender and the Hindu Right in India. In the context of the forthcoming Indian elections in which the current Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi is the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Hindu right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, a panel of human rights campaigners and academics will discuss questions including: 

  • What are the implications of the rise of the Hindu Right for gendered violence in India - and what would a possible victory for Narendra Modi at a national level mean? 
  • What are the experiences of those seeking justice for the victims and survivors of organised violence against minority communities in Gujarat and Odisha? What has been the role of the state in the violence and its aftermath in each case? 
  • How does the Hindu right mobilise gendered discourses of religion and caste? 
  • How have practices of 'moral policing' and fabrications such as 'love jihad' impacted on gender relations, and how are they are being resisted? 
  • What is the relationship of the British and US governments, transnational corporations and diaspora communities with the Hindu right in India? 
Join us for this panel discussion and subsequent Q+A session with the following speakers:

Nishrin Jafri Hussain is a campaigner for justice for the victims and survivors of the horrific violence against minority communities which took place in Gujarat in 2002. Her father, Ahsan Jafri MP, was brutally murdered during the violence and her family continues to fight for Narendra Modi to be brought to justice.

Dr Angana P. Chatterji is a cultural anthropologist and human rights specialist. In 2005, she convened a people's tribunal in Odisha, calling attention to the impending violence against minorities and religionised oppression. In 2009, her collaborative work through a people's tribunal she co-convened in Jammu & Kashmir called attention to the issue of unknown graves and the need for accountability to families of the disappeared, and subsequently received corroboration from the State Human Rights Commission of Jammu & Kashmir. Her publications include: Violent Gods: Hindu Nationalism in India's Present; Narratives from Orissa (Three Essays Collective, 2009); a co-edited volume, Contesting Nation: Gendered Violence in South Asia; Notes on the Postcolonial Present (Zubaan, 2012); and the reports, BURIED EVIDENCE: Unknown, Unmarked, and Mass Graves in Kashmir (2009), Communalism in Orissa (2006), and Without Land or Livelihood (2004)

Meena Kandasamy is a writer, activist and political columnist. She has published two collections of poetry, Touch and Ms.Militancy. Her first novel, The Gypsy Goddess, revisits the 1968 Kilvenmani massacre where feudal landlords in Tanjore killed 44 Dalit peasants striking for higher wages. Her work is centered on caste annihilation, the Tamil national question and feminism in contemporary India.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Feminism then and now

Camille Kumar delivered this talk on 21st January 2013 at the LSE Gender Institute's event Feminism Then and Now.

I am an anti-violence practitioner and campaigner; I provided direct support for women experiencing violence for 10 years in various settings in Australia, Bangladesh and the UK, and have been active in the ending VAWG movement, amongst related campaigning with black feminists and other groups. I was invited today as a member of Freedom without Fear Platform. 

The FWFP formed to express and foster UK based solidarity with the anti-rape movements in India and globally and to give platform to BME women in the UK to lead discussions around VAWG issues; to make the connections between anti-VAWG struggles around the globe; to counter the imperialist racist discourse that UK mainstream media continuously bombard us with and; to highlight the cynical co-opting of VAWG issues by various groups in the UK who are seeking to further their own racist/ anti-immigration/ Islamaphobic agendas. Freedom Without Fear Platform seeks to practice and develop a feminism that is working on the principle that until all are free, none are free.  

Violence against women and girls was for me on a personal/political/ professional level the starting point for my journey with feminism so it is with this that I will start, and I would like to share a story. 

Eki  is a young woman I supported five years ago. Eki is a trafficking survivor and had insecure immigration status. Eki had multiple symptoms of ill health and was referred to us by the psychiatric nurse at a nearby walk in health centre. Eki moved into our refuge, and we worked together towards Eki’s needs and goals. Eki was registered with the local GP. Eki did not feel comfortable or safe to report to the authorities, due to experiences of state perpetrated abuse in her country of origin; her decision not to report was respected. Eki was referred to one of our partner legal firm advisers and received free legal advice to begin the process of regularising her immigration status. Eki was seen by one of our in house counsellors who was able to offer Eki a space she had not had before, to heal, to learn to trust again and to begin to rebuild her future. Eki accessed ESOL at the local college and pursued her ambition to become a nurse. When Eki’s immigration status was regularised, she was supported into social housing. Eki received legal aid to begin the process of bringing her two small children to the UK. Eki’s determination, resilience, and ambition, combined with specialist support she received enabled Eki to navigate this complex array of services to heal, recover and create a future for herself and her children. 

What would happen to Eki now?