Prita Jha and Usmanbhai spent International Women’s Day celebrating with women and their families in the village of Golana, Tarapur Taluka in Anand, organised by the Pochabhai Foundation. The festivities were attended by village children, ladies and men of all castes, enjoying this day together.
The Pochabhai Foundation is a local level organisation formed by like-minded individuals, professional and committed social workers. The organisation aims at working for fundamental rights of education, health, equality, freedom, employment and against exploitation with a view to creating a humble and peaceful society.
Prita addressed the women in the audience on the important lesson to be learned from the life of Dr. Ambedkar, who resigned from his position as a Law Minister over the lack of commitment of the Congress government in the passing of the Hindu Code Bill which addressed the inequality between the sexes. Prita emphasised that it was important for all in the Dalit community, not just the women to learn from this example of Dr. Ambedkar, who was willing, not just to fight for gender equality, but also willing to give up his power and position on this issue. She also talked about the importance of men practising gender equality in their private lives by taking domestic responsibilities and ensuring that their sisters, daughters, wives are able to pursue their education and aspirations in the public domain.
In Prita’s own words, “an important motto of the feminist movement has been that the ‘personal is political’ and therefore issues such as domestic violence within the four walls of the home have to be taken up by all social activists, not just women. Until 51% of the men do not bring about changes in their personal and professional lives by treating women equally, the dream of gender equality will remain a dream.”
“On another note, the performances were wonderful and it really touched me when I noticed, during a song being played about Mothers, that a member of the audience had helpless tears rolling down her cheeks. It seemed as though she was remembering and missing her Mother. I thought that women are working so hard with daily chores that they don’t have proper time to grieve for such huge losses.”
Usmanbhai says, “Peace and Equality Cell has already conducted an orientation session on ‘safe touch/unsafe touch’ for activists and volunteers of Pochabhai Foundation are supporting in a case of unconstitutional violence against a Dalit member of the community. There were also discussions about future collaboration on gender-based violence and child sexual abuse cases. We distributed our PEC information pamphlets on the POCSO Law and Criminal Amendment Act (Anti-Rape law) to help raise awareness amongst those gathered. We then all sat together and had lunch, which was very enjoyable!”
We believe that Women’s rights should be at the forefront every day, not just on International Women’s Day.