Parcham wishes everyone an Inqualabi Women’s Day. Even as COVID has been a dampener on Women’s day celebrations, the need to celebrate and visibilise this day remains as important as ever.
Pandemic or not, fascist forces have been relentless in the assault on democracy and human rights. We’ve had a direct assault by the State on women’s right to choose a partner with the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, 2020. Vigilante groups have been harassing women, Dalit and Muslims. A dalit girl was brutally raped and killed in Hathras in Uttar Pradesh and journalists following the investigation jailed. Inspite the absence of opposition members, anti farmer, pro corporate farm bills were passed leading to massive protests across the country. As during the CAA protests, women not only participated in large numbers but also took centre stage in the movement. Another similarity was activists participating in the farmer’s agitation are being arrested and tortured, labeled Khalistanis similar to Muslims participating in the CAA protests being labeled terrorists and Pakistanis. The one respite COVID provided was halting the implementation of the CAA and NRC but it remains a temporary respite and cause of anxiety.
This edition of Urooj, reflects the multiplicity of issues that the country is grappling with. Even as newer issues such as ‘love jihad’, farm bills, the CAA require our attention, the everyday violence on women, the violence on account of identity needs to be visibilised and addressed. For this edition, we discussed all of these issues and Parcham’s recent study documenting experiences of Muslims at the workplace. Discussion on the study brought us to the Sachar Committee Report on Status of Muslims in the country which even Muslims seem to be unaware of.
For the Women’s Day edition, we wanted the youth to think through the commonalities of the struggles of Muslims and other identities. We discussed the parallels between the farmer’s agitation and the CAA and the need to extend solidarity with each other. When we discussed the UP ordinance, the issue of love jihad, we spoke of Sec 377 and of honor killings in the name of caste. We discussed not only the impact of communalism on Muslim women but also the fundamentalism within the community and the use of religion to oppress Muslim women.
We thank Javed Anand, Sujata Gothoskar, Chayanika Shah for engaging with the Urooj team and sharing their perspective and insights on the issues that have been written about. Our gratitude to Sitaram Shelar who has been a co facilitator of the Urooj process with us.
We thank CORO for Literacy for the Samata Fellowship which has made this endeavour possible.
Aap Sabhi ko Women’s Day ka Satrangi Salaam!