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Musical tribute for Delhi Braveheart

Delhi, Dec 17 : The final day of the Jurrat Campaign: Aazaad Chalo, Bebaak Chalo! marked one year to Jyoti Singh's (Nirbhaya) fight as they mapped the route Jyoti and her friend had taken exactly one year ago.


It started from Saket, outside the Select City Walk Mall and stopped at Munirka and Mahipalpur respectively.

At Saket, Swaang, the organizers of the weeklong campaign were joined in performance by prominent artists like Sona Mohapatra and Swanand Kirkire. About 200 people from all walks of life, including activists and students, mapped the route along with the Jurrat team carrying posters and banners in a spirit and show of solidarity.

The campaign concluded with a concert by these artists, which was inaugurated by Prof. Jayati Ghosh at the JNU Convention Centre Monday night. It also saw activists Vinay and Charul performing a powerful song on gender equality, which they created for the Beti Zindabad campaign of Action Aid.

The week-long campaign (Dec 10-16) was a tribute to Jyoti Singh's fight and a resolve to not let it fade into the oblivion of crime statistics. At the same time, it was an effort to remember the countless other women, who face violence on a daily basis - at home, at work and in public spaces.

More importantly, Jurrat: Aazaad Chalo, Bebaak Chalo was an effort to continue protest against the manifold forms of violence faced by women through their life.

It was a promise by "We the Citizens", unto ourselves and our world, that "We shall fight". It is a collective cry -"No more!" The campaign was in partnership with almost 15 voluntary organizations and performing groups.

During the week it went across spaces in Delhi, including urban communities, educational institutions and public spaces. It was supported by Oxfam India, the Beti Zindabad Campaign of Action Aid, and Amnesty International India.

Actress Swara Bhaskar, member of Swaang, said, "This has been a very overwhelming experience for all of us. We've tried to cover as many aspects of this gender violence and sexual crime debate and go beyond the language and class and area barrier and take our performances to those people who cannot come to auditoriums.

"We've gone into areas like Bhalaswa Resettlement Colony, Trilokpuri, Seemapuri, Madanpur Khaagar and Katwaria Sarai and the responses from these areas have been both interesting and encouraging. It was a Monday during working hours and yet so many turned up from various walks of life."

"However we are very disappointed that the permissions given for the mobile concert on a trailer on the route by Jyoti, were withdrawn at the last minute and we were unable to carry on with our proposed mobile concert. However, notwithstanding these restrictions, we did map the route. Jyoti's fight last year was an inspiration for us all and Jurrat was an effort to keep alive her spirit."

Supriya Chotani, founder member of Majma, said,"We saw this campaign as an effort to strengthen the ongoing discourse and protest on gender violence. By doing so, we hoped to make our small and humble contribution to the women's movement, which has a rich history in this country and given us countless freedoms and rights.

"But this struggle is long and we have just started. We have been so encouraged by the response of individuals and groups and shall continue our political intervention on these issues through cultural expressions."

Ravinder Randhawa, organizer and founder member of Swaang, said, "Jurrat is the initial phase of a campaign we hope will continue in the future, with the aim of spreading the message of breaking your silence and not tolerating various forms of sexual violence and violence against women. We have tried to spread the message in many ways, using street plays, concerts, performances, awareness campaigns in bastis and urban communities.

"The process has taken a lot of effort from the entire organizational team but the results have been very encouraging and rewarding. With regard to the need for such initiatives, I think it is self explanatory given the brutality of the gang rape last year and the continued violence suffered by women across the country."

Rabbi Shergill expressed, "Delhi is coming together to heal its wounds and to take stock as to how much safer have the women become here since that dark evening a year ago. I hope I can contribute."

Swanand Kirkire said, "The meaning of Jurrat is to 'dare' that's why I am here; we are daring to come out and tell people this is enough. Let's put an end to this. It's not easy, it's not simple; it has to start at some point, we are just an addition in this chain. That's what we're trying to do .The basic overall idea is to make people come out, to do the Jurrat, to stand against the world, the worst thing possible: 'rape'."

Sona Mohapatra said, "Performing for Jurrat on the 16th of December has surely been an important milestone in my journey as an artiste & musician. Music as a means of original expression & protest has played a huge role in shaping the events in modern history & I have been able to stand for my gender, stake claim for my rightful place in society & demand for an existence without fear via my songs on stage in the Jurrat concert.

"I believe that there is no greater joy & high than when you hear 1000s of voices join in to sing in a single voice & roar in a single voice & the historic JNU campus was the perfect location to close the mobile concert rally for Nirbhaya & for all the women who have to fight for their basic dignity & safety on a daily basis."

Majma is an emergent collective of diverse artists and activists committed to progressive arts and media.

Swaang is a Mumbai based theatre and protest music group/band whose members are actors (including Swara Bhaskar of Raanjhanaa fame), writers, music directors, musicians and producers all working in different capacities in the Bombay film industry, but whose hearts continue to pull towards progressive politics.

--IBNS (Posted on 17-12-2013)

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