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One Billion Rising Gurgaon: Burying Misogyny and celebrating equality

It’s not always necessary to be morose, upset and angry to make a point. And we most certainly were not! Far from it, we danced and sang, chanted and laughed as we walked down Gurgaon’s mall stretch as part of the One Billion Rising campaign for gender equality and recognition of women’s rights.

Gurgaon’s citizens groups have, over the last couple pf years, matured into a curious amalgamation of interest groups, those who work for a cause and RWAs, ably aided by Facebook. Last evening’s event was called by Let’s Walk Gurgaon and joined by other groups, notably Gurgaon Moms. Unlike OBR in New Delhi, we did not see huge crowds and college students were conspicuous by their absence. Yes, the innovative format of the protest made a mark for those who attended.

Fashioned somewhat like a Mardi Gras parade, we carried a coffin with the intent to bury Misogyny, all dressed up in a celebratory mood replete with bandwalas, slogan shouting, drums and all the rest of it. We walked from Sahara Mall to DT City Centre on MG Road, crossed over to MGF Metropolitan and walked back to Sahara Mall. At DT City Centre, some volunteers staged a street play and back at Sahara, others did a really fun flash mob thing. Then we proceeded to bury Misogygy and give birth to a world of equal rights and respect.

We had tagging along with us the police constables, men and women, who were assigned to be with us on duty. They hadn’t a clue why we were doing this! Many onlookers watched curiously and seemed to be having fun as well. Nupur and me kept wondering what was passing through their minds. We almost decided to do an impromptu survey, but stopped short!

What I really loved about the entire event is the way it gathered momentum as it was planned. People, both men and women, volunteered their time and creativity and worked together to make it happen. It takes a lot to move out of the comfort of your routine and be out there, doing things, saying things, starting a chain of change. And having fun while doing it! To sum up, the message of the street play underlined the need to start the change with ourselves. That’s a great thought to take forward as we continue to advocate for a real change in social attitudes towards gender. Join us, the more the merrier!

Here are some pics that capture the event, all photo credits to Swatantra Chhabra Kalra who is a friend and fellow blogger. She blogs at

For the videos of the event, please go to-

my body my rules

A variety of captions and many committed women…and men

Me! After I painted many cheeks and foreheads....what fun!

Me! After I painted many cheeks and foreheads….what fun!

All the 'bakwaas' misogynistic patriarchal to be buried in this coffin!

All the ‘bakwaas’ misogynistic patriarchal to be buried in this coffin!

The procession that walked down the MG Road stretch, being gawked at by many, with music and fanfare. Was too much fun!

The procession that walked down the MG Road stretch, being gawked at by many, with music and fanfare. Was too much fun!

I love this shot! Bandwala in the foreground looks so zapped. Similar expressions we saw on the faces of police staff, hard to understand?

I love this shot! Bandwala in the foreground is so pleased with himself! Hero!

Provocative posters galore!

Provocative posters galore!

misoginy maut

mahila hinsa

Street play outside DT City Centre

Street play outside DT City Centre

A still from the play that asked us to change ourselves and change the world!

A still from the play that asked us to change ourselves and change the world!

The flash mob that ensured the entire event ended on a fun, participatory note!

The flash mob that ensured the entire event ended on a fun, participatory note!

Do we need Valentine’s Day and all those other Days to remind us to be loving, affectionate, human? Feb 14, 2012

I have no opinion about Valentine’s Day and am terribly amused at the brouhaha around it every year. When we were young, at the age when romance was always in the air, V-Day was no big deal except for a few guy vaguely carrying some cards and flowers around for a special someone.

In SPA (alma mater, School of Planning and Architecture), we thought of V-Day as a distinctly DU (Delhi University) affair and therefore we looked down on it with disdain and sniggered at newspaper reports and stories that filtered through via siblings and friends who went to regular university. One year, I think it was 2nd year (when our batch saw the most number of romances), we went around college shouting out “Valentino Baba Ki Jai” in the manner of a crowd praising a Hindu God-man, with garlands etc. The slogan was doubly funny because one of our classmates was called Valentino (many of us would remember him as Valte).

Aside: Many decriers of Valentine’s Day claim it wasn’t about romantic love. Apparently, that’s not true. Originally a mere feast to early Christian martyrs, Valentine’s Day has been about romantic love since the 15th Century, traditionally celebrated by giving personalized, hand written poems and notes to your beloved. In recent times, these have been commercialized by the greeting card industry and then the Internet e-card and gift industry! I remember family members reading out Valentine notes to each other in Louisa May Alcott’s quaint book ‘The Little Women’ and that may have contributed to my personal notion of associating V-Day with familial and filial bonds and friendship in general!

In the years since, as the hype around this day has grown, Rahul and me have an unspoken understanding that we aren’t going to jostle with the young ones to catch a movie or candlelight dinner on V-Day. We celebrate it in our own low-key way, some years, when we happen to be in the same city and sometimes not at all. After all, any day is good for romance, isn’t it?

I, like many others, question this new trend of having designated days to celebrate everything—Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Daughter’s Day, Womens’ Day, days to step up the fight against specific diseases, Doctor’s Day, Teacher’s Day, Science Day, etc. The last two, commemorating S Radhakrishnan and CV Raman, I at least know the origins of; the rest, I haven’t a clue where they came from! Why do we need a day to remember to be nice to mom, buy a gift for dad, give an extra kiss to your daughter, make a card for your teacher, thank God for being healthy? Is it really a conspiracy started by the greeting card companies of the world to make a quick buck? Or is it a sign of deteriorating relationships in the modern world, where we really do need reminders to carry out ordinary gestures of kindness and love. That is a horrifying thought indeed!

Honestly, I don’t actually know anyone who keeps track of and does anything about any of these days (except V-Day perhaps, which now officially un-ignorable!). Only the media endlessly publishes articles reminding us about these occasions and even telling us what various celebs (usually persona non-grata for most of us) do for these occasions! And since I don’t believe a word of what the celebs say to the press (we don’t even know if they actually did say it!), I can safely assume that the media only prints this stuff to fill space, people don’t really need a Mother’s Day to love their mother, and all’s well with the world!

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