South Asia’s Dance and Poetry-Filled Revolution Gains Momentum

One Billion Rising global coordinator Kamla Bhasin sends this update on the Rise for Revolution campaign in South Asia, which just keeps gaining momentum.

OBR South Asia and Sangat were active supporters of MenEngage’s Global Symposium in mid- November. Over a thousand people from 95 countries participated. There were a large number of pre-symposium activities everywhere, especially in India that we were part of.

Jagori Himachal and Sangat organized a dance performance by Navtej Johar in Chandigarh on masculinity. This was greatly appreciated. Jagori Grameen organized a seminar in Simla on men and masculinities, the first of its kind.

I helped develop and produce the cultural events in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Global Symposium. Parvathy Baul and Shabnam Virmani sang Sufi/Baul songs and had an absolutely amazing conversation around the theme of masculinities. This session took the debates to another and much needed dimension and depth.

Navtej Johar choreographed a special dance with four singers and four dancers, all men, from Punjab. They challenged the mainstream notions of Punjabi masculinity.

I brought together four women singers to produce a new music CD for OBR 2015, the MenEngage Global Symposium and for the 30th Celebration of Jagori. This CD has 14 new songs, 13 of them written by me, with all of the songs in Hindi/Urdu.

I worked on the reproduction of an old book of children’s rhymes in English I had done about 30 years ago, soon after my children were born. UNICEF had then published this book. On the occasion of the Men Engage Symposium, we have brought out a new version from Jagori Delhi with the title ” Housework is Everyone’s Work: Rhymes for Just and Happy Families.”

The illustrations are amazing and the book is about non-stereotypical men, women, girls, boys. I feel our gender equality of work MUST start with children and our families!

Jagori Delhi also shared 5 postcards with my poems about men and boys working at home with Symposium organizers and participants.

Just one day before the Symposium, I was on Satyamev Jayate, in an episode on Men and Masculinites. This TV program is watched by millions. I answered viewers’ questions posed on Twitter, and the chat registered an amazing 28 million tweets. I am just amazed at the numbers.

As the media is really taking notice of our work, we are gearing up next month’s launch of OBR Bangladesh! On December 10, we have a big show with some universities, NGOs, a housewives association, schools.