Home India News Bringing the Indian women’s movement to Kashmir

Bringing the Indian women’s movement to Kashmir

By Sarwar Kashani, IANS

Srinagar : Kashmiri women, whose voice has remained feeble, particularly in the wake of the 18-year-old insurgency in their state, will get to peek into the visual history of the women’s movement in India through a poster exhibition being launched here.

Titled “Poster Women”, the exhibition highlighting the Indian woman’s fight against a patriarchal society opened Thursday at Tagore Hall in the Jammu and Kashmir summer capital and will be on till Nov 15.

Organised by New Delhi-based feminist group Zubaan, it has put together a selection of posters created for various campaigns.

“This is a travelling exhibition, conceptualised with the vision of making the posters available to as many people as possible,” Manisha Sobhrajani of Zubaan told IANS.

“In Kashmir – or for that matter anywhere the exhibition travels – all we want is for people, men and women, to be aware of the different issues faced by women in general,” she said.

The plight of women in India is a sad reflection of its society and Jammu and Kashmir, which has over five million women as per the 2001 census, is no exception. The violent secessionist movement has only left them doubly scarred.

Caught between the guns of terrorists and troops, the Kashmiri woman has had no platform to emerge out of the four walls of the house and demand her political, economic and social rights.

The exhibition is aimed at inspiring them by introducing the history of the Indian women’s struggle for equal rights, family planning, reproductive rights, the banning of invasive contraceptives, access to health facilities, literacy, environment, political participation and also the tirade against domestic violence, communalism and marginalisation, according to Zubaan.

“Since the early 1970s, the period that gave rise to the contemporary women’s movement in India, the poster has played a crucial part in highlighting their issues,” Sobhrajani said.

Interestingly, the organisers have “consciously chosen to stay away from celebrities or politicians” for inaugurating the exhibition.

“Since this exhibition is about the women’s movement and women’s activism, Neeraja Mattoo and Parveena Ahangar are inaugurating it,” added Sobhrajani.

Mattoo, a former teacher, is a noted English scholar while Ahangar is a chairperson of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) of Kashmir.

“Both these women represent the varied facets of Kashmiri women. They both have chosen to go against acceptable societal norms and have shown immense courage, tolerance and will,” Sobhrajani said.