Sunday, 16 October 2011

Setting the stage for Samvad

Samvad, the first feminist organization of its kind on EFL-U campus founded by some of us students, witnessed its inaugurating day on 14th October 2011 which began with the hosting up of red banner in the quadrangle of the academic block and a showcase of exhibits and posters dedicated to Irom Sharmila, the iron lady of Manipur through medium of art and history, self portraits and popular culture. This gender forum began with commemorating a historical figure who continues to fight bravely against AFSPA and the state's intervention which has especially marred the lives of women in Manipur. The samvad group clad in red began the event with a talk by one of the Samvad members which dealt with the the idea of having a gender forum, dealing with biased administration policies, reestablishing gender cell on campus, issues regarding the women's hostel and the protests that the entire campus vouched for. It also made an attempt to dispel myths about feminism and equating a gender forum to a woman's organization. Following, the introduction to Samvad, our main guest for the event, Dr. K. Lalitha took us down the memory lane, back in the 70s and 80s and enthralled the audience by narrating experiences about radical feminist movements during those times. She also highlighted the importance of having a gender forum and sensitizing the campus about gender related issues. After a motivating talk about the strength of youth in political campaigns and struggle, Prof Madhumita Sinha, faculty from EFL-U narrated her experiences as a teacher in EFL and a student in former CIEFL. The event approached its ending with vote of thanks and a documentary screening - Tales from the Margins, a moving story set in the context of Irom Sharmila, Manipur and AFSPA. The event came to a successful closure with many participants delighted with the conception of a gender forum and also expressed interest in forthcoming activities of Samvad. However, there are many doubts regarding what falls under the paradigm of gender forum. Apart from sexual harassment cases, Samvad also seeks to critically examine and problematize the concept of gender and sexuality through the lens of caste, class and religion and also sensitize the campus to these issues. The forum has just begun with a small conversation but hopes to broaden its horizons by incorporating debates, discussions, events and issues of every nature affecting individuals on this campus.

1 comment:

  1. It was an amazing start. Kudos to all of you and all the best.