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  • Interview with Madhu Bhushan (cont…

    THIS IS Part 2 of the two-part interview with Madhu Bhushan of Vimochana.

    UB: The feminist movement has always been very critical of militarism and war. Can u tell us more about your involvement with these issues?

    MB: While Vimochana’s specific concern was and is the socially sanctioned personal forms of violence perpetrated on women within the home and outside (dowry tortures, murders and other forms of marital violence, sexual harassment and rape of women, trafficking and commodification of women), our wider preoccupation has always been with the larger forms of violence in society. So our engagement is also with the more public and political forms of violence stemming from ideologies like that of communalism, fundamentalism, nationalism and militarisation which are leading to greater human insecurity, institutionalised intolerance and the increasing brutalisation of patriarchies both within the home and outside. Continue reading

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    Interview with Madhu Bhushan

    VIMOCHANA IS one of the oldest women’s rights organization in Bangalore. They have been part of the Indian women’s movement and have significantly contributed to the rights of women facing violence in Karnataka. They have a crisis intervention center for women facing violence called Angala and campaigns against dowry deaths, harassment and female infanticide. More on their website. I spoke to Madhu Bhushan, activist at Vimochana, about terrorism, fundamentalism and women’s rights in a two-part interview.  Continue reading

    The God of Male Things

    WESTERN FEMINIST movements in the early 1970s confronted an uncomfortable truth: the notion that God was male dominated every aspect of religion. As feminist philosopher Mary Daly summed up, “If God is male, then the male is God.” The question of gender, religion and faith has been a very contentious one. Feminists have looked into histories of ancient civilizations and various religious traditions to understand different notions of power, and they have despaired that religion and tradition are so entangled with patriarchy that they can never be a source of liberation. Continue reading

    Points of Intersection: Gender and Other Identities

    IT WAS DURING the anti-Mandal protests that many young, urban women from universities held up placards saying that an increase in reservation for the Dalit and OBC population would harm their chances of getting qualified men as husbands. During the riots in Mumbai after the Babri Masjid demolition and in the Gujarat pogrom, many Hindu women from right wing organisations actively aided the men in their attacks against Muslim women. Continue reading

    Of Need and Exploitation: Domestic Workers in Karnataka

    ‘I BEGAN WORKING when I was ten. I used to look after a child for which I was paid ten rupees a month. Today I am almost forty and I continue to work as a domestic maid. The difference is that my bones ache and I do not have the same energy. This is what happens to most of us who do domestic work. This job has no PF or ESI or anything like that. We work at others’ houses our entire lives and are left with nothing at the end,’ Maariyamma is angry but she continues to chop the double beans with great ease. Continue reading

    What Happened to All The Women?

    THERE IS A STORY about a Sufi saint who used to wander the city streets and people around him called him a madman. One day, he was wandering the streets near the palace on a donkey. He suddenly got off and walked up to a board in front of the palace. The board said: ‘This palace is built by the king’. The saint erased the word ‘king’ and replaced it with ‘donkeys’ so that it read ‘This palace was built by donkeys’. People were outraged and pounced on him but the saint was trying to make a simple point. The donkeys who had carried stones to build the palace had not been mentioned on the board. Continue reading

    Patriarchy’s Brutal Backlash: Acid Attacks

    KEROSENE, POISON and now, acid — the new weapon against women. Haseena, a 19-year-old girl from a middle class family was attacked with acid in 1999 by her boss because she turned down his marriage proposal and refused to continue working in his office. Two litres of pure sulphuric acid were poured on her. In 2000, Noorjahan, a mother of two children who ran a tea cart in front of a factory, was attacked by the factory owner’s son. In 2001, Dr Mahalakshmi, a doctor in Mysore, was attacked with acid by her landlord; later in the same year, Shanthi, a teacher in Mysore, was attacked by her husband. The list goes on. Continue reading