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  • An Open Letter to the State Government from the Women of Karnataka

    We fear for lives of women in this state… is the Government listening? Is there a Government in this State at all? Or is it only a political party whose highest priority is its own regressive right wing agenda, which violates the responsibility of governance?

    In one of its latest acts of bigotry and intolerance, members of the Sri Rama Sene and the Bajrang Dal barged into a lounge bar on Balmatta road in Mangalore and viciously attacked the girls who were present there. Their crime: Firstly they were indecently dressed and second, despite being Hindu, they were daring to socialise with Muslim boys. Prasad Attavar, State Deputy Convener of the Sri Ram Sene said that it was “a spontaneous reaction against women, who flouted traditional Indian norms of decency.”

    And what was the spontaneous response from the government to this absolutely uncultured act of violence against young girls in the name of culture? Not surprisingly a studied silence from the powers that be and total inaction and apathy from the subservient police force in South Canara. Continue reading

    The Shaming of Scarlett Keeling

    THAT VIOLENCE against women rarely grabs any attention except for in the presence of gruesomeness, sensationalism, drama and tragedy is already known. But more disturbing by far than the fact that the murder of a teenage tourist in Goa last month has been making headlines precisely due to its cocktail of all the above elements is the level of moral sanctimony that accompanies the media coverage, the ensuing debates, and even what are ostensibly the responses of those who knew Scarlett Keeling and her family. 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

    Taking Feminism Out of the Coffee Lounge

    FEMINISTS USUALLY get bad press. Who wants to listen to a bunch of whiny women who bitch and moan even when it’s not that time of the month? And those of us who do identify with the feminist cause find ourselves defending behaviors and battling misconceptions and stereotypes because we feel the need to make it clear that “it’s not what we’re about”.

    Then really, what are we about? Continue reading

    Women Everywhere

    IN CONVERSATION with friends, one often comes across differing views about the state (or status) of women in India vis-a-vis other countries. These range from the slightly disturbing optimism of “the west has won its battles” to the even more disturbing “why should we complain; we don’t have it as bad as some others”. This sort of comparison can be debilitating for the movement. The point is not whether or not some women have it worse than us and how. The point is that women everywhere face different sorts of siege, struggle, censure and confinement for no other reason than the fact that they are women. Continue reading

    Launching Ultra Violet

    IT’S A TIME of intense and rapid change in India. Women are stretching their wings, exploring new spaces and testing the boundaries of old ones. With more women working, traveling, living on their own or managing high-powered careers, new challenges have emerged. Some women are coping with increased independence or living alone. Others are trying to find new ways of balancing work and home or to negotiate parenting and child care.

    Then again, in some ways, the country has not changed enough. The sex ratio remains abysmal and female foeticide is routine despite the laws banning sex-selective abortion. Dowry deaths are common. Violent, heinous crimes against women abound. Women across class, region and religion become victims to domestic violence, acid attacks, sexual assault and rape.

    Despite the onset of MTV culture in some areas, sexual rights remains an area shrouded in mystery and suspicion. Many women still do not have knowledge or awareness about their own bodies. Sex education is denied in schools and girls grow up largely ignorant of both the pleasures and the perils of sex. Alternative sexuality is still largely unacceptable and lesbians face horrifying levels of social stigma and discrimination.

    Ultra Violet will give voice to what young Indian feminists feel about life in these times. It will be an interactive space for us to discuss feminism in the context of its relevance to our lives. It will be a place where we talk about the things that are important to us — both in our personal lives and in the larger world around us — and the ways in which we can react, respond, negotiate or protest.

    We hope to be informative, enlightening, provocative, inspiring, and (sometimes!) fun. Do drop in.

    More about us here.

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