Envisaging strong and single: affirmative solidarity and creative media for women in metropolitan India

Kaur, Raminder (2015) Envisaging strong and single: affirmative solidarity and creative media for women in metropolitan India. HERA.

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December 2012 proved to be a watershed for gender politics in contemporary India.[1] On the sixteenth of that month, a young woman was out with her male friend to watch the film, The Life of Pi, in a south Delhi mall. After being refused a rickshaw ride, they caught a private bus on their return home. What was to follow has severely etched itself on many minds. On the bus, the woman was brutally assaulted, gang raped, eviscerated and thrown out on the side of the road naked along with her companion. After making a failed attempt to drive over them, the assailants careered off in the bus. The incident sent shock tremors up and down the country if not wider, as thousands took to the street in protest against this incident of gender violence specifically, as well as a violent and masculinist culture more generally. This charged sphere of public energy manifest itself through street protests and legislative and structural changes.[2] Such was the public grief and outrage over the woman’s death, that she was later honoured as a brave woman, transformed into almost a national martyr, and popularly named Nirbhaya (The Fearless) to initially protect her identity. While debate on gender-based violence and social justice has been prolific in the journalistic and academic literature, here I concentrate on how the events were mediated in creative outlets. The series of events around Nirbhaya led to an energised and contested field that defies resolution in the immediate term, even though it led to a slow but certain shift in future conditions of possibility in terms of envisaging strong women who are boldly able to navigate public as well as private spaces without assuming that the two are distinctive spheres. I turn to these creative ventures, outlining some of the key features as part of a reinvigorated aesthetics of anguish, protest, solidarity and provocations that both encompass and go beyond feminist conventions. In this short article, I focus only on those artworks that imagined and enabled safe spaces for women in public areas in the vein of affirmative solidarity.

Item Type: Other
Additional Information: The article focuses on visual and audio creations that imagined and articulated safe spaces for women in public areas after the brutal assault in Delhi in 2012 on the woman who came to be known as Nirbhaya (Fearless).
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Depositing User: Jayne Paulin
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2016 15:10
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2016 15:10
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/59008
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