LIFESTYLE

This Powerful Instagram Series Celebrates Some Important Gender Equality Movements In India

Seeing like a feminist.

05/05/2017 1:41 PM IST | Updated 05/05/2017 2:08 PM IST
Kruttika Susarla

The history of women's movements in India still remains patchy and unfamiliar to most. A recent Instagram series by Delhi-based illustrator, graphic designer and comic book creator Kruttika Susarla traces ten important moments in the history of women and gender equality movements in India.

The project is a part of 36 days of type, an annual Instagram call for designers and artists to present their take on the alphabet and numbers. "For this year's edition, I wanted to work on a series that would contextualise the movement within the realities and experiences of Indian feminism because the issues surrounding women and minorities here are so complex -- it's mixed with religion, caste, sexuality and majority of public discourse is devoid of these intersectional realities," Susarla said.

02 - Pink Chaddi Campaign | In January 2009, a group of right-wing activists from Sri Ram Sena, attacked women and men in a pub in Mangalore. Pramod Muthalik, the founder of the group claimed that it was a violation of Indian culture and announced that they would forcibly marry off any unmarried couples seen in public on Valentine's day. This caused nation wide outrage that eventually led to the Pink Chaddi Campaign—a non-violent protest where a group of young women(who organised this through a Facebook group called 'Consortium of Pub-going, Loose, and Forward Women') sent pink briefs to Muthalik's office. The campaign was started by Nisha Susan who is a writer, journalist and one of the founders of The Ladies Finger(feminist online magazine). Muthalik received over 2000 'chaddis' from India and abroad—he and his supporters were held in preventive custody on Valentine's eve by the state government. 2 for 36 days of Feminist type(as a part of 10 women and gender equality movements in India, in no particular order) for this year's edition of @36daysoftype. Sources: 'Seeing like a feminist' (Nivedita Menon) Pink Chaddi campaign Wikipedia informationactivism.org #36daysoftype #36daysoftype04 #36days_2 . . . #illustration #illustree #picame #pirategraphic #graphicdesigncentral @thedesigntip #art #graphicart #designspiration #creativecloud #magicgallery #dailysketch #supplyanddesigny #theartshed #artsanity #artfido #illustrator #designsheriff #bodypositive #womensrights #feminism #valentinesday #nonviolence #panties #pink #demonstration #36daysoffeministtype

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In a series of 10 illustrations numbered 0-9, Susarla highlights the role of some significant organisations, individuals and movements who changed the terms of debate around gender equality in India in different ways. The series has been careful to focus on intersectionality, by including the stories that reveal how caste, class and religion affect women in India.

On the one hand, it celebrates Dalit educationists Savitribhai and Jyotirao Phule who set the first women's school in Pune, and played a pioneering role in encouraging the education of girls in the 19th century. On the other, it also looks at the Pink Chaddi campaign that was launched in 2009 in response to the attack on a group of women in a Mangalore pub and Sri Ram Sene leader Pramod Muthalik's threat of marrying off young couples found together on Valentine's Day.

Susarla says that she was careful to represent individuals with different skin colours, body shapes, face structures and features. "There is a an urgency to have this conversation, especially with violence against women and minorities increasing every day and through this project I found the channel," she said. In 2016, Susarla has also designed the interiors of an auto-rickshaw in Delhi to celebrate women leaders such as Irom Sharmila, Savitribai Phule and Soni Sori.

Susarla also focuses on organisations such as the Delhi-based feminist resource and learning centre Jagori and Zubaan's, India's first feminist publishing house set up by Urvashi Butalia and Ritu Menon. There are also interesting nuggets, like the fact that the first LGBT walk in India was organised by a group of 15 people in Kolkata in 1999.

You can follow the entire series on Instagram.

03 - Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Aandolan | BMMA is a secular, Muslim feminist voice that emerged in 2007. Zakia Soman (activist) founded the organisation to advocate for Muslim women's equality and rights. Their focus is specifically to make reforms in the Muslim Personal Law in ways that would not oppress women and save them from marginalisation. They seek to repel the practice of verbal Triple Talaq and polygamy + amend clauses in the Muslim personal law that not only leaves women at the mercy men in the family but also prevents them from inheriting any property. A draft for 'Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act' was released in June 2014. 3 for 36 days of Feminist type(as a part of 10 women and gender equality movements in India, in no particular order) for this year's edition of @36daysoftype. Sources: 'Seeing like a feminist' (Nivedita Menon) bmmaindia.com #36daysoftype #36daysoftype04 #36days_3 . . . #illustration #illustree #picame #pirategraphic #graphicdesigncentral @thedesigntip #art #graphicart #designspiration #creativecloud #magicgallery #dailysketch #supplyanddesigny #theartshed #artsanity #artfido #illustrator #designsheriff #bodypositive #womensrights #feminism #muslim #religion #intersectional #36daysoffeministtype

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05 - Anti-Dowry Movement | Delhi saw one of the first emergence of an anti-dowry movements in the country with the formation of 'Shakti Shalini' an NGO jointly set-up by Satyarani Chadha(feminist, artist and activist who is noted as the face of the anti-dowry movement in India) and Shahjehan Aapa(a middle-class working woman who would eventually become the face of the 1970s feminist movement in India). Satyarani's 20 year old daughter(who was 6 months pregnant) was burnt alive in her in-laws home following harassment for more dowry. Following this incident, she set on a 21 year fight against gender related harassment and violence and helped a lot of survivors empower themselves. In an interview with Paromita Vohra(for her documentary 'Unlimited Girls'), she talks about what kept her going for every single day of her two-decade fight(paraphrase): "Every time a girl in a village dies in a dowry related incident, I see my daughter". 5 for 36 days of Feminist type(as a part of 10 women and gender equality movements in India, in no particular order) for this year's edition of @36daysoftype. Sources: kafila.org Interview excerpt with Satayarani Chada from Paromita Vohra's film—'Unlimited Girls' (http://pad.ma/NA/player/00:31:15.668) feministindia.com civilserviceindia.com #36daysoftype #36daysoftype04 #36days_5 . . . #illustration #illustree #picame #pirategraphic #graphicdesigncentral @thedesigntip #art #graphicart #designspiration #creativecloud #magicgallery #dailysketch #supplyanddesigny #theartshed #artsanity #artfido #illustrator #designsheriff #bodypositive #womensrights #feminism #marriage #violence #antidowry #activist #dowry #36daysoffeministtype

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06 - LGBTQA movement in India | The first lgbt walk in India, is considered to be in 1999 by a small group of 15 people in Kolkata. Homosexuality was made illegeal in India under the British rule in 1861—until the Delhi high-court passed a law to de-criminalise homosexuality in 2009 (Naz Foundation vs. Delhi high-court) recognising Section 377 as a fundamental violation of dignity and privacy and basic human rights to life and liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution. This was later rebuked by the Supreme Court in December 2013 and Section 377 was re-instated and homosexuality was criminalised again. The Naz Foundation and many other groups filed review petitions post this judgement—but in vain. Shashi Tharoor, a member of the Indian National Congress Party introduced a bill in December 2015 to decriminalise homosexuality—which was rejected by a majority in the parliament. The Naz Foundation had stated that it would file a petition for review again against this decision. As of February 2016, the Supreme court has decided to review it's stance on Section 377. 6 for 36 days of Feminist type(as a part of 10 women and gender equality movements in India, in no particular order) for this year's edition of @36daysoftype. Sources: LGBT rights in India Wikipedia LGBT rights in Asia Wikipedia Naz Foundation vs. Delhi High Court Wikipedia LGBT history of India Wikipedia #36daysoftype #36daysoftype04 #36days_6 . . . #illustration #illustree #picame #pirategraphic #graphicdesigncentral @thedesigntip #art #graphicart #designspiration #creativecloud #magicgallery #dailysketch #supplyanddesigny #theartshed #womensrights #feminism #lgbtqa #gayrights #pride #lgbt #queer #queerrights #india #36daysoffeministtype

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08 - Savitribai Phule and her husband, Jyotirao Phule set up the first women's school in Bhide Wadi, Pune in 1848. She's considered one of India's first modern intersectional feminists and a lot of organisations focused on working for gender equality follow the footsteps of their work. Through their efforts, they fought to represent minorities, educate women and fight gender and caste based oppression. At a time when it was uncommon for girl children to go to school, she and her husband campaigned and convinced their community to encourage educating girls—they opened many schools for women and minorities and protested against ill-treatment of windows and rape victims. 8 for 36 days of Feminist type(as a part of 10 women and gender equality movements in India, in no particular order) for this year's edition of @36daysoftype. Sources: Savitribai Phule Wikipedia #36daysoftype #36daysoftype04 #36days_8 . . . #illustration #illustree #picame #pirategraphic #graphicdesigncentral @thedesigntip #art #graphicart #designspiration #creativecloud #magicgallery #dailysketch #supplyanddesigny #theartshed #artsanity #artfido #illustrator #designsheriff #bodypositive #womensrights #feminism #educate #training #intersectional #36daysoffeministtype

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