Each week they stand in silence in Bangalore to protest violence against women and other social ills. Similar silent protests take place all over the world.
Black we wear
Black speaks our anger
Silence is our language
Silence voices our anguish.
Women in Black
Women in Black
Every Thursday, every week, women in Bangalore have stood against wars and conflicts and the wars (violence in its different forms) against women.
Across the world, Women in Black is a courageous movement that has inspired women in different cities to stand, dressed in black, at street corners, in market places and public squares for an hour every week- quietly protesting the different forms of violence against women. “Black is the colour that we wear, Black, the colour that speaks our resistance. Silence is the language that we speak, Silence, a language that voices our anguish.”
In March 1993, inspired by the worldwide Women in Black movement, Vimochana initiated the first Women in Black action in Bangalore, India. Women in the city stood in silence protesting the razing of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya and the communal conflict that spread in India. Women stood protesting and remembering in silence the innocent victims, refusing to let the politics of hatred and intolerance destroy the humanity that binds and lives within all faiths. The Women in Black, India in a quiet, sustained way has sought to make public the many forms of ‘personal’ violence against women – wife battering, dowry deaths, female foeticide female circumcision, pornography, sexual assault, rape. Everywhere, women, are unmasking the many horrific faces of more public ‘legitimate’ violences – state repression, communalism, ethnic cleansing, nationalism, nuclearisation, wars... Violence in the name of development, in the name of reproductive technologies, genetic engineering, and the feminisation of poverty. The issues have been many. The forms in which protests have been expressed have also been varied. Silence, posters, placards, pamphlets and some times lighting lamps, have been an expression of this collective rebellion and resistance. While the above mentioned issues are some of the vigils that the WIB India have focused on, we have also stood in solidarity for peoples living in war and conflict zones – with people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine to mention a few.
It may be said that women’s participation in movements has been in four major forms:
- For social, economic and political rights of specific categories of people like tribals, peasants and industrial workers;
- For improvement in conditions of work and autonomy to women;
- For equal remuneration for work;
- In general social movements on issues affecting men and children like abortions, adoption of children, sexual exploitation, etc.
The important national organisations were:
Bharat Mahila Parishad 1904, Bharat Stri Mahamandal 1909, Women’s Indian Association 1917, National Council of Women in India 1925, All India Women’s Conference 1927 and Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust.
These organisations took up issues like women’s education, abolition of evil social customs like purdah and child marriage, equality of rights and opportunities and women’s suffrage.
Note by Mamta Aggarwal