Mapping Jaipur and its reluctance to sexual health

Hidden Pockets Collective visited Jaipur as part of our mapping studies and went in looking for government hospitals in Jaipur. A lovely city  which is full of colourful people, we were really looking forward to this study. We visited Prayas, an excellent NGO working on the issue of Public Health and Medicines in Rajasthan and decided to seek their assistance before we started our mapping. This time, we wanted to cover different forms of public health facilities and understand how were people using facilities at different parts of the city.

Every time we ask someone for government hospital, people tend to tell us the name of biggest government hospital in their cities. It was the same case in Jaipur, as asked people around and did some search on internet we ended up looking at SMS Hospital and Medical College in Jaipur. It was conveniently located right in the middle of the city. It was crowded. We entered from Gate number 3 and went looking for sexual and reproductive services in the government , we were guided towards the Dhanvanthri department, Parivar at first floor in Room number 17.  It was right next to free medicine counter.

Then we headed towards a district hospital :Rukmani Devi Beni Prasad Jaipuria Hospital, located in Milap Nagar. We had heard that it had a One Stop Crisis Centre – Aparajita for rape survivors. It was a clean hospital which had a very good ambience for people. It was not at all crowded like SMS hospital and seemed like a good alternative for Sexual and Reproductive Health services. The images on the wall was a refreshing change from the normally sad looking walls of a hospital.

Post this, we headed towards Zenana Hospital, a hospital that was specifically for women and children. It was located right opposite to the Chandpole metro station. It was easy to locate though really crowded. Even though we were able to find services listed on various boards, we just could not find the rooms. We asked people around, even used the fancy not-so working info- booths, we just could not find the rooms for adolescent friendly health clinics, and other services.

We were really surprised by the number of posters for wifi in the different government hospitals. It seemed interesting that government was heavily promoting the usage of internet and technology in its various forms in the hospitals. Sadly none of them were in functional phase. 

Our last visit to Sanganer, which was bit far away from the city. We went there looking for a Community Health Centre, Sanganer.  A CHC is secondary level of health care and provide specialist care to patients referred from Primary Health Centres. A CHC is a 30-bed hospital providing specialist care in obstetrics and gynaecology according to the Indian Public Health Standards prescribed by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in 2012. So we decided to find this CHC. It was a bit far and we realised nobody really understands the term CHC, but if we referred it as “Sarkari hospital”, we were able to evoke response.

We didn’t see any crowd there as well and we were surprised to see a clean gynaecologist room and a room for counselling for Adolescent Friendly Health Clinic. We also encountered a poster that read in Hindi “Surakshit Garbhapath” which meant Safe Abortion. We were so happy to see a poster providing such positive message in the middle of a small town in Jaipur.

We were really happy with the services available in the Community Health Centre and returned back to our bus ride to Jaipur. On our way back, we wondered about the reason for people to head to big referral hospitals in cities, wasting time and their resources when they have good services in their towns.

We do understand there is a lear gap between implementation of these policies, and also lack of interest on the sides of service providers in assisting people in these smaller health centres, but if we could de-congest the big hospitals and still make this a good opportunity for the service providers. It would provide a great deal of relief for the patients of the related area. Until then, these were some of the hospitals that we visited in Jaipur and generally had a good experience.

Aparajita – Center for Rape Survivors – Jaipur

One stop crisis management centre for woman – Jaipur

For people who have no clue about the One Stop crisis Centres, let me first explain what it is. One Stop crisis Centres were introduced to simplify matters for female victims and survivors of violence, where a number of institutions would be brought under one roof so that the victims and survivors wouldn’t have to run between institutions for redressal. The aim was to bring together the police, medical professionals and psychological counsellors under the same roof and attempting to make the victim’s relationship with these processes less complicated.
Hidden Pockets went to Jaipur and decided to visit Aparajita. Aparajita is India’s first One Stop Crisis Centre. It is in Jaipur and is completely operational. This centre is opened in Jaipuria Hospital (Rukmani Devi Beni Parsad Jaipuria Hospital ), JLN Marg, Milap Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302018. It is very easy to locate the hospital. One can use public transportation to reach the hospital.

The building Aparajita is located just next to the main gate. As one enters the main gate one can see the centre on the left. It was inaugurated in 2013 with an objective of addressing the problems of women facing atrocities. This segment is kept separated from the main hospital. One can see a huge board with Aparajita written on it.


Facilities:

When we visited Aparajita, we met one of the lady constable and a counsellor. The counsellor showed us around. We saw the entire building. It has a provision for medical help, legal help, counsellors and also police assistance. The counsellor told us that this centre is open for 24 hours and the staff works in shifts. They work from 8 am to 2 pm in one shift then from 2 pm to 8 am in the second shift. The staff told us that it is the responsibility of the centre to refer the person if required, If the person is badly wounded to a hospital which would help the person. From police department, they have 2 sub inspectors and 2 constables who are 24 hours active at the department. If needed the doctors from Jaipuria hospital also help them. They have around 4 counsellors who are also available 24 hours. They also have paralegal volunteers. In last 3 years, Aparajita has provided relief to more than 2000 women. The staff is really helpful and has a positive attitude. This makes the surrounding at Aparajita very positive.
Readers, if required kindly approach this place. This is for all of us. If we meet somebody who is in need of help, kindly keep Aparajita, Jaipur in mind.
Following is the Helpline:
Phone Number: 0141-2553763/2553764
Email: aparajitaweraj@gmail.com

Kindly spread the information around. These centres are establish in helping rape survivors and victims feel a bit more comfortable while dealing with the trauma and it is for the public. Let us try utilizing it and make sure no one goes through the torture.

#pleasurepockets walk in Jaipur

When you are a stranger in a new city, the best way to get a feel of your new neighborhood and to map out interests close to you, is by foot. This essentially means long walks through a maze of streets, buildings, bazaars and the works.

Many cities in India have a reputation for being ‘unsafe’ post sundown. Walks and vigils have been conducted across the globe by professionals, student bodies and others alike who, like us, believe that the streets (no matter what time of the day) must not be feared in any respect. These streets were made with a sole intention of public use in mind and if that purpose expires with the setting of the sun, it is lost and the forces in play that perpetuate the visage of it being unsafe automatically get the upper hand. This is what we aim to stop. Reclaiming the streets is more than just speaking out for our rights to use them at any given time, it is also about us debunking the myths that surround certain spaces. This is a problem that affects both women and men.

Hidden Pockets is back to its walking spree and this time we are busy reclaiming the streets of Jaipur. Join us as we walk the streets of Jaipur and enjoy these streets 😉

 

 

Jaipur Literature Festival: Journey of the last 10 Years

“Let us tenderly and kindly cherish therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.”

  • – John Adams

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How does one describe the experience that is the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF)? How does one reduce to paper, the sights, thoughts, music, food, art, creativity and positivity that burst from every part of the festival? One can only do so by borrowing the words of the 2nd President of the United States of America, which capture the essence of the JLF. During the festival introduction, Sanjoy Roy, the co-Director of JLF, elaborated this idea that festival had morphed over time, into a knowledge sharing event as well as a place where free speech was valued, encouraged and protected. NamitaGokhale and William Dalrymple, the co-Directors added the element of diversity of thought, expression and language, as themes represented through the JLF.With impeccable organisation, the courteous and friendly volunteers run the show with efficiency and minimum fuss. Queues for registration, book signings, and entry into events were regulated well. These minute details, merely enhance the experience one has at the JLF. The JLF is not merely a place where authors come to promote their books, with book stores strategically placed for easy purchases of those books. That is one aspect of the JLF. However, as a reader or as a writer, there was something at the JLF for both.

People normally attend as ardent booklovers, or fans of certain authors who are appearing at the JLF and leave with renewed passion. Some, however glean a different perspective; that of what it means to be a writer. As a booklover, the JLF is the way for us to look under the hood or behind the curtains, to understand how the magic is created. For people who enjoy writing (with or without publishing ambitions), the JLF presents a treasure trove of insight and experience of minds more systematic and confident where conveying thoughts is concerned. The renowned playwright, David Hare, remarked very aptly at the JLF this year, “Writing is a real skill”. It truly is. To have good grasp of situations, and describe them with appropriate choice of words, strung together in sentences that jolt the minds of readers, truly requires skill. It requires not only the command of a language, but also introspection, thinking and the discipline to reduce the words and ideas that float around in one’s head, to paper. Be it factual writing or storytelling, writing is a skill that only some truly possess.

One aspect of the JLF that is little discussed, is the way the relationship between the art form, the artist and the audience is brought out. It is not often thought of this way, but art is an interaction where the artist and the audience converse with art as the medium. Every author who spoke at the JLF brought out this relationship in their own ways. Each art form has rules and each artist makes, breaks, bends and moulds these rules to evoke feelings from their audience. Where literature is concerned, writers with their boundless imaginations, create and destroy worlds and push the boundaries of the readers’ comprehensions. Literary works make people think and feel. They are living creatures that connect minds. This idea of a collective conscience and connection through literature is a beautiful one, that emerged repeatedly at the JLF. It is as Anne Waldman remarkedin her address at the 2017 JLF; in a time where the world is polarised, art has a way of bringing people together by helping understand one another.Dr.AlkaPande in her address at the discussion on Indian Aesthetics, explaining that one aspect of aesthetics is sensuality, brought out the place of the “third gender”, in the Kama Sutra, The inclusivity of the JLF is unmistakeable, where speakers agree, argue, dissent and discuss a variety of issues.

 

 

With chai, available in abundance, and the beautiful weather, the 2017 JLF did what it set out to do ten years ago: provoke thoughts, create joy, spread knowledge and bring people from all walks of life together. There were school students from all over India, who had come to attend and broaden their minds. The JLF works with schools through a variety of ways to increase knowledge and awareness in schools across Rajasthan and other parts of India. The registration for the JLF was kept free with the idea that everyone should have a chance at engaging with other minds, to open their eyes to new thoughts and ideas. With sprawling stalls for food, clothes, bags, pretty diaries and jewellery, the JLF was a festival in the truest sense, as it celebrated life and all that is beautiful and positive about it. The festival popped colour, life, creativity and joy. It is a must attend event, simply because the experience rejuvenates one’s soul, by elevating their thinking, and a strong infuse of positivity.

About the author:

Shambhavi Ravishankar is a human rights lawyer and an ardent lover of writing and reading, who believes in the pen being mightier than the sword!

Images credit: Shambhavi Ravishankar

When the present met the past in thought.

The Team Hidden-Pockets during our visit to Jaipur trotted our way to the Amer Fort which once housed the royals of Rajasthan. It made us ponder how these historical places are now a tourist attraction, a public place.

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A place which was once inaccessible, with definitive instruction regarding access to space even though they coexisted in the same palatial complex. The class and the access to space were directly linked i.e. the closer one reaches the labyrinth the upper the class.

We were amazed to see the huge courtyards, the topography and the architecture. The view from the Diwan-i-am was mesmerising. While I (the photographer) tried to archive every nook and cranny of the mammoth structure in my camera what interested me more were the latticed screens and the coexistence of the past and the present. These jharokhas although are not specific to Amer Fort, they were predominant in most historical palaces and olden day architecture.

The jharokhas or the latticed screens..
The jharokhas or the latticed screens..

The tourists were diverse and so were their activities, some were busy enjoying the cool breeze, some were seen contemplating, most were seen clicking pictures and taking selfies. The olden day checkpoints were now inhabited by the present day Police force guarding the UNESCO World Heritage sight.
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In this photo-essay I have tried to look through these jharokas and contrast it with the non-jharoka or the non-constricted view.
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All bright and clear..
All bright and clear..
View from the latticed screen..
View from the latticed screen..

The attempt is to show the limited or the restricted view which these jharokhas allowed to the women who were otherwise restricted to the zenana. While in case of men it is only the space which decides the class, in case of the women the view too gets restricted.

 

 

DSC_0254Thinking of the present when I have access to the space in its entirety, it made me ponder as to how the notion of safety has trickled down to us, not in such a physical form as the jharokha or the zenana but conceptually in the form of safety and surveillance through gadgets like CC TV cameras which are the modern day incarnation of these very structures.

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Article and Image Courtesy: Pallavi