Why every Indian man should watch (Stree) movie?

 

It is a rarity that we have feminist and sexist jokes in the same movie and everybody in the hall is laughing at it, with the same intensity. Stree is a movie made on a village that can be anywhere in india, using the language which is very familiar and colloquial to the big part of the country, and is trying to be feminist without using a single jargon of it. and that is what makes this movie such a winner. 

a) O Stree kal Aana

A beautiful writing on every wall written with red colour. 

This seems like a perfect joke in a country where women fear to walk in the streets. But this movie is about to turn this joke and make the other half, the men; fear for their lives for the next 2 hours.

A movie which talks about fears of men and yet slightly and very innocently talks about all the atrocities done on women in the name of righteousness. It is not just men who fear her, but even women of the village who fear that she will pick their men. 

A very simple plot; where every year, for 4 days a ghost comes to the village and takes away the men of the village. And men are willing to wear sarees and bangles just to ensure that the ghost does not pick them. The gender roles are happily reversed just to protect themselves.

 

b) O Stree aana. 

Even though the hero keeps thinking he is meant for higher calling, he is aware of the fact that he is an excellent tailor and is really good at making women’s clothes. His work becomes even though important when they realises his work is equated to art in the secret to destroying the ghost. 

The men are not so masculine, they are kind and willing to be part of women’s lives as long as they are happy. 

There are instances in the movie, where the male protagonists themselves justify the act of the ghost and feel that the village needs to pay for their sins. As a prostitute the ghost had made everyone happy and when she decided to stay with her lover, they killed them. How unfair? and men in the movie feel for the prostate/ghost.

And this point is repeated throughout the movie, that people of the village are the ones to be blamed for their attitude towards women.

c) O stree who can read and is intelligent.

There is a strong emphasis on strong women, even though most of these women were either dead or were ghost. 

As they say the ghost ( who is the ghost of a prostitute who used  to live in the village) is somebody who is well read cos she can read the writing on the wall, very patient as she patiently comes back the next day.

The only person who could save the village had to be a son of a tawaif ( courtesan) ( or tawaif zada). and this scene is dealt so gracefully. Even though the hero breaks down on realising his mother was a courtesan, he comes to term the next day and goes back and defends his mother and her profession. 

There are two things that the ghost needs, love and respect. Something that the hero realises and utters in the end of the movie, to convince his friends that they need to better prepared to face her and indeed have to give her what she rightly deserves. 

Even when the dance number happens, there are body guards who ensure that she is treated well, and she finishes on time. When the call girl comes to entertain one of the guys, nobody misbehaves with her. 

d) Yes Means Yes

A beautiful point justified and reiterated through the movie, by the act of a ghost. How does a man resist the stree? Simple. Just don’t look back. She will come and try to lure you and all you have to do is to resist her. She will ask you consensually to join her. 

Her kidnapping style is odd and simple, as rightly pointed, she asks consent first, calls you three times and only when the man turns around, she attacks them. 

How very different from the style of men, who generally just kidnap the women and there is never consent or for that matter any requesting. 

She could not kill the hero as he had love in is eyes but somehow the other men did not have that, and she easily dragged them with her. 

All the ghost sought was for some love and respect. 

 

E) Stree is a satire on what Indian women feel on a daily basis and how could men actually make this situation a bit better. 

The only fact that I could laugh throughout the movie was that this only happens in movies. I knew no where people to be precise men were scared of being kidnapped or taken away, this is indeed cinema, but for women in my country ( India) this was a reality. and even though it was sheer for 2 hours, I was glad the other sex or the second sex ( men) would be forced to live it through a cinema. 

In the end the hero urges not to kill the ghost as he claims that he is different and he does not want to be like of the rest of the tribe who unjustly punished a women. He calls on a higher duty where he seeks his friends and village to be more courteous towards a woman who indeed took care of her. 

Images : from the internet.

 

 

 

#OpenPockets : Conversations with young people on sexual well being

In 2018 , Hidden Pockets is conducting events in Bangalore with service providers with an aim to bring an audience of young people to the service providers and have open conversations around issue of health and young people. We call it the #OpenPockets.

A place where we come and talk about our sexual well-being and at the same time get a chance to talk about some of the myths and fears we have around sexual health.

a purse with things spilling over.

It is a great chance to meet counsellors and doctor and have some conversations with them to demystify some of the doubts we have around sexual well-being.

Coffee with Kamala Das: Right to pleasure for Indian women?

Soulful conversation 

One of my friend recommended me to be a part of a discussion which was about the exploring of sexuality, by reading of Kamala Das’s poem ‘An introduction’. She told me that it was to be held in Atta Gallata, Koramangala. I really didn’t know if I should go or not. I mean I was too confused but later on I made up my mind to go and be part of the discussion.

In case you are wondering, why did I go there or what made me go there . To be honest I didn’t go there because I am a feminist. I went there for poetry. I mean poetry is said to be something that moves our souls beyond this world and helps us to connect overselves with the cosmos. I am a huge fan of poetry. I love reading and writing poetry. I often sit in my balcony, sipping coffee and I write or rather I should say I spill  the ink. Poetry, for me its magic. It’s a living, breathing presence in my life. People often tell me that I write well. To be precise I write a lot of Urdu poetry. It carries huge amount of value . It’s deep, sheer and perfect. And rightly so.   But I panic a lot . I have social an anxiety so I don’t have the nerves to face the stage or be a part of any discussion.

 

When I came to know about the fact that Hidden pockets is organising a program about poetry, and its about Kamala Das. I was really happy to hear about it  but as soon as I came to know that it is not just a session but a discussion and each one of us have to speak and talk, I was really anxious. I mean I wanted to go but then the fear of facing the audience made me worried. 

Somehow I made my mind and went there. To be frank enough to say, I was little shivering as I sat under the spotlight. I didn’t know what to do though I was familiar with the poem ‘An introduction’. I mean it’s one of my favourite poems. After a while people came and one by one all the empty chairs were filled. People who were unknown to me, totally strangers. I became nervous, yet again. I told the organizers beforehand that ‘i am going to talk less ‘ and they were approachable enough . 

 

Kamala Das : An Introduction 

“Then … I wore a shirt and my
Brother’s trousers, cut my hair short and ignored
My womanliness. Dress in sarees, be girl
Be wife, they said. Be embroiderer, be cook,
Be a quarreller with servants. Fit in. Oh,
Belong, cried the categorizers. Don’t sit..”

 

So here it started. We all introduced ourselves. Some of them sang, which was an ice breaker for the discussion. Everyone had that broad smile on their faces. And once we started of with the poem, I was the one who started to put give opinions and  interpretation on the opening stanza or lines. I was actually moved by the lines she has mentioned in her poem. It’s so good. Shamelessly she is talking about sexuality and things which are a taboo in our society. My opinion was that why not? Why not to be fearless enough to love someone we want to. Why not to have sex or feel the pleasure even before marriage. Why not to wear crop tops and walk in the deserted or even the crowded streets. Why?

  One by one everyone read the different stanzas of the same poem. Many different interpretations came, there was no right and wrong. Everyone was putting their words and pouring out their thoughts without any fear. 

I was surprised, not only I was speaking but I was fully indulged in the discussion. I mean i spoke a lot. Gradually my fear became my strength. I no longer was a weak or other sex but felt equal to other gender too or maybe same gender but with lot of energy and enthusiasm. I  was full of zest and full of energy too The session turned out to be a “Soulful Conversation” for me.

Kamala Das and her poetry was a living breathing presence for me at that time . We all spoke about exposing our sexualities, we discussed orgasm, what is it to be a woman and what not. It was so great to be part of such discussion. I don’t think I have ever had such good time with people whom I don’t even know. And I’m glad that they didn’t judge me were listening to what I was saying . I feel that talking about anything or everything in front of unknown crowd or strangers is better. I mean I don’t know about others much, but I  comfortable enough to open up before strangers other than the people I know.

Some people who were familiar with Malayalam language, read out the original text by Kamala Das. As the discussion ended. We all just like a new family, spoke to each other. One on one . Shook hands, laughed, smiled. To keep up with the funky trend we also took a selfie. 

I’m sure I ain’t going to forget this discussion ever in my life. I am looking forward for such discussions more and more . 

Hidden pockets gave me a gift ‘ To Face My Fear’ and I will always cherish this gift ! Thanks Jasmine, Aisha, Sekulu and Aren.

-Nashafa Firdous Mir : I am a very moody and choosy kind of person. I am a weirdo and hardly I am comfortable enough to indulge into a discussion but this discussion was so good that I didn’t even feel uncomfortable for once.

 

Photo and video courtesy : Kiran Sopanam and Shikhil.

Sexuality Education Workshop in Kannada – Mysore

Our day began as early as 5:30 am on a Sunday when Charu picked us- Jasmine, Kiran and Aruna up. Jasmine had earlier insisted that we bring Kiran along since the presence of a man changes the way young boys listen and respond to a session, especially facilitated by women. I have learnt this to be true myself.

We landed up in Mysore where Chaitra and Mangala guided us into the community where Buguri is situated. The amount of space there for children amazed an urban space person like me which allowed me to look more into how spaces and behaviours, especially of children are so intertwined. Buguri Mysore is a tiny space and decorated very beautifully with art works made by the children. The atmosphere felt extremely warm and inviting.

There were about 15 children in the age group of 9-16 years and their curious younger siblings peeping from the window, who were ready for the workshop to begin. They were clearly prepared earlier for the session, seeming very eager and some, having skipped their breakfast. The 4 of us had squeezed ourselves between the children along with Chaitra and Mangala. Jasmine had already begun asking their names and it amazed me how in 10 minutes she had managed to remember most of them! She was also asking them who their favourite actor and actress were, later corrected by the children to ‘heroin’. At this point is when I realised that the session had already begun. Seemingly effortless and quietly warming up the children. The idea seemed to get the children to speak. The following questions were about make-up, what makes an actor ‘average’, beauty parlours, bullying and love. The role of gender and the opinions of the boys and girls were addressed subtly and with very minimal judgement. Jasmine was also careful not to ‘correct’ what politically may seem as ‘wrong’ answers.
The girls seemed to share very similar ideologies on these topics bordering feminism. Their responses and standpoints being very mature for their age. While the boys, had very mixed responses from- girls as bullies cannot be given a second chance, boys can be; boys should say no to dowry; boys don’t wear make-up because they aren’t girls. And interestingly, there were moments of exchange between the boys who answered differently trying to get one to see the other’s point of view. And this happened very conversationally.

Audio Podcasts as a tool

 

These discussions were combined with the playing of 2 podcasts made by Hidden Pockets followed by a discussion of the same. One podcast was on bullying in a school discussed between two friends that was later escalated to the faculty who handled it in the school assembly without outing the bully. The discussion followed with the children stating how important it is to address an issue in a more general sense in a school space rather than picking out the child at fault resulting in their embarrassment.

The second podcast was on growing up through an introduction to menstruation explained by a mother to her daughter with the growth of a tree as a metaphor. It also addressed changes in the body of teenagers and reassuring that changes are normal. The children reacted by discussing how some of them and their older siblings now have pimples.

This on one hand, with the verbally strong, there were some children who were very shy. Jasmine opened out to them an option of writing down their thoughts and queries without a need to mention their names. This was more than welcome in the group.

This time they took to write also meant that some would sneak out for a quick snack!
Soon after, Chaitra began to read the questions and I was wondering what this session had spiraled out into. The answers would definitely mean another session! The children were eager to know more on a range of subjects- child marriage, menstruation, friendships and medical help. Jasmine patiently responded to them all also keeping in mind to be sensitive while addressing the group as some content may not be suitable for the 9-10 year olds in the group, to be spoken explicitly.

We ended the workshop very warmly with Chaitra and Mangala handing us crepe paper flowers made by the children with their name tags on. As like one child said “Preeti manassinda barbeku” (“Love should come from the heart”), we left with hungry tummies and love in our hearts.

About Buguri:
Buguri (‘Spinning top’ in Kannada) is a community library for the children of the waste collectors currently in 4 locations in Karnataka- Banashankari and Hebbal in Bangalore, Mysore and Tumkur. Buguri is a Hasiru Dala (‘Green Force’ in Kannada) initiative, an organisation based out of Bangalore that works for the welfare of the informal waste collectors in Karnataka.
Buguri runs with a primary aim to work with the children in the age group of 6 to 16 years, in the waster collector’s community through books. The idea was to introduce a no-fee and a fun library space as a means to open them up to the magic of books and explore the empowerment it gives to young and fresh minds.

 

Author : Aruna

Image Courtesy : Kiran Sopanam.

Can a minor girl get an abortion in India?

Things that minors should keep in mind : 

A minor girl is someone who is below the age of 18 years old.

Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act 1971, a minor girl needs written permission from her guardian to get an abortion

The MTP Act defines guardian as a person “having the care” of the minor person. Thus an adult, someone over 18 years of age who accompanies a minor girl to a clinic would be De facto guardian and could consent to an abortion on the girl’s behalf.

Things that providers should keep in mind: 

If the girl’s age and/or marital status are uncertain, the providers can proceed with the termination of pregnancy in line with the provisions of the MTP Act after maintaining complete and detailed records of the case.

It is advised to report the pregnancy as per the legal requirement under  Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012 and allow the authorities to decide what actions to take.

 

Pleasure Pockets around Agara Lake of Bangalore

As part of 2018 Women’s Day special, we at Hidden Pockets Collective, decided to walk around recently inaugurated Agara Lake. We were happy to realise that the inauguration coincided  with our pleasure pockets walk 🙂

 

 

We were intrigued to realise that there was this beautiful lake right in the centre of the bustling Hosur Sarjapur Road (HSR Layout) and people were yet to discover the joys of this public place.

 

 

Armed with umbrellas, phones and our spirit we went for a pleasure pockets walk, looking for spots.

 

 

There were plenty of women who had joined us, who were already there ready with running shoes.

 

 

It was simply a beautiful view to look at the sunset next to this lake in the city.

 

 

It was beautiful to see this poster of a woman with message on planting of trees.


Image Credit : Sekulu Nyekha

Where to find health facilities for HIV and AIDS patients in Rajasthan?

 

Recently in Rajasthan, RSACS (Rajasthan State Aids Control Society) and Rajasthan prisons headquarters signed a Memorandum of Understanding to launch HIV intervention in prisons of Rajasthan. Now this is a very crucial step towards reducing the prevalence of HIV in the state. In many parts of India, civil society organizations have been fighting tooth and nail with their respective governments to have better health facilities, especially for pregnant & lactating women, HIV positive people and people with tuberculosis. Rajasthan is one of the first states to launch this agreement.

HIV and Prisons

An NGO SAATHI has been instrumental in bringing about this change. Various studies by the United Nations have stated that the prevalence of HIV is much higher in prisons than the general population. Rajasthan has total 127 prisons and other closed settings, including 10 central jails, three reformatories, 25 district jails, 60 sub-jails and 29 open camps. The capacity of these prisons is 32,327 and current occupancy is 32,787. Rajasthan at present has 66,000 people identified as HIV positive and are undergoing treatment. AIDS prevalence rate at the national level is 0.27%, while in Rajasthan it is 0.17%, which is less than the national level. (Hindustan Times, 20th February, 2018). Though the rate is lesser than that of India, its prevalence cannot be ignored. The government has taken various measures to identify and provide treatment to PLHIV.

Therapy Centres, ART Centres, Care Support Centres 

In order to provide care, support and treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS are getting benefited through 23 Anti Retroviral Therapy centers, 25 Link ART centers and 16 Care Support Centers. The free ART initiative was launched from October 2005 in Rajasthan. The main objectives of these centres are:

  • To provide prolong life and improve the quality of life among PLHIVs through CST services.
  • To Reducing the viral load in AIDS patients by taking ART regularly.
  • To Reduce HIV transmission by positive prevention concept.
  • To improve the HIV-TB coordination for early management of HIV-TB co-infection.
  • To provide care and support through counseling and care support centers.
  • Management of opportunistic infection & availability of sufficient O I drugs.
  • Post exposure prophylaxis for health care personnel working with PLHIVs.
  • Early infant diagnosis to reduce chances of spread the HIV infection in baby.
  • Reduce stigma and discrimination related with PLHIVs among Health Care Personnel as well as society level.

Following are the services available at these ART centers are free of cost:-

  1. Counseling
  2. Investigation
  3. CD-4 Test
  4. ARV Drugs
  5. O.I Drugs
  6. Knowledge of Social beneficial Scheme
  7. Condoms
  8. IEC Material
  9. Knowledge about network people
  10. Referral to Care Support Centre & other related units

 These are the Anti Retroviral Therapy Centres across the state as per RSACS:-

Though the government has taken various steps to ensure that PLHIC have access to various ART centres and get treatment but the situation remains grim for pregnant women who are HIV positive. Many newspapers have reported in the past decade how the doctors do not cases of pregnant women who are HIV positive despite the strict guidelines by the Medical Council of India and the Government to not devoid any pregnant women of the delivery services. There are safety measures that can be easily taken by the doctors and nurses while delivering a child of an HIV positive woman. The recent budget announcement in Rajasthan did not talk much about health. HIV was not mentioned at all. A better monitoring mechanism is required for all these centres to function effectively and regular counselling and training of doctors and all the health service providers must be mandatory. We need more sensitized doctors at the health facilities, especially government health facilities because getting treatment from private hospitals is an expensive affair. There is a dire need to reduce the out of pocket expenditure of people on health so that they do not get pushed under below poverty line as we all know that the second biggest reason for poverty in India is expenditure on health!

 

S.no. Name of ARTC/ FIARTC Address

1 SMS Medical College Jaipur Basement of Dhanwantari OPD, SMS Hospital, Jaipur Ph. 0141-2518630,2572290

2 Dr. S.N. Medical College, Jodhpur Infectious Disease centre, Kamla Nehru Chest & TB Hospital, Jodhpur – 342 002 Ph. 0291-2751161

3 S.P. Medical College, Bikaner Ground Floor, OPD Building, Near ANC Clinic, PBM Hospital, Bikaner – 334 003 Ph. 0151-2201119

4 R.N.T. Medical College, Udaipur MB Hospital, Opp. Trauma Ward, RNT Medical College, Udaipur Ph. 0294-2419403

5 Govt Medical College, Kota New Medical College, Hospital Kota, 0744-2471391

6 J.L.N. Medical College, Ajmer Near Orthopedic Ward, J.L.N. Hospital, Ajmer 0145-2633426

7 Govt. District Hospital, Alwar Govt. District Hospital, Alwar 0144-2346033, 2345087

8 S.K Hospital, Sikar S.K Hospital, Sikar 01572-251093, 271856

9 Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, Bhilwara Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, Bhilwara 01482-232641

10 Bangar Hospital, Pali Bangar Hospital, Pali 02932-226059

11 Govt. District Hospital, Barmer Govt. District Hospital, Barmer 02982-230369,230041

12 Govt. District Hospital, Jalore Govt. District Hospital, Jalore 02973-225090

13 J.L.N Hospital, Nagaur J.L.N Hospital, Nagaur Ph: 01582-244822

14 Hardev Joshi Govt. General Hospital, Dungarpur Hardev Joshi Govt. General Hospital, Dungarpur Fax No.02964-230203

15 RBM Hospital Bharatpur RBM Hospital Bharatpur. Ph: 05644-220054

16 BDK Hospital Jhunjhunu BDK Hospital Jhunjhunu. Ph: 01592-235025

17 Civil Hospital, SriGanganagar Main OPD, Civil Hospital, SriGanganagar. Ph: 0154-2970507

18 Govt. District Hospital, Sirohi Govt. District Hospital, Sirohi. Ph: 02972-220065

19 MG Hospital, Banswara MG Hospital, Banswara. Ph: 02962-248283

20 Sawaliyaji Govt. District Hospital, Chittorgarh Sawaliyaji Govt. District Hospital, Chittorgarh. Ph: 01472-241744

21 RK Govt. District Hospital, Rajsamand RK Govt. District Hospital, Rajsamand. Ph: 0295-2222885

22 DB General Hospital, Churu DB General Hospital, Churu.

23 Govt. District Hospital, Hanumangarh Govt. District Hospital, Hanumangarh.

Following are some useful important links for people who are seeking more information on HIV in Rajasthan:-

 

Article by: Tushita Mukherjee

Tushita is a dreamer. Outer space and astrophysics attract her a lot. She loves both machines and trees. She is currently working with an NGO. In her free time, she likes to read books and sing. She is particularly fond of Rock and Hindustani Classical music. Clicking pictures of people is something she is exploring these days.

Podcasts – the future of story telling

We recently were part of the Radio Festival 2018 as podcasters. We were thrilled to be able to discuss future of podcasts in India and how podcasts could help revive radio.

Podcasts are online shows that can be downloaded to any personal mobile device, or streamed online. Simple enough. They have been referred as the future of radio and might even alter the way radio have been streaming information.

In India, radio is still considered one of the biggest source of information for people living in tier 2 and tier 3 cities and towns. Radio is able to reach and connect to different parts of the country, where other source of information might not have reached in the past.

In the recent years, mobile has been able to penetrate some of these unreachable parts of the country. With the number of mobile towers that are getting erected in the rural parts of the country, people in the rural areas have more access to mobiles. So there is access to the infrastructure for the information, but content of the information is very much still limited.

Present of Podcasts 

Radio also for the longest time in public memory has been doing something similar. It has been producing content in mass for general public and has been reaching to people in different parts of the country. So what is different about podcasts?

Podcasts decentralize the power of content creation, and let common person enter the domain of knowledge production. Audio Podcasts does not require technical expertise with regard to infrastructure. It requires some equipments and some passion for audio content.

It is one of the by-product of the internet which has allowed people from all walks of life to enter into knowledge production business.

Podcasts, let user run into details and lets you play with details. It is a medium, which works on details without having the trouble of visualisation. Matters of representation is totally dependent on user’s imagination. Imagination is the key in audio podcasts. Audio podcasts play with user’s imagination and at the same time provide them with power to recreate stories and content in a manner they are most comfortable. Focusing on audio only forces user’s imagination to fill in the blanks.

 

Future of Podcasts 

India has so many traditions of storytelling. It thrives on oral archives and for the longest time oral conversations were one of the methods of transmission of knowledge. Radio has been an extension of this, where communities were connected by a common thread of information, which was mostly controlled by state. With privatisation more private players got into this domain and with internet, it opened spaces for citizens to become the creators and archivers of stories. It just slightly shifted its storage space – from direct human interaction, to radio transmitters to finally an equipment one holds on to their hands – mobile device. Our stories are still living and thriving amongst our spaces.

More and more people getting active on podcasts production. In India the knowledge production is still limited to elite class and the cities, but the dissemination of these podcasts are definitely seeping in different classes and demographics. One of the disruption brought in by podcasts are the fact that a lot of marginalised communities have access to a range of content and can make choices. Members of these communities with personalised access or small group access can listen to various content in their space and time. Radio has always been seen as a source of education where mass knowledge was shared for benefit for the society. This content always had a certain kind of approach which pushed for public policies which mostly re-iterated patriarchal notions of the society. Since the source of knowledge production was state, there was not enough space for dissent.

This is where podcasts present the future, it lets the individuals take on space in knowledge production, and provide an alternative, or different types of narratives within different platforms. At a time, when radio has been completely taken over by Bollywood songs, the long  oral form has been pushed out of .

Check our podcasts here : 

At Hidden Pockets Collective, we believe that audio podcasts has a huge potential in the field of sexual and reproductive health and can reach places which are generally kept away from knowledge production. It is cost-effective and involves fewer resources and time. It is a great concept especially for young people who would like to create their own content.

Where is Cyber Cell in Bangalore?

Cyber Crimes are on rise on social media platforms. More and more young people are becoming victims of it. There has been an increase in number of cyber crime cases on other online platforms as well. There are various recourses that a victim can choose in such a scenario.

In such a scenario where does one go to file a complaint?

In Bangalore, Cyber Cell is at Palace Road ,inside the Carlton House, in the CID Headquarters. We went looking for this space.

 

BDA 2031 Master Plan Consultation

BDA 2031 Master Plan Consultation

                                                                                                  By The Bachchao Project and Hidden Pockets Collective

Our Intention behind this

The way to build an inclusive city is to understand the diverse needs of the people interacting with the city. Every city has an governing body to draft plans, these plans essentially used to shape the work and infrastructure in the city over a period of time. Every few years when new plans are formulated, these plans are released for consultation to the citizens of the city.  These are opportunities for citizens to engage and shape their city to their needs.

When BDA released the master plan for 2031 we saw this as an opportunity to look at the gendered needs in the city and highlight the same. This is the first of our efforts to be more involved in the City Plans.

Our observations :

In our analysis of the BDA Master Plan, we realized that most of the draft of the planning is based on a concrete understanding of a city, which is focussed more on developing spaces for industrial purposes without reflecting the lived experiences of people living in these spaces.  The plan is more focussed more making the cities more functional without looking at some of the problems presently being faced by the people living in these spaces.

We have based our observations on the maps provided in the BDA 2031.  With regard to land use, there is a need for more public audits and data collection. Data is insufficient and does not accurately locate some of the spaces.

The proposed city planning does not attend to needs of all persons living in these spaces. While the BDA has considered traffic, emergencies and disasters; safety as a parameter has not received any mention in the document. Based on experience, we can identify some of the spaces in the city, which are densely populated and some of these spaces have reported several harassment incidents and are considered unsafe for eg: the petta area right in the center of the city and the city bus stand. However safety has not been considered and this has not reflected in the urban planning of some of the spaces. These are just few spaces we could easily point out but there are several such pockets in the city. While the master plan has looked at all the available data sources when it comes to emergencies, disasters and even of archaeological importance. They have failed to look at any available safety indexes and nor have initiated conversations in that direction

Similarly while considering the infrastructure of the city. In area zoning regulation there is mention of width of the road, but indicators like street lighting and footpaths for pedestrians which can be some of the markers for safety concerns in an area is missed out.

In a city like Bangalore, which has a growing concerns around migration, there is no mention of shelter homes for different communities. They have not received any place in area zoning regulation. Not just shelter homes for different communities, shelter homes for women and children were also not considered under public spaces. These spaces are important is supporting a healthy community. A city as large as bangalore should have safe spaces for survivors of abuse and people with no support systems. We thought it was odd that the plans did not consider this as a need of the city.

Bangalore is a melting point of people coming from different parts of India, who are adding to the booming economy of the city. Migration of human resources also puts onus on the city to make the city more accomodating for people who are migrating. This is often done by encroaching spaces which are allocated as public spaces.

The rising population also leads to the question of utilization of empty and open spaces to accommodate the in flow of people. We strongly suggest that the language used for interlinking open spaces and eco sensitive spaces defeats the purpose as eco sensitive spaces are not spaces meant for usage by public.

The draft mentions Public sector enterprises as lung spaces of a city, indicating that these spaces can be used by general public for purpose other than functions of public sector. This is a very limited understanding of a public space and also reduces the space which could have been accessible to general public.

There is a potential of public spaces to be point of interaction where people from different communities can interact, it can be a great space for flourishing informal sectors. There is a need to define public space with usage perspective and not just see it as empty spaces.

UNESCO defines a public space as an area or place that is open and accessible to all persons, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age or socio-economic level. Some of the structures can be  plazas, squares and parks.

More SDZs seemed to have been proposed which are not connected within the existing layout of the city.

The industrial and residential areas do not have a clear path of connection between the two sections. These spaces can become inaccessible and unsafe for people from different communities.

Public spaces also provide an opportunity to design sanitation as part of the urban planning and introduce several public toilets especially for women working in the informal sector who might not have access to close toilets in their work spaces.  Public toilet is another aspect, which failed to get notice of the planning process. This also gets linked to safety aspects in these public spaces. If public spaces are designed keeping in mind the needs of people from different communities, it becomes more diverse, attracts more people and provides the space with a community feeling, which also makes safety then as a community issue instead of an individual issue.

Need for additional Data

Through our work we also realised the need of city specific gender data. We released there were no public records of safety audits, nor there were enough material talking about experiences. The mapping of what makes women’s lives in the Bangalore meaningful was also missing.

Future Work

Through our work we recognised that the need for more rigorous and in detailed submission. Our comments were unfortunately limited by lack of time and readily available information to make it possible.

  • We plan to build a joint process for reviewing such plans in the future.
  • We also understand the need for establishing better communication with the city planning committees and to review the existing regulations and push for a more inclusive approach in them.
  • We understand the need of safety audits and the dearth of informations due to lack of it and we hope to support more community audits.
  • We also would like to build a larger community which can work and think of these issues in the gendered lines and we welcome any partnerships in this direction.  

References  

Our submission to the consultation are based on our broad learnings from :

  1. Phadke .S, Khan. S, Ranade .S‎ ,2011 Why Loiter?: Women And Risk On Mumbai Streets
  2. Citizen Labs Articles on Inclusive Cities :

https://www.citylab.com/amp/article/365541/

https://www.citylab.com/equity/2017/09/the-how-and-why-of-inclusive-growth/541422/

https://www.citylab.com/equity/2016/06/how-to-build-inclusive-cities/487322/

The Bachchao Project is a community effort to develop / support Open Source Technologies and technical frameworks with the following goals :

1. Prevention of Gender Based Violence.
2. Equal Rights for Women and LGBTQIA communities