Ahmedabad, the commercial vortex of Gujarat that has been kidnapped by consumerist politics, has not seen any public movement or voice of dissent for decades; but this Valentine’s Day, it is all set to witness a cultural demonstration where 20,000-odd people will dance to protest against sexual violence in the State.
“Ahmedabad Rising” is part of a global movement called “One Billion Rising” in which 184 countries are participating. Between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, the participants will gather at the sports ground of Gujarat Vidyapeeth for an event that includes a “garba.”
“We chose the ‘garba,’ not just because it is the traditional dance of Gujarat, but also because it is one of the only dances where men do not lead,” says eminent danseuse Mallika Sarabhai, who conceived the “Ahmedabad Rising” idea.
“As women, we are not saying that we want to lead; we just don’t want to be led. Dancing on an equal platform will give both men and women the chance to take up a large space together, and let the contagious, freeing spirit of dance guide us towards a moment of solidarity where we can rise together and stop gender discrimination,” asserts Ms. Sarabhai.
“Ahmedabad Rising” has attracted hundreds of youngsters, especially from reputed institutions like the Mudra Institute of Communications and Administration, Indian Institute of Management, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, National Institute of Design, Nirma University, HL Commerce College, St. Xavier’s College, DPS, NIFT and several others. This is besides scores of participants from different walks of life.
Ms. Sarabhai told The Hindu that “Ahmedabad Rising” was an “important foundation for this long-term initiative to begin the movement to bring together men and women in order to educate and empower them to rise and take a stand to put an end to violence against women… it is time to give this pressing issue the attention it needs to bring our communities together into a whole new consciousness.”