The young girls took the lead in getting to their feet and letting their hair down while the usually hesitant Kochiites took a little time to shed the initial inhibition. A few minutes into the Usha Uthup’s irresistible rhythmic beats, women of all ages at the Durbar Hall Ground caught up with the mood to shake a leg.
Swaying to the music, people sang with her the opening song Ente Keralam… followed by Bindiya chamkegi …, that she improvised in her own style. “There have been lots of songs for women for so many years, so why don’t we give them the dignity they deserve,” she said at the event to mark One Billlion Rising, a novel global campaign to end violence against women.
Paul Anka’s Diana and Harry Belafonte’s Come Back Liza , Shiela ki jawani were among the earlier songs that set the beats for the evening.
Thursday night probably fell short to accommodate the aspirations of women as every one wanted the night to go on. The crowd that looked scattered in the ground at the beginning of the event swelled up as night set in and more musical bands and singers took to the stage.
Earlier, the event was set afloat with Usha Uthup and a group of women on a tableau and hundreds of women who followed it from the Gandhi Square to the Durbar Hall Gound — all the while playing the theme song composed by musician M. Jayachandran.
Lamps were lit along the installation by artist Sajitha Shankar. Deputy Mayor B. Bhadra and noted journalist Leela Menon were among group of women who took part in lighting the lamp along with children from Sneha Bhavan.
Former judge Usha Sukumaran led the pledge that asked people to take steps against any kind of abuse against women – mental, physical, economical or sexual. “I will not hurt or belittle or allow anyone to do the same…to any woman” went the pledge that called for making opportunities for gender equality and to do away with dowry.
Former judge of the Supreme Court, V. R. Krishna Iyer called to make this struggle for equality and empowerment a success.