It’s Valentine’s Day. Definitely not a traditional Indian holiday. Some sections of the population, led by rabid politicians, have for a few years now attacked young couples for ‘going Western’. They have smashed shop windows advertising Valentine’s Day cards and gifts, and indulged in bouts of hooliganism. But protests notwithstanding, the commercialization of young love survives, indeed thrives, as the mammoth wheels of the industry roll on, unperturbed.
A more interesting celebration, a new one, is that women’s groups have made this day an international celebration of women from every corner (it seems) of the world. Last year, I wrote on 14 February about the One Billion Rising campaign. I was in Gujarat, celebrating the day, dancing and singing with a few thousand women and their supportive men. There was music, folk dancing, everyone swaying to the beat. The atmosphere was electric. The entire group was vibrant, joyous and upbeat. It made you forget, for that brief shining moment at least, the hardship, injustice, cruelty and domestic violence that our women – and women everywhere – deal with for the larger part of their lives.
This year, the global movement led by Eve Ensler has gained momentum. The women involved are jubilant. Passionate. They make it clear that they have made this day their own. It is inclusive, embracing women and people of every creed, caste, colour and class. It brings hope and joy, however fleetingly, to everyone present. It gives women a small ray of sunshine to carry back with them, however bleak and hopeless their lives and their homes are. The remembrance of something bigger, better and happier. A hope that perhaps life will be a little different for their daughters.
The excitement is palpable. News has poured in from all over Africa, the US, Britain, every corner of India, Pakistan, Asia, and even Afghanistan.
Participate in it this weekend, wherever you are! If you can’t, at least watch the videos and be a part of this historic women’s movement.
The World is RISING - Follow the Action LIVE!
Around the world, the sights, sounds and energy of women, men and children in their communities can be heard demanding justice Among the thousands of events planned worldwide, risers will be dancing on campuses; at the gates of the High Court in Bangladesh; in Trafalgar Square in London; at game parks in Swaziland; against the militarization of mines in the Philippines; within Ministries of Women; in violent conflict zones; with the rising girls in Siloe, Haiti; at the Palace of Justice in Rome; across the five burroughs of New York City; at the steps of City Hall in San Francisco; at the International Criminal Court; in prisons, and more!
Ways to follow and support the campaign:
Watch the risings track the sun from east to west via Livestream to get a sense of the global impact.
The homepage is ‘demand central’ for all the amazing items coming in from around the world online via social media, news, blogs and more. Visit it throughout the next few days to see the creative ways in which V-Activists are rising.
Please post all your updates using the #1BillionRising and #rise4justice hashtags.
Post your photos for your friends on our wall so we can share them.
Join our One Billion Rising Event and upload your photos directly from your mobile device!
Be sure to tag your shots #1BillionRising #rise4justice
Get on the World Map: Upload and geotag your photos and video.
You get the idea. We look forward to seeing you all RISE on 14 February!