On Thursday, the Mumbai chapter of One Billion Rising, a global campaign to raise awareness about gender-based violence across 200 countries, concluded with more than 1,000 citizens coming together to take a pledge to respect women.
At the main event in an amphitheatre near Bandra bandstand, the issue was raised through dance performances, short films and rap songs.
“We have been working on the cause of violence against women since the 1980s, but this is the first time the cause has received such a tremendous response,” said Nandita Gandhi from Akshara, a non-profit organisation that was the city co-ordinator of the event.
“The Delhi gang rape case has brought about a paradigm shift in people’s thinking,” she added.
Several non-profit organisations including Stree Mukti Sangathana, Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action (Sneha), and Kranti were part of the initiative.
The campaign, initiated by Vagina Monologues-creator Eve Ensler, was launched in the city on December 7 last year, and over the last 16 days, several groups engaged in activities and awareness initiatives in public places and colleges.
Saraswati Bhandare, a Dharavi resident, was part of a group dance at an event on Carter Road. “Ever since I heard about the campaign, my friends and I have wanted to be part of it as we believe in women's rights,” said the 19-year-old.
However, Nayreen Daruwala, programme director, Sneha, felt that more Mumbaiites should have come out to support the campaign. “The response could have been better, but I think it will take some more time for people to realise its importance,” she said.
Celebrities such as actor Farhan Akhtar, Mita Vashisht also joined the cause.