In the season of protest marches comes another, this one to change the mindset that for girls to move freely at night is ‘asking for it’. ‘Claim Your City by Night’, an after-dark walk on the occasion of International Human Rights Day on December 10, will see the city’s youngsters, especially girls, parading from Barakhamba Road to Jantar Mantar to remind everyone that women, too, have the right to roam the city at any hour without being judged or harmed.
“The walk is being organised to claim the space for safety of women and youngsters. During night-time, most of us are confined to our homes as tragically, in this city, it can become very unsafe. The idea is to claim the right to move with no restrictions, whether these are psychological, safety related, or imposed,” says Shivani Bharadwaj, programme director of the organising group, Sathi All for Partnerships. “Women too have the right to access public spaces and services on an equal footing with men,” she adds.
The event, which took place on the same day last year with a strength of 500 supporters, is expected to see many more participants this time. There will be dhol music, songs and slogans too.
Youngsters are divided on the effectiveness of the event. “Of course, bringing about change isn’t a fairytale that things will become perfect in one day, but it’s about keeping the spirit going through such events,” says Umang Sabharwal, 19, organiser of the Besharmi Morcha that took place in the city in July. Shubhi Dutta, 23, says, “One day, we walk out boldly, but then what’s the use, we still can’t go out the next day.”
Government groups for women’s rights are for the initiative. “At least some awareness will come about from this,” says Barkha Singh, chairperson, Delhi Commission for Women.
US did it in the 70s
The ‘Claim Your City by Night’ walk is inspired by what started as a feminist movement in America in the 1970s as ‘Take Back the Night’ marches in protest against sexual harassment. These marches also took place in Belgium and Rome (1976) as a reaction to rising rape statistics, in Germany in 1977 to claim freedom of movement, and in 11 towns in England in 1977.
Talk to us
Will you be part of the campaign, and do you think it will bring about a difference?
Tennis star Sania Mirza, 25, will reveal all about her marriage woes and controversies in a candid autobiography that will be launched soon. “The book is about a side of me that very few people know,” she says.