Physical violence is only one form of violence against women, which has many aspects such as mental, emotional, economic, sociological and cultural; it’s necessary to address all these and talk about the philosophy of violence itself, said Pushpa Bhave, well-known writer and activist, at the plenary session of the three-day conference on the subject.
“There’s simply no justification or rationalisation for any kind of violence in society, certainly not state-sponsored violence or even counter-violence,” Bhave said.
The meet titled, “Violence: Human and Political Predicament – A South Asia women’s conference” aims to draw parallels about violence in South Asian countries and connect a range of activists and academics so that the issue can be addressed on a wider platform.
This is the first major initiative in recent years to connect individuals and groups working against violence, especially violence against women, across South Asian countries. Delegates from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka spoke about different levels of violence in their countries.
“We cannot ignore the role played by the global arms and weapons industry in inculcating the culture of violence. It’s quite possible that even as Indian and Pakistani soldiers face off each other at the border, they are using arms from the same or same set of manufacturers,” said Sheema Kirmani, well-known activist and dancer from Pakistan.
Ilina Sen, academic and activist wife of Dr Binayak Sen, mentioned that violence must also be seen in the context of exploitation at all levels, especially of women and poorer women. “Our Constitution does not allow this kind of violence but the Directive Principles of the Constitution have been reduced to a museum piece by governments,” Sen remarked.
Milind Bokil, Marathi writer and social rights campaigner, called for “disorganisation of religions” among other things, to reduce violence in society.
Well-known women’s rights leaders, economists, lawyers and social activists will deliberate on a range of issues including hierarchy and patriarchy, violence in the context of religion and culture, violence in the context of globalisation and corporatisation, and food and work security. The conference concludes on Sunday.