Students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) organised a solidarity march as a part of the global “One Billion Rising Revolution.” The march commenced from the Maulana Azad Library’s canteen and came to a halt at the University gate, Bab-e-Syed.
The One Billion Rising Revolution (OBR) was started in 2012 as a part of the V-Day Movement. This movement was an initiative of Eve Ensler who started it as a protest against rape and sexual violence against women. The “Billion” in the name refers to the statistics given by the United Nations (UN), according to which one in three women are raped or beaten in their lifetime, or about one billion.
The OBR is coordinated in South Asia by Kamla Bhasin. Approximately a number of one hundred and fifty students of Aligarh Muslim University participated in the march.
“Throughout the world every year on the 14th of February since 2012, men and women rise up and campaign to their government and the media to end gender violence which includes exploitation, rape and harassment. This year, we students at AMU took this initiative and along with the teachers organized the one billion rising movement to show our solidarity in support of ending sexual violence.” Kaneez Fizza, PhD Economics scholar at AMU, said.
The march began at the historic Maulana Azad Library’s canteen, where students of the University gave speeches and recited poems in the support of women’s rights, both self-composed and from the pens of luminaries such as Maya Angelo.
The One Billion Rising Revolution (OBR) was started in 2012 as a part of the V-Day Movement. The “Billion” in the name refers to the statistics given by the United Nations (UN), according to which one in three women are raped or beaten in their lifetime, or about one billion.
“On this day of love, we tried extending love and solidarity to all women who’ve been a victim of harassment, injustice, patriarchy and even denied basic human rights. OBR is to empower and appreciate all such women across the globe. We marched today to tell them that we are united with them.” Hiba Kakul, a student of MBA, said. Another PhD scholar Lubna Irfan said “I was a part of this movement because I wish to be a part of a world where women won’t be limited because of the fear of violence and harassment to them. This march was a part of a global movement and we at Aligarh wanted to register our presence and create a sense of awareness.”
The group of youngsters with zeal marched down the road to the famous Baab-e-Syed, holding aloft placards and shouting slogans, and once at the majestic gate, more students recited their poems.
“I believe that we shouldn’t shut our fellow students up in hostels under the excuse of safety. I believe that women should be treated like people and not cattle to be put back in the farm at dusk. It is important to have a dialogue relating to these issues.” Omar Khursheed a student at Aligarh Muslim University said.
A large crowed from the Women’s College also turned up. Marking that the times are indeed changing and girls are coming out of their comfort zone to make a point of their own and take a stand. Zahra Sherwani, a student of Psychology (hon.) at Women’s College said “The exploitation of women is harrowingly rampant. If we want to retain the label of humanity, we need to come together to address this palpable issue. This march embodies our spirit to strive for emancipation of women.”
After a few songs and speeches, the march returned to the library, to reminisce about a few hours spent fighting the forces that have spent the better part of its century of existence stifling women within the university.
“This event was a reminder to the male section of our society. We have to take a stand for women, not only outside our homes but also inside them.” Mohammad Anas, a student of English Literature said.