Chetana Naskar, PHD Scholar, JNU

15/02/2017

We possess a persistent strong group of twelve, absolutely devoted, sincere group of young boys and girls from varied background name Khirkee Collective and also a strong network of women entrepreneurs from the region. Not to mention, while struggling in establishing this group, where there was continuous coming in and dropping out of individuals. Furthermore establishing network in a region which is built against the strong social segregation, for the kind of subject we are dealing with, was itself a big challenge. We had to be very cautious in our approach while conversing with the local women. The methodological emphasis towards reclaiming public spaces by questioning the quotidian patriarchal norms and specified gender roles, and a thrust towards breaking the primeval practices through various ventures, in the regions strongly dominated by orthodox religious group/s and community/ies, was quite challenging. Amidst all these, we succeeded in intervening the lives of the women of Khirkee-Hauz Rani, and also their inner being who craved to breathe in a gender neutral society. Therefore in the Phase II of the project our emphasis was more strongly laid on ‘her’-stories (of the women) of struggle and how amidst all obstacles she stood out strong. With the young adults, we mostly devoted our time, in enlightening them the core idea of public space, and the socially created gender divisions, through various activities. By the paintings on the wall imposing the idea of an egalitarian society, various discussions, and the mapping workshop, we practically introduced them that how every day gendered public spaces are created by us and how we unconsciously follow it. The final closure to the second phase was done with a two days cycle rally on the streets (of the region) and an extensive intellectual discussion about the work done and its future prospects, which was the opening door for stepping into the third phase and thus the inception of – The Mobile Mohalla.

Presently, as has been decided, we are going deeper into the subject of contestation of the gendered public places. Various untouched nodes, are being and will be dealt with in this segment. Therefore, alongside the women and men of the region, we are emphasizing more strongly on the young girls and boys (both men and women). Standing at the third month of Mobile Mohalla, we have conducted 7 days’ workshop with the team we have built (the details of the workshop would be given in the upcoming blog). More network weaving in the region is being done, twice a week creative writing classes are conducted with the young girls and boys. And most importantly, since it’s an art project (collaborating with various other discourses), not to mention, more paintings, breaking the gender stereotypes are getting shape on the walls of the region. We are also coming up with our first magazine of this phase in a very important day – Women’s day. Last, but as they say not the least, we had a wonderful addition to this phase of ours – Sebanti Chatterjee (doctoral student in Delhi University), an extremely talented and enthusiast individual, mainly managing with the creative writing segment.