by Dhamini Ratnam on Monday, January 20, 2014
- Session type
- Technical level
After the Supreme Court judgment reinstituted Section 377 on December 2013, a whole section of our community was criminalized in one fell swoop. These are people you’ve known all your life. You’ve gone to school with them; you probably work in the cubicle right next to theirs, or buy vegetables at their stall. What you’re also probably not aware of is that this section of the Indian Penal Code, affects everyone, irrespective of their orientation. Why? Well, for one, the provisions of the section apply to anyone who has sex in more ways than the missionary position. Further, the matter is not just a question of how we’re allowed to have sex (allowed, what cheek, right?), but whether our fundamental rights to equality and personal liberty can be taken away in such an arbitrary fashion. And well, since we’re all human, it’s always good to know how we can claim our rights in all our spaces – at work, at home, in the park, in a movie and even in our bedrooms – without fear.
What can you do to protect your rights, and someone else’s, too? That's what we all are going to have a little chat about. You’re the super-hero, and don’t let anyone tell you any different.
The hour-long workshop will be held in an open-group format, in which we will invite participants to look into their lives and loves, and come up with innovative ways to make the ideals enshrined in the one fantastic document of our nation - the Indian Constitution (truly, there’s nothing else like it out there) - real to them.
Dhamini Ratnam has been a journalist in Bombay for close to eight years, before she joined Queer Ink (www.queer-ink.com), an educative and publishing enterprise started by Shobhna Kumar in 2010. Her big idea is to create a queer press that throws light on the lives of all the rest of India that doesn’t really find representation – or sensitized representation - in mainstream news. She believes in the power of the collective, and hopes to activate as many people as she can possibly reach, to turn journalists of their communities. The idea to awaken folks about their rights as citizens, hit her on her way to work during a particularly bumpy auto rickshaw ride. Despite Mumbai traffic’s best effort, she heard Vandana Singh speak on Radio about We The People, and the proverbial cookie crumbled.
Vandana Singh loves travelling. Which is just as well, given that she’s been to over six cities in the past two weeks, doing what We, the People, a citizens collective, does best. Together with her team (comprising Trustees, leadership coaches and folks who signed up anchors) WTP has reached out to more than 800 folks across the length and breadth of the country. Founded in 2010, WTP is currently funded by the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust. They bring to the table not just a deep knowledge of the Indian Constitution and the rights it guarantees, but have also worked closely with citizens on empowering them to use tools such as the Right to Information Act to make a real difference to their lives. For a trip down lane Faith in Possibility Reawakened, check out their videos on their website: http://we-the-people.in/