Dec 2012-Jan 2013 marks twenty years of the shocking, violent
, horrifying days of Dec 92-Jan 93.
Those of us who were in this city in those days witnessed something that we probably could not even imagine. Those were days that brought the worst kind of violence to the foreground. Violence systematically targeted at some citizens
of the city
. Violence that divided , that terrified, that made many flee, that gave fresh meanings to the “us” and “them”.
The last twenty years bear witness to the scars of that violence. Absence of justice and the continuous mockery of the process of justice has not helped in the healing. While some wounds have filled up with time and some acts of kindness and support, many continue to fester – we are just better at not showing them and at not seeing them. The chasms deepened then have not been filled up. They have altered the city and its people
in many ways.
Our internal and the external landscapes have shifted in the last twenty years in numerous ways. The violence of 92-93 was one trigger but so also were the processes of globalisation, neo-liberalisation, privatisation. They reconfigured the city and its citizens in multiple ways.
The familiar industries and organised labour
have made way for newer occupations and the unorganised sector. There has been an ever expanding disparity between those few who have reaped the benefits of these new capitalist ventures and the vast majority whose struggles for survival have acquired newer meanings.
Alongside, the cosmopolitan character of this city too has been steadily replaced with a parochial outlook and character. The bogey of the “sons of the soil”, the slogans of cultural nationalism and the narrowing definitions of the “true residents” have altered the city in more ways than we would like to see and remember.
And then there is the terror of terror. Wounded by repeated attacks, the citizens have often welcomed rather than opposed the easier solutions of safety through surveillance and targeting of the vulnerable offered by the state. The spirit of the city is continuously under attack
and we get nearer to a police state
with every such response.
With shrinking open spaces and growing private spaces, protests have almost vanished. On the one hand there is no permission to protest
, on the other there are some voices that have become even more strident. Very often these are not voices for dissent and solidarity, they are voices of the mainstream once again relegating the rest to narrower margins.
Yet the voice of dissent has not died down through all of this. Voices of people in protest have still found ways of being heard. New kinds of protests, newer formations, platforms and networks, different issues and people have also found place.
We, members of Forum Against Oppression of Women
, feel that it is important to do something that captures in some ways the meaning of these changes for us, its citizens. A collective, public acknowledgement that will help in reminding us of all that happened in 1992-93 and since. A remembrance that is needed so that we do not forget. A remembrance needed not just to lament the loss but also to remind us of what is possible. A remembrance that in charting the paths of the past shall also help to map the future.
There is already immense amounts of documentation/ art/ film/ writing/ other cultural expressions/ research and other artefacts of various kinds that have been created and put together by different people and groups over the last two decades. There is ongoing work, there is work done over the years and there are plans for the future. Can we jointly think about ways of pulling some of these together to share
with the rest of the city and with each other? Can we plan some events together particularly for Dec 2012 – Jan 2013? A series of events to put both memory and resistance in the context of this city that we all so love and have such a difficult relationship with.
We invite you to a meeting on 2nd June 2012 at Gender resource centre to start these conversations and collectively see what shape and form these and other ideas can take.
Let us all put our memories, our anger, our frustration, our grief, together with our vision, our love for this city and what it stands for, our faith and optimism along with our laughter, songs and creativity to create things that will help the dialogue on this city with its citizens.
Forum Against Oppression of Women,
Date/Time: 2nd June, 2pm to 6 pm
Savitribai Phule Gender Resource Centre (SPGRC),
Rajgruha Cooperative Society,
Balshet Madurkar Marg,
Elphinstone (West), Mumbai- 400013
Forum Against Oppression of Women, Bombay
29, Bhatia Bhuvan,
Bombay -4000 28