JNU students go the street play way for gender sensitisation

October 18th, 2008 - 4:37 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 18 (IANS) “Chod na yaar”, a phrase often heard on the roads and in public conveyances whenever an altercation breaks out, was the inaugural street play of Jawaharlal Nehru University’s three-day gender sensitisation series. Not surprisingly, it was a huge hit.”‘Chod na yaar’ is probably the most often heard comment from spectators on roads and buses whenever a person gets thrashed, is hurt or a woman gets harassed. ‘This is none of my business’, and a shrug, is all that most people have to offer when someone is in desperate need of help, more so if it is a woman,” said Mondira Dutta, chairperson of the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) at the JNU.

“The idea to weave a skit around this theme was to bring to the forefront the attitude of the common man and the urgent need to change it in order to restore the faith of a person in his neighbour,” Dutta told IANS.

The series of street plays will conclude Saturday.

GSCASH, all of nine years old, aims to make the JNU campus more gender sensitive. Putting up street plays is a medium to do the same.

“When people from different backgrounds meet in the campus, problems arise due to lack of awareness of norms of egalitarian gender relations. The support groups are far and few. It is part of the mandate of GSCASH not only to redress sexual harassment after it occurs but to try and create conditions that it does not occur, and these street plays are a part of the process.

“The themes of the plays are based on GSCASH’s past experiences and have been decided by the students themselves. Although domestic violence is not part of our mandate, the students decided to include this as the theme. Other issues like slandering each other’s name after a couple breaks up is also part of the themes,” Dutta said.

The plays, all of half hour duration, are followed by a discussion on the theme.

“The plays end on time but the students are so driven by the issues that they go on and on with the discussions. A good sign that they care,” she said.

If any play gets hugely popular and teachers feel that it needs a larger audience, then it will be showcased outside the campus as well.

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