The Editor’s Word

Posted on November 29, 2013 by cwlsc
Editors Words:

As the faculty coordinator of this CWLSC wordpress blog I am most excited about this initiative as it is one projects I have worked closely with the students. I am truly touched by their commitment to social concerns as global citizens and their capabilities to use this medium to express their feelings towards a rapidly transforming society. This blog will be ongoing initiative will encourage JGU students to write about the issues that they feel most passionate about and most importantly it will be headed by a student-led committee who will shape and design its future course of action.

I truly hope that students will take this initiative as a serious medium of communicating with global community.

Thank you very much,

Dr Keerty Nakray


Foreword By Professor Ratna Kapur

“As we witness the fall of the mighty men who have spearheaded some remarkable moments in Indian judicial history or launched searching inquiries and made searing critiques through the media demanding transparency from the governmental apparatus, we are stunned by the ease with which they have allegedly treated members of half the citizenry of this country with the utmost disrespect. The judicial and media mechanisms have now turned their gaze onto retired Justice Ashok Kumar Ganguly, accused of sexual harassment by a young legal intern, and Tarun Tejpal, editor-in-chief and publisher of Tehelka magazine, accused of of a fellow female journalist in a hotel elevator in Goa, calling them to account for the accusations that have been levied against them. How is it possible to reconcile the fact that such individuals have been held out as representing all that is dignified and integral to the most significant components of Indian democracy – the judiciary and the media – while allegedly behaving in a manner that has so undermined that democratic space? While the allegations remain to be proven, what is certain is that these stories will continue to spill into the public arena, because women are now willing to step forward to make the allegations driven by a new found confidence that perhaps this time they will be believed.

There are undoubtedly many others out there who have hidden behind the wall of silence that surrounds issues of sexual assault, sexual violence, sexual harassment and sexual abuse, depending confidently not only on their own respectable standing, but also on the ostensible “shame” and “dishonour” a woman would experience should she reveal these “indiscretions”. The fact that these walls of secrecy are crumbling, that women are finding a voice and speaking of the abuses with confidence and without fear of shame or ostracisism is a sign of the remarkable change that has come about in society in recent years. While the protests and demonstrations after the December 16th rape and murder in 2012 was indicative of these changes, they have become more vocal and visible over the course of this year alone.

And while the objective is not to bring down individuals of repute, it is to point out the hypocrisy that afflicts society where women who march with men on the streets to demand justice, can so easily become the objects of harassment by the very dispensers of that justice, be it in the form of judicial robes or at the hands of the mavericks of the visual and print media.

There is no question that we have not heard the last on this issue. Women will continue to come out and tell their stories of abuse and harassment, sexism and assault, at the hands of the very individuals that command the respect and adulation of society. It is not an easy place to go. And it may be that the legal establishment or media may be reluctant to disparage their own. It is for this very reason that blog spaces such as this one launched by the Centre for Women, Law and Social Change of Jindal Global University becomes a critical space through which to speak of that which has been shrouded in silence and shame for too long. It is a space where the right to free speech can and must be facilitated, to ensure that these issues are heard, debated and most importantly, effectively addressed.

I welcome the addition of this blog space and look forward to its rise as a central arena for the discussion and debate on women’s rights not only within the context of the University, but also within the context of the transnational, global world that we all now inhabit”.

Ratna Kapur

Global Professor of Law

Jindal Global Law School

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Reflections on the Kadam Badaun Campaign – First Meeting of the Semester

IMG_20140820_183311715photo (3)As we sit in front of our laptops writing about our first session with members of NGO Pria regarding “Kadam Badhao Campaign” makes us feel like a part of something big. “Kadam Badhao Campaign” is a University-community collaboration aimed at raising awareness about “violence against women” and mobilizing the community to take effective steps to curb this social menace.
The NGO had already done extensive field work comprising of safety audit and Focus Group Discussions in the neighbouring villages. This gave us a fair idea about how field studies are done and how the collected data should be analyzed.
We now plan to organize an open meeting with the local MLA and leaders of other political parties where this issue can be discussed and support can be gathered at the decision-making level. Our peers in Jindal School of Public Policy are working on a manifesto which will specify our agendas regarding this issue. While we as law students are working on providing the women with a detailed guide specifying their legal rights so that they can use law as a tool of self-defense.
We also deliberated as to how we can make the campaign more interactive and engaging as we munched on our “dhoklas” and “sandwiches”. There are plans to organize a travelling exhibition, mobile legal aid, music/art workshops and street graffiti for the community.
Youth from the communities also displayed overwhelming enthusiasm and are actively participating in this initiative. Some girls of Sandal Kalan High School, Sonepat came up with idea of hosting cricket matches as a part of this initiative. We hope to see our plans in action.
Stay tuned for further updates on the progress of this initiative! Ciao.

Aishwarya Singh BALLB, 2014
Meenakshi Ramkumar, BA LLB 2014

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Dr. Keerty Nakray’s Interview by Akhila Kolisetty, Harvard Law School

1.     Tell me more about yourself. What led you to focus on gender violence, budgeting, and public health research and teaching?
My research interests have been shaped consistently over the last decade due to solid training in social theory and fieldwork in different parts of India.  As a master’s student I undertook field based research on reproductive and child health in the rural areas of Maharastra that is the time I realized that most of RCH policies leave women untouched.  That was the turning point in my life as I developed a strong interest in policy research and thereafter I was clear that I will pursue specialist studies in that field.  After working for one year closely again with specific child welfare centric social policy that entailed working closely with children and their families this commitment to pursue further studies was deepened. Following this work experience I studied planning and development at Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai which again entailed an excellent mix of theory and field work and it gave me a solid foundation to pursue a PhD. In IIT the topic of my dissertation was on gender budgeting and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (which is an education programme) in India for the first time I realized that financial resources allocated to various developmental programmes were woefully low. Much of these experiences led to the culmination of PhD research on gender budgets, social policy and HIV/AIDS in India.  With each academic turn I took in life my respect for human life has deepened and I uphold human rights at every level of my life which has a profound impact on my research as well.
2.     Gender based violence is such a complex and multifaceted problem, especially in India. Through your research, what do you see as the key obstacles to ending gender based violence in India?
Yes indeed gender based violence is an extremely complex problem with clear roots in the patriarchal cultural ethos in the country.  Unless there are substantial cultural changes along with greater empowerment of women through education and economic participation I see very little hope for women in India.
3.     What do you see as a potential models or solutions to combat gender violence and empower women in India?
Better economic participation in the formal sectors of the country is likely to contribute to improving women’s status in the society. 
4.     What is the role of the government in combating violence against women? The role of NGOs? The international community?
Government’s role is at heart of interventions for gender based violence as it can really commit to women’s issues on legislative grounds of substantive equality.  The international community should help the Indian government to develop its capabilities to undertake policy orientated research.  The NGOs can potentially inform government interventions. I do believe that violence interventions should not be left solely to NGOs as the current levels of violence against women  are completely unacceptable and cannot be addressed by NGOs.
5.     I know you have done much research on gender budgeting. Can you talk a little about the importance of and impact of budgeting on issues of women’s rights in India?
Budgeting for women’s rights is about theoretically recognizing structural impediments to the realization of women’s citizenship in our society.  Within the last five years I have seen more government officials more serious talking about gender however structural shift has not taken place and changes taking place in women’s status is more to do with better education and need for women’s skilled  labour in a rapidly growing Indian economy and very little to change in laws or policies.
6. You have also done much research on public health. What do you see as the link between public health and gender violence?
 Yes. There is a deep link between gender based violence and public health. My edited book has explicitly drawn on various global studies to clearly establish these linkages.
7. Does part of ending violence against women involves a shift in attitudes? If so, how can we move towards changing mindsets?
That is too easy an answer to a difficult question. Much of the violence against women is rooted systemic organizations of our social institutions and this violence is increasingly become invisible with an attempt to push women away from positions of power. I feel that unless we recognize that women’s identity is not only shaped by their gender but also intersects with their racial, religious, caste and ethnic identities. I have seen violence specifically been targeted at women from marginalized groups and with little or no sympathy from women’s from privileged locations.  I do not see a shift in women’s position happening unless current power hierarchies are pushed to substantive equality. 
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Is Justice forgiveness? – Rohini Sud (Student Editor) B.A LLB (2012)

Life is neither devoid of violence nor emotions. Resentment is one of those few emotions, playing alongside human passions. Resentment is encumbered into one’s being when another wrongs a person. Eminent psychoanalysts have rightly put forth the notions of resentment as being embedded in the superstructures of human emotions. The victim of the wrong internalizes an impulse to harm the one who has harmed them. Violence is sought as an answer to violence. Our criminal Justice system in the pursuit of decreeing Justice resorts to means of “justifiable” violence, however such methods have not circumstantially been able to reform the wrong doer.

Legal doctrines are rooted in specific passions, they surface the ideas of reformation and forgiveness. What the Criminal Justice systems on the contrary seemed to have achieved is giving fabricated beliefs of gaining justice through resentment to such victims. The Criminal Law seems to have institutionalized the feelings of anger, resentment, or even hatred, typically directed at the wrong doer, especially if one were the victim. The legal doctrines and intellectual rationales have allowed the victims to get legitimate revenge, in consonance with the Legal systems. As per Stephanos Bibas these systems and the State – centered models of Punishment have overlooked the human needs to ask for forgiveness and also the desire to earn it.

For too long have resentment and human passions overridden the doctrines persuading the adoption of forgiveness as a prerogative in the Justice systems as well as the human psyche. Forgiveness, Mercy and Excuse are vehemently argued as softer responses towards the wrongdoer, which, should have been a relatively harder response, fit to be called a punishment for the wrong. The realms of forgiveness are demonstrated as being necessary for the damaged individual as well as for the community in order for the real healing to take place. Forgiveness is deemed to be advantageous to not just the victim but also the wrong doer.

Clara Mucci has to offer to us three stages in the treatment of the victim, if they were to forgive the offender at all. If one were to take the victim of Genocide and then revel in these three stages one could come to an imperative understanding of where Mucci leads us. For forgiveness to be conceptualized the victim has to first retrieve all the events of the past which have caused the victim to resent the offender. Mucci says that it is crucial to not only revive the past but also the emotions that are attached to the past. As also has been well articulated by Freud, “in the absence of emotions, no abreation of the trauma is possible and no overcoming of the trauma is accomplished”.

The second stage has to ideally do with triple acknowledgment that as per Michéle Bertrand is asked for by the victim. Social recognition of the harm that has come upon the victim, recognition on behalf of the offender himself and the acknowledgment of the truth of the victim’s own testimonies or words.  Where social acceptance only re- establishes the disconnections in relationships and total loneliness of the victim. The mourning begins when these new relationships and connections are established, and this stage could be the most devastating place to be in, termed as the depressive phase by Melanie Klein. The victim has to move past the feelings of resentment and of revenge and accept the impossibility of getting even with the offender. It is then when the victim will feel a true sense of forgiveness. All this while bound by the grips of vindictive feelings; the victim is liberated from the grips of the perpetrator along with those feelings. Mucci also characterizes it as a feeling of real gratitude that would set in the victim for being alive or having been saved.

Butler’s arguments point to how resentment can provoke bad consequences, especially anti- social actions such as revenge. Forgiveness, argues Jeffrie, coming easily is stigmatized as being not a virtue but a lack of self-respect in a person. Forgiveness he claims is a privilege for the victim, as it frees the victim from the bounds of feelings of resentment. Resentment does prove to be useful in reinstating the social morality, because if swayed by human weaknesses and vanity, forgiveness might come too easy proving counterproductive to the social fabric. Murphy however says that resentment works not primarily in defence of the moral values or norms, but certain values of the self.

Jeffrie argues on the lines as to whether resentment condescends from how the victim feels about the offender. Forgiveness only comes to what is initially right to be resented to. When a person has not done anything wrong, or is not to blame for the act then there would be nothing to resent. Thus forgiveness is directed towards the wrongdoing. Wherever such resentment is overcome is it to be attributed to the virtue of forgiveness? Where then forgiveness leads to forgetting the act. That is where Jeffrie argues that Forgiveness is to be given to the person and not the act. One need not forget the act to forgive; forgiveness to a remorseful person is not forgetfulness of the hurt, which came with his act. Jeffrie says the act of forgiveness is but a selfish one, to purely regain the peace of which may have been lost after the act was committed upon the victim.

Resentment is the consequence to one’s self respect being maligned in Society. Self- respect is part of a human condition bellowing the human weaknesses and vulnerabilities, thus being treated with contempt but naturally gathers in us the feelings of resentment. Condemning the other person might bring virtual satisfaction that humans revel in through the justice system; it does not bring with it the peace of mind, and confines the victim once again into the shafts of grief and sorrow.

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My Everyday Struggle – They call it Feminist Attack

My Everyday Struggle - They call it Feminist Attack

The Photo is a semblance by Kudrat Dev a fifth year student, studying at Jindal Global Law School.

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Coz, I am a Girl – Vinayak Harshvardhan BA LLB 2013

A girl

You do all the  bad

You do make me sad

The lust in your stare

The nomadic care

Each night I am thrown

I cry all alone

The games you have played

The traps you had laid

Now, tears don’t flood

You fed till my blood

I have no insight

I submit to fight

I gave you my heart

All you gave was hurt

Now I want to quit

Silently sit

For this science to keep

Now I must sleep

And Christ’s shake

I must not wake

You were full of greed

That’s why I’m “Pearl”

Was this in my fate

Just coz I was a “Girl”

Coz I was a “Girl”

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women-fistI am a Woman,

I want to wear a saree, a colorful saree,

Full of all bright colours, making my life bright,

Where I am happy in the world of equals,

I am equal to my brother, my husband.

I want to wear bangles,

That do not set my limits, but motivate me to go farther.

I want to have long hair,

A long education life as my brother has, or may be more than that.

I want to wear lipstick like a modern woman,

Not to be seen with pity, but with proud.

                                                                   I am a woman, and I want to be treated like a human.

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