Annual Report 2007-2008
Every year since its inception, the Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation invites an eminent person to deliver a lecture on the theme of human rights and gender justice.
For 2007, the thirteen annual memorial lecture was delivered by Smt. Aruna Roy, the noted social activist and recipient of the coveted Ramon Megsaysay award for community leadership and international understanding. She spoke on 'Democracy: Women's Struggle Against Poverty' at the India Habital Center.
Praying rich tribute to Justice Sunanda Bhandare, who was deeply committed to human dignity and Justice, especially gender justice, Smt. Roy dwelt on the significant contribution made by rural women to our democracy. Drawing on her rich experience of spending more than thirty years in the villages of Rajasthan, Smt. Roy observed that urban India often fails to connect with the problems and issues confronting the rural poor.
She spoke at length about 'fantastic women' who live with dignity and shape our future. They have the strength and resilence to fight battles ranging from right to information to right to work.
Smt. Roy laid emphasis on the wisdom of rural women whose logic is simply infallible. Educated people should 'learn' from then instead of trying to educate them. She said that it is easy to advise a villager to set up a household toilet.but for using a toilet, one needs water, for which one may have to cover a long distance under difficult circumstances. When educated urban people plan for rural women, they plan toilets. But when a women plans for herself, she plans for collecting water.
People in the urban centers often have a flawed understanding of rural sensibilities which results in faulty planning. Someone in his wisdom decided to build houses under Indira Awas yojana at places away from the village. It was found that houses got built, but nobody lived there. Thus there is a huge gap between development processes and people deriving there is a huge gap between development process and people deriving benefits from them.
Mere words of advice often sound hollow. Once a few Professions from Jaipur came to Til0nia to tell women to stop the practice of dowry and child marriage. Awomen named Mangi, who listened to them patiently, said, "Is there anyone of you who has not either given or accepted dowry? You must practice something before you preach it."
Smt. Ray said that the poor women have a sense of sharing, which is very fundamnental to democracy. They try to offer whatever little food they have in their house when a guest comes in. On the other hand, people living in cities simply do not want to see such poor people. They think that the very existence of poverty, poor women in the street, is a violation of peace.
She said that the credit for enacting an important piece of legislation called the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act goes to rural women. They have sense pleaded with Shri Hanumantha Rao, Member, planning Commision to provide them employment and do not doles. They also have the courage to claim minimum wage and assert their will to check records. It is poor people, especially poor women, who have to Information Act which makes all officers and all those who are in public life accountable to people.
She said that it is important to empower women to voice her feelings. Women must get the right to express herself and she must be heard by the society. Thirty years ago, it was difficult to find women willing to address the public. Now, of course, the sitiation has changed. It is hearening to note that three are long queues of women who want to speak on the occasion of Women's Day. They speak about all aspects of life and society, and they speak extremely well, she said.
Shri Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Hon'ble Vice President of India, who was the Chief Guest on the occasion, said that most affected and the most concerned people are the ones who perceive the practical realities of rights and empowerment. Justice Leila Seth paid tribute to late Justice Ashok Bhan presided over the meeting.
This year, The Foundation had the privilege of organizing "DO KADAM-Towards a Gender Friendly Police", a series of programmes on Crime Women Cell and capacity building of police personnel, jointly with Crime women Cell and South District Police. 13 programmes were organized, starting with a TOT programme in the Office of joint Commissioner of Police, CWC Nanakpura on 23rd February, 2008, followed by a Programme in DCP's office, CAW Cell, Sriniwapuri and 10 programmes at the following Police Stations of South District: (1) Lajpat Nagar (2) Lodhi Colony (3) Greater Kalash (4) Kotla Mubarkpur (5) New Friends Colony (6)Sarita vihar (7) Hazrat Nizamuddin (8) Jamia Nagar (9) Amar Colony (10) Defence Colony. The TOT was attended by DCPs, ACPs of all the zone and the resource persons of all the NGOs. The Programmes continued for almost four months from 23rd February 2008 to 7th June 2008. Besides Resource persons, the participants included Assistant Commissioners of Police, S.H.Os. Inspectors, Sub Inspectors, Assistant Sub Inspectors, Head Constables and Constable?both women and men. There were about 40 participants in every programme.
Each progrmame was monitored by the joint Commissioner of Police, CWC, Nanakpura, as Reports of all the programmes were sent to Jt. C.P., CWC, DCP, CWC Nanakpura and ACP CAW Cell, South District, Sriniwaspuri. The main objective of the programme was reorientation of attitude and proper sensitization of the police personnel, sitting at various police stations, for the behavioral attitude towards the victim; the victim may be handicapped, aged, infirm, ladies or anybody. The participants were advised to respect a lady as a mother, as a daughter, as a wife, as a sister and as a friend. The police force was remined of the stupendous task that lay ahead before them for changing the mindset of "FIRST TIMERS 92% PERSONS "indulging in crime. The response the participants gave in their working sheets showed an insight into the subject and they deserve every praise for that.
Our Resource Persons included Prof. Poonam Saxena, Professor of Law, Delhi University; Shri A. Qamaruddin, Ms. Charu Walikhana, Ms. Ritu Bhardwaj, Dr. K.S. Bhati, Shri Rajeev Sharma, Shri Ravinder Pal Singh, MS. Asha Tiwari, Advocates; Ms. Seema Malhotra, Dr. Anita Chai, Social Activists and Shri. H.N. Gandhi, Administrative Officer, JSBF.
The programmes were followed by follow up action at all the police stations to get an idea of the retention of the lessons they learnt during the programme.
This year, the Foundation collaborated with Delhi Legal Services Authority, Guild of Service, Sur Nirman and many other like minded organizations, in addition to crime Against Women Cell and District Police in organizing various programmes.
The Foundation participated in the Seminar of Delhi Legal Services Authority on "Domestic Violence and Female Foeticide at Vigyan Bhawan.on 15th and 16th December, 2007."Empower yourself" was the motto of this programme.the participants highlighted that a womenEnjoys a unique position globally, playing diverse role of mother, daughter, sister and a wife. She contributes to life of every human being yet belongs to a disadvantageous class.
Female foeticide is the elimination of the female foetus even it is born by sex determination at the foetal stage. The chief reasons for it being the pride of caste, poverty, contempt of female sex, geographical isolation, and The most alarming factor is that female foeticide is induced by prosperity and not by poverty.
The Foundation in association with Sur Nirman, Organized a Legal Awareness Programme in the slums at Wazipur Industrial area on 12th January, 2008. Our legal experts enlightened the participants, consisting of students, populace of the area and the supervisors who had accompanied the students from 8 different schools and colleges for participation it the programme. The main theme of the programme was- "Citizens, Empower Yourself"- "Be Alert". The participants were advised how to defend themselves in a threatening situation.
Our legal luninaries explained to the participants the tips for their safety: "Be Alert", "Defend yourself" and "Seek Help and have Legal and Medical Awareness". They were specifically advised to be aware of their surroundings while crossing dark or lonely stretches, not to be afraid to raise alarm on suspicion, to move in a group, keep helpline numbers vehicle, which they feel is unnecessarily following them. Pen, pencil and bag full of books are the best tools for them.
"Interactive Session of Muslim Women with Legal Experts" in association with Sur Nirman was organized on 23 February, 2008 at Basti Kwaja Murdid, Minto Road, near Zakir Hussain College, Delhi. Our resource persons Shri K.S. Bhati, Ms. Ritu Bhardwaj Advocates, Supreme Court and Ms. Sajida Khan of Sur Nirman gave their rich words of wisdom to the participants on the provlalent Muslim laws which are in vogue for the empowerment and protection of rights of Muslim women.
Legal Awareness Camp in association with the Guild of Service was organized at Najafgarh on 15th May, 2008. "Domestic Violence "and "Sexual Harassment at Workplace" were the two main topics of discussion. Ms. Diana Khambata of the Guide of Service coordinated the Camp.
Domestic violence is the most frequent and relavant issue catching the eye of every individual in society. It is increasing at a rapid speed. To combat this it is essential to sensitize and inform individuals in handing the issue. The programme was organized to make the participants realize that the issue of domestic violence is a violation of individual's human rights. This violence against women can be traced from the time of birth (foetus) to adulthood.there are certain myths prevailing in patriarchal society, which have to be changed in the changing society.
Crimes against Women within the family have shown an upward trend. Beating, child sexual abuse, domestic violence, female foeticide, dowry deaths, bride burning and sexual harassment at work place are issue of concern faced by and Indian women today.