Meet To Sleep For Nirbhaya : 16th Dec

On December 16th, 2017, marking 5 years since the murder and gang rape of Jyoti Singh-  22 organisations and collectives across India united in sleep. We slept in open parks across the country, asserting our right to live free from fear, and defenceless.

 Locations: Kohima, Dimapur, Hazaribag, Lucknow, Kolkata, Delhi, Hyderabad, Panjim, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Jaipur, Delhi (Dwarka, Lodhi Garden, Shivalik ), Chandigarh, Kolkata, San Francisco.

Meet To Sleep was a collective effort by individuals, Action Heroes, Allies, Community Leaders.  Thank you Kamla Bhasin, and Sangat for championing and mobilising the call to action. 

Organisations and communities leading Meet To Sleep include Sangat Network,  One Billion Rising South Asia , Azad Foundation , Jagori, North East Network, Start Up, Breakthrough India , Global Concerns India, Chhoti Si Khushi, Hidden Pockets, Malleswaram Social, CAFP India, , Srijan Manushi Sanstha, Vimochana, Red Brigade Lucknow, Srijan Foundation, Sahas Foundation, India Sex Workers Union, Youth Ki Awaaz .

Action Heroes Speak : Why Meet To Sleep?

Special Stories from Allies and Action Heroes

 

Meet To Sleep , Hazaribag

Srijan Foundation

Nirmal Mahato Public Park, Hazaribag . Ten women staff of Srijan participated in the event.  Before heading to the venue the participants, 'Action Heroes',  discussed the situation of women in India particularly in Jharkhand. 

Many people who had come to roam in the park s taunted and commented on us. They labelled us as “Crazy and shameless women”. They even shouted that if we really wanted to take a nap we should head to our house. But the participants without paying the heeds to what the people had to say - took a nap. This imbibed new energy within us demolished our fear and nervousness.
— Babita

आज मीट टू स्लीप इवेंट किये जो मेरे लिए बिलकुल नया व अलग अनुभव रहा है | इस इवेंट का ये जो प्रक्रिया रहा उसका फीलिंग शायद मेरे शब्दों के मोहताज न हो | मसलन इस इवेंट में हिस्सा लेने के लिए काफी उत्साहित थी | पल भर में लोगों को इकठ्ठा किये और चल पड़े, क्या करना था, कौन सी प्रक्रिया अपनानी है कुछ मार्गदर्शन न थी बस करते चले गए |

हमलोगों ने सृजन फाउंडेशन के तरफ से इस इवेंट को 16 दिसंबर 2017 को निर्मल महतो पार्क, हजारीबाग में, दिल्ली में हुई 16 दिसंबर 2012 को निर्भया कांड के याद में किया |

इसके बाद हमलोगों ने रोजमर्रा के जीवन में महिलाओं के साथ हो रहे हिंसा के बारे में चर्चा किया | इसके उपरांत हमने ज्योति सिंह के साथ हुए सामूहिक बलात्कार को लेकर सभी साथियों के साथ बातें की

हमने ज्योति के आत्मा की शांति हेतू 2 मिनट का मौन धारण किया | मौनधारण के बाद सभी का मन भावनाओं से भरते गए और सभी अपने – अपने भावनाओं में लुफ्त होते चले गए,  मैं भी इतना भावुक हो गई कि 16 दिसंबर 2012 को ज्योति के साथ हुई दरिंदगी का दास्ता फिर से याद आ गई |

(यह धटना न जाने कितने लड़कियों की जिंदगी बदल दी थी लोग अपनी बेटियों को घर से बाहर निकालने में थर - थर कांपते थे | भारत में और भी कितने महिला, लडकियाँ और बच्चों को इस तरह की शर्मशार लैंगिक अपराधों से गुजरना पड़ा रहा है)

मौनधारण के पश्चात् सभी लोग अलग – अलग दिशाओं में चली गई, मानों की मन की शांति ढूंढने इधर – उधर भटक रहे हो |

मैं भी अपनी मन में उमड़े भावनाओं को रोक नही पा रही थी, मन में बस एक ही सवाल था ऐसा क्यूँ होता है ??? लड़कियों की जननांग में आखिर ऐसा क्या होता है जो लोग उसे इतनी बेरहमी से खूनखार कर हत्या कर देते है आखिर ऐसा क्यूँ ? पल भर के हवस के कारण आखिर ऐसा क्यूँ ??? लोगों की व्यक्तिगत कब राजनैतिक बन जाता है और राजनैतिक को कब व्यक्तिगत बन जाती है पता ही नही चलता है | परन्तु मन में इतने सवाल उमड़ते गए की मेरा सवाल महज एक सवाल बन कर रह गया | लेकिन जवाब किसी के पास ना थी |

कुछ छन बाद मैं इतनी गहरी नींद में सो गई मानों ऐसा लग रहा था कि कई वर्षों से आँखे सोई ना हो |

 

Meet To Sleep,  Kohima and Dimapur

North East Network 

Healing the space by Re-Collecting and Re-Membering the vulnerables who were raped, murdered, shot to death, and molested in public places. 
— North East Network

Meet to Sleep is a very simple yet powerful activity. Here at Nagaland, we had conducted the MTS in two locations- Kohima and Dimapur. At first I was not sure as whether this will work- anyhow I decided to give it a try with my own friends group and colleagues. It was in a very short notice that I shared this with my friends- but I am happy that especially my friend and colleagues at Dimapur organised her own team. We had media coverage as well and I am sharing the links here- Mourung Express and Nagaland Post

At Kohima, four of us , Hraveine, Dolly, Alole and Lala did the Meet To Sleep at a public space- World War II Cemetary. For me and similarly shared by all my other friends as well- it was a very personal movement for us. Personal in the sense that it was an experience of claiming the space for one self- I had to dare and challenge myself to consciously do this against all the other mixed feelings of what will people think, what difference will this make, what if I get chased from the park, and many other too much thinking. We reached the spot by 12:30 and slept for an hour- we couldn't stay on longer because of other prior engagements, festivity is at its peak around this time of the year :). The park being a heritage site had diverse visitors on this day- their were both locals and tourists strolling. I could see people glancing from the upper side of the park, and few walked passed us- no one bothered to ask us any question. We relaxed ourselves on the cozy grass with warm winter sunshine, we talked about our lives and how relaxing it feels to be actually doing this. 

At Dimapur, 8 of them gathered, consisting of 3 male championing peace and solidarity- Renemsongla, Panger, Along, Naro, .

"A handful of us gathered in a public space in Dimapur to celebrate "Meet to Sleep" campaign/event that is being celebrated all over the world in 16th December. This activity is done to convey the message that public spaces such as buses, schools, parks, playgrounds and garden cannot be used to promote violence and rape. In Dimapur. We met, shared spaces, discussed, and enjoyed the open public space. Healing the space by Re-Collecting and Re-Membering the vulnerables who were raped, murdered, shoot to death, and molested in public places. 

With Action Heroes/ North East Network members including :Along Longkumer, Pangernungba Kechu, Akumdong kechu,Takonaro, Kiremtula, Purati, Imsenwatila and Renemsongla Ozukum.

The #MeetToSleep Call For Action Was Led By The Following Champions!

 

Meet To Sleep , Delhi

 

Azad Foundation

Azad Foundation team of 65 persons, 'Action Heroes', led Meet To Sleep in four parks.
A Block, Kalkaji, Double Storey, South Delhi , Nehru Apartment Park, A Block, Kalkaji, South Delhi, Kalyanpuri Ambedkar Park, East Delhi, Baseshar Nath Gotewale Smriti Udyan, Model Town, North Delhi, D Block, Jahangirpuri Park, North Delhi

 

Sahas and Choti Si KHUSHi Foundation

Built by : Divpreet, Namitha Choudary, Nagma, Suneetha Elluri, Malavati, Samina, Jahanara, Nanni Devi, Rekha Devi, Ran Kishori, Anita, Rihanna, Anita Devi, Sayida, Sarla Devi, Sunita Devi, Ramneet, Sunita, Leela Bora, Gurminder, Leena and Ritu

Location: Balaji Park, Dwarka 

Purvi Yadav, Co-Founder at Sahas Foundation had participated in the event has written a blog on her experience of participating in this event. Read here.

 

Breakthrough

Breakthrough led Meet To Sleep, in Lodhi Gardens, Delhi. Breakthrough mobilized 6 Action Heroes including Anika Verma, Barsha Chakraborty and Richa Singh.

 

Jagori And Sangat

Locations : Shivalik Park, Bawana, Sarita Vihar and Kalkaji. 

 

Srijantak Manushi Sanstha

Location: Park next to Andrew Scott School (primary) in East Delhi

Number of Action Heroes mobilised : 40 (estimated)

 

Centre for Health and Social Justice

Location : Saket E Block Park

Action Heroes mobilised: 8

"CHSJ as an organization especially focuses on gender justice. We consider the issue of gender justice as a human issue. We aim to restructure the gender relations and establish alternative equitable practices, facilitate public actions and positions against injustice and build social accountability which can be done through critical knowledge resources and reflective spaces. The #MeetToSleep campaign was a platform for us to sensitize the society towards accessibility to equal and safe spaces. An interdependent society can function healthily if every gender is given equal right and justice."

"When I heard about #MeetToSleep campaign I was really excited and motivated because I was supported by many like minded colleagues who had a good perspective on the issue of gender justice and we all came forward including the male counterpart to openly claim for a safe public space.Often as a girl the society has placed restriction on us and we always live in a fear that if we challenge the societal structure we will be punished shamed and blamed for anything that will happen next . With #MeetToSleep I campaign felt the strength in me and the confidence in me to voice my opinion in front of other .I also understood that gender justice has lots of different perspectives which needs to be talked about."
- Zohra Zaman
 

Meet To Sleep, Lucknow

Red Brigade Foundation

Red Brigade Lucknow Team led Meet To Sleep, in Ram Manohar Lohia, Park, Gomti Nagar in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh . 7 members of Red Brigade Foundation include: Pooja, Kavita, Nidhi, Mausam, Sneha, Laxmi Vishwakarma and Usha Vishwakarma

 

Meet To Sleep, Bangalore

 My name is Pahi Gangwar and I was participating in the MTS event from Bangalore.   I did this by myself in a small BBMP-maintained park near my house in Hebbal.    I chose not to go to Cubbon Park because I felt that if I were to do this, I'd do it how it would be done in a Utopic, ideal world. I was in the park from 1:15 till 3:30 PM. My heart was pounding as I entered, picked a spot and eased myself into lying down. Since I was absolutely alone, I took a book and two bananas as my decoy; put a leaf between the pages and held the book real close to my body and shut my eyes. Every rustle felt like someone had walked up to me, the wind felt like it was blowing away my sheet and shirt and my skin was showing, all the sounds around me were amplified by double.  But my body just wouldn't let me fall into sleep. So I did the best I could and shut my eyes for really long so that everyone who saw me, thought I was asleep. When I 'woke up', a few men and women were looking at me off and on but it didn't look like they cared more. Two boys were sitting close-by on the grass but I didn't seem to be bothering them either so I clicked a few pictures and came home.   In retrospect, I'd like to do this again but with one(any) other person; just to experience it differently.  Thank you for taking the initiative! I was particularly moved by the line 'Sleep is surrender in trust'.  

My name is Pahi Gangwar and I was participating in the MTS event from Bangalore.  I did this by myself in a small BBMP-maintained park near my house in Hebbal. 

I chose not to go to Cubbon Park because I felt that if I were to do this, I'd do it how it would be done in a Utopic, ideal world. I was in the park from 1:15 till 3:30 PM. My heart was pounding as I entered, picked a spot and eased myself into lying down. Since I was absolutely alone, I took a book and two bananas as my decoy; put a leaf between the pages and held the book real close to my body and shut my eyes. Every rustle felt like someone had walked up to me, the wind felt like it was blowing away my sheet and shirt and my skin was showing, all the sounds around me were amplified by double.  But my body just wouldn't let me fall into sleep. So I did the best I could and shut my eyes for really long so that everyone who saw me, thought I was asleep. When I 'woke up', a few men and women were looking at me off and on but it didn't look like they cared more. Two boys were sitting close-by on the grass but I didn't seem to be bothering them either so I clicked a few pictures and came home. 

In retrospect, I'd like to do this again but with one(any) other person; just to experience it differently. 
Thank you for taking the initiative! I was particularly moved by the line 'Sleep is surrender in trust'.
 

Bangalore Action Heroes Speak : On Trust, Fear And Public SpaceS

 

MEET TO SLEEP, KOLKATA

Meet to Sleep was built my Nita Patheja and Atreyee Day at Victoria Memorial Park in Kolkata. Nita Patheja shares her experience.

I was little hesitant in the beginning. I decided to participate in the event along with another Action Hero. We went to Victoria memorial in the late afternoon at Kolkata. We found a place under the old beautiful tree, spread our mat and pillow. I was feeling awkward in the beginning to lie down in the open public space amidst the strangers. But after sometime, I was feeling very relaxed, laying there. I felt the sense of belonging in the space under the tree looking up to the blue sky. I also felt part of the environment around, the ground, the grass, the tree, the people, It has been a very liberating experience for me. The awkwardness within me was gone.
- Nita Patheja

 

Meet to Sleep, Hyderabad

Meet To Sleep was built by Action Heroes Sneha and Hima in Indira Park, Hyderabad. 

 

Meet to Sleep, Chennai

"I was really keen on doing #MTS as I've always seen myself being comfortable claiming public spaces, but this would be the true test. It would require putting an unprecedented level of trust in my environment and the people around me. I already knew it was a good idea to sign up once I met the amazing ladies who showed up at the Semmozhi Park in Chennai on Dec 16! Thanks to the great weather this month, the park was fairly full - a regular haunt for couples and for baby photoshoots it appeared. The weather also meant our nap got off to a glorious start, a lovely breeze, wispy clouds passing overhead, and a large canopy of trees. I didn't foresee it happening, but my mind was mostly on my phone and my wallet as I closed my eyes. It took some explaining to a guard and the park's manager for us to be allowed to sleep (the park actually has a 'no lying down' rule), so after all the excitement, it took me a while to nod off. But nod off I did, for about 20 minutes, and woke up thrilled. I'd wound up in my comfy sleeping position! I had actually managed to fall asleep! It happened! We were all up by 3, ate almonds and sandwiches, and sat around just talking for an hour - about the experience, so new to us all, our surprise at how few people seemed at all bothered by us sleeping there, our thoughts on navigating cities as women, our lives, our work. Would I do it again? Absolutely!"
"Here's a bit of troubleshooting we had to do at the Chennai #MTS! It was slated to happen at a park, which on December 16, had its gates locked at noon, but a decent bit of activity inside. We pointed to the people inside and asked the guards to let us in, but while he gave us his blessing to jump over the walls to get in, he wouldn't unlock the gates. We quickly found an alternative spot 2 km away - the state-run Semmozhi park, which was vast and bustling with couples seeking privacy and families with their candid photographers. We found a nice spot, lay out our mats and tried to go to sleep, only to be quickly disturbed by a guard whistling loudly at us. "No sleeping!", he said. I tried explaining, we weren't disturbing anybody, we were just enjoying a nice afternoon nap, public spaces are for all of us. He wouldn't budge and started yelling at us. It was a rule, he claimed, nobody was allowed to lie down at this park. Surely this wasn't true, I thought, and asked to speak to the horticultural manager at the park. Apparently the rule actually did exist. It was a euphemism for no sex, and phrasing the rule as 'no lying down' was an easier way of enforcing this. Ultimately, I had to end up telling the manager about Meet to Sleep, and assured him we would stop breaking the rules by 3 PM."
- Action Hero Atulaa Krishnamurthy