Among the many truths that constitute modern societies, peace is central to envisioning a harmonious world. Before attempting to strengthen peace and build a case for conflict resolution, it becomes imperative to work on humanizing the socialization process of our younger generations. The manifestation of violence have permeated to generations through the unconscious everyday narratives of aggressions and lived experiences of violence and subjugation of the non-heteronormative genders.
As a part of Martha Farrell Foundation’s ongoing work with communities to actively engage in securing safer spaces for women and children in India, Kadam Badhate Chalo (KBC) is a unique campaign that promotes participation of men and boys to ensure equal participation of women in all spheres of their lives. The idea is to build inclusive spaces that recognizes and encourages everyone to actively engage with each other and inculcate mutual respect for all. In one of the events organized by Sahbhagi Sikshan Kendra, our partner for KBC, a workshop named ‘Gender Through Sports’ was organized on the 15th and 16th of September, 2017 at Japla in Jharkhand. The workshop was co-organised by Pro Sport Development who conducted various learning based fun activities with the children from the village to strengthen and influence their idea and knowledge about gender issues.
Following the screening of the famous street play ‘Dastak (1970)’ that raises alarm on issues of sexual violence faced by women; the participants took part in an art activity that required them to draw their aspirations. While looking at all the drawings, we came across a drawing made by Nitish Mehta, a 15 year old boy from the same village. Nitish envisions his aspirations by getting rid of terrorism from India. He drew a map of India, below it an army men firing bullets on terrorists from Kashmir. The popular representation of Kashmir (as provided by media) is on terrorism. Kashmir surely would have enormous other issues but it is often represented as a terrorist region. This representation has deeply impacted the minds of children living far away from the place. Nitish’s sketch has a lot to say about how perceptions are shaped in times of conflict and violence. It might indeed help us to revisit the evolution of thought and simultaneous development of conflict resolution strategies.
As we celebrate International Day of Peace, we also need to invest energy into understanding how our socio-political realities are normalizing violence and impacting the thought process of our younger generations. Only then can we move towards creating equitable, dignified and peaceful spaces.
Let us thrive to rebuild a just and peaceful society and transfer this ownership to the minds like that of Nitish.