This is my baby girl Tara when she turned one. Isn't she... precious? Irreplaceable? Full of potential and promise? Of course she is! There is absolutely no doubt in my mind and heart...but not everyone feels this way...There are millions and millions of little Indian girls exactly like her who will never see their first birthday..or who will never be born for that matter.
"How could fifty million plus women just disappear from a country in a period that spans less than a century? That number is about the size of the entire populations of Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Portugal put together. Occasionally one reads in Indian papers about baby body parts being found in a well in the compound of some clinic, or a young woman dying of burns under suspicious circumstances due to a supposed kitchen accident, but there is nothing in the news that suggests a blood-bath on the scale of a genocide. "-Rita Banerji from 50 million missing
(3 Tamil Women,watercolor and collage)This is a subject so close to my heart...I can barely breathe when I start to think about it. I get equal parts...furious and a deep deep sadness; heartbreak. Gender based violence occurs all over the world...I am sure we are all aware of that. But in India (and Indian communities everywhere)...There is a silent genocide/gendercide going on right now. I wrote all about it in this post last year...right here .
There are facts , newspaper articles, statistics...but what do we know of the millions and millions of lives lost...a genocide that leaves no footprint behind because it is so hidden...subversive...Murdering babies because they are girls; female infanticide. There are also sex selective abortions, dowry deaths...on and on. A conservative estimate is ...there are 50 million females missing. Just like that...gone! Why are we so easily discarded? Do we have no value and worth? What is this hatred that murders our daughters and sisters in such large numbers? Who will bear witness to these untold stories, these unborn lives, this unimaginable violence? Who will speak up for these unborn girl babies? Anyone?
It's been 4 years since I did my art exhibition Shakti that focused on this very issue. I have to admit...while I am very aware of the situation...it can feel overwhelming. What can I-one person-do? What can any one person do against a culture, society and country so steeped in centuries old misogyny?
Well, that's where Rita Banerji comes in! When I first found out about her and the brave and tireless work she does...I was in absolute awe. She is brilliant, outspoken...a powerhouse of a woman. And she actually agreed to do an interview with me!! She started the 50 million campaign to raise awareness and stop this genocide that has no end in sight. Please stop by tomorrow when I will post the first segment of this amazing interview. In the meantime...you can go here to sign the petition against this massive genocide against us. Because it is against all of us women. These are our daughters...
Please sign the petition!