Baale is a National Campaign for Gender Equality
(ACTIONAID, SWARAJ, RADIO ACTIVE and OTHER PROGRESSIVE ORGANIZATIONS)
Ours is a culture ridden with revolutionary matriarchs. The voracious thirst for power or the grabbing, acquisitive and destructive characteristics are not inherent to matrilineal societies. We have respected and bestowed equal positions to nature and to the relationship between the men and women. As if like an iterating fruition of such a progressive practice, the Indian history has been imbued by iconic women thinkers and reformers like Akkamahadevi of the Chalukya and Kadamba lineage, Vijayambika, Loka Mahadevi, Trilokya Mahadevi, Kaarnada Rani, Dhaana Chinthamani Athimabhe, Vijaya Bhataridevi of the Pulakeshi period, Mailadevi, Shettikave of the Hoysalas, the dancer queen Shanthala, Onake Obavva who protected the sovereignty of Chitradurga, Keladiya Chenamma, the political thinker of immense repute, Mallamma of Belawadi, The anti-imperial protagonist Kittur Chenamma, Queen Abakka who was a doyenne in Art and Literature, and the women revolutionaries like Aaydakki Lakkamma, Suule Sankamma, and Gangambike are proof of the rich contribution by women to social and political thought in Karnataka. More recently, contributions to building a just society by Dodda Mahadevi, Savitri Phule, Ramabai, Nagamaal, Saalu marada Thimakka, Prathiba Nemichandra, Sara Abubaker and others are espousing.
Equality is the fundamental value on which our constitution has been founded. All discriminations based on gender, caste or class are unconstitutional. But in reality we have a regressive cultural practice of systemically enslaving women by making them dependent on their fathers while young, husbands in marriage and children when in old age. This overbearing philosophy of women’s’ enslavement and relegating them to a status of half-citizens is still in practice in most communities. For instance, the aborting of unborn female foetus, killing of female infants, discrimination and deliberate starving, denying educational opportunities, forced child marriage, dowry harassment and dowry deaths, domestic violence and many such inhuman practices are common throughout the length and breadth of this country. The rapidly declining sex ratio since 1961 that indicates the number of women for every thousand men is a shocking reflection of a systematic killing of girls in India. In 1961, for every 1000 male children there were 976 girls, in 1981 it reduced to 962, 945 in 1991, 927 in 2001 and according to the most recent national level census in 2011 there are only 914 girls for every 1000 boys in the country. The equal contribution of women and men in the creation, sustenance and progression of humankind cannot be over stressed. It is dangerously unfortunate that our deeply ingrained practice of discrimination is ignoring the primacy of women in the very survival of humanity.
At this crucial juncture of our history, the culture that promotes and justifies the killing of girls and women needs to be introspected and a choice be made whether “we will choose to destroy humanity by annihilating women or be the ambassadors for the enrichment of living diversity of humankind through the practice of equality and respect for women”. From this moment on, let us fight against all thoughts and practices that work against the rights of girls and women. Baale (the girl child in Kannada) is a National campaign with a specific goal of halting female feticide and to contribute to reversing the declining girl child ratio in India.
With the objective of celebrating the birth of the girl child, a carnival is being organized across the country between 20th to 31st of October 2013. ActionAid, SWARAJ, Radio Active CR 90.4 MHz, members of many student communities and other progressive groups have organised a series of events for the carnival including a procession, a bike rally, a candle light march among other activities.
Campaign targets for 2013 and 2014
- Weed out gendered vocabulary from school text books and integrate gender justice in relevant subjects of school curriculum in the state.
- Effective enforcement of PCPNDT Act:
- Effectively functioning District Appropriate Authority under PCPNDT Act.
- Made DAA accountable t
- o the creation of an environment in the districts that is unfavourable to sex determination and female feticide.
- Increased participation of local communities against sex determination and female feticide.
Program Schedule for October 31, 2013