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International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal We are the Women of Bhopal, We are Flames, Not Flowers… August 2, 2005: Emerson College Association For Indias.

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Presentation on theme: "International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal We are the Women of Bhopal, We are Flames, Not Flowers… August 2, 2005: Emerson College Association For Indias."— Presentation transcript:

1 International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal We are the Women of Bhopal, We are Flames, Not Flowers… August 2, 2005: Emerson College Association For Indias Development, Boston Chapter Rashida Bee - Bhopal Campaign Hum Bhopal ki nari hai, phool nahi, chingari hai…

2 International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal Bhopal – Historical Perspective Historic city – 11 th century city of Bhojapal –Dosh Mohammed Khan (Emperor Aurangzebs Afghan Soldier) & Rani Kamlapati (Queen of Gonds) City of Lakes City of Mosques City of Mushariras and Kawalis The Baghdad of India – cross-culture of India and Afghanisthan. City of Begums

3 International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal Taj Ul Masjid – Largest Mosque in India Walled City of Old Bhopal Sarangi Players City of Lakes

4 International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal Strong Female Leadership in Bhopal (Historic Perspective)

5 International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal Bhopal – Rule of the Begums The 19th century also belonged to the women, who ruled over Bhopal for almost 100 years. Aggressive, bold and fiercely independent, the Begums of Bhopal, who were Muslim women of high rank, have influenced the Bhopali women, who are a force to reckon with even today.

6 International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal The Begums of Bhopal Bhopal became a major princely state in British India and, early in its turbulent history, the role of its women rulers was vital. Mamola Bai ( ), a Hindu Rajput, married the Muslim Dost's son, Yar Mohammad Khan. Though never recognized as a Begum, for 50 years she ruled from 'behind the curtain' (purdah) on behalf of Yar's ineffective sons.

7 International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal The Begums of Bhopal The accepted rule of the Begums dates from the accession of the formidable Qudsia ( ), who seized control on behalf of her 15- month-old daughter Sikandar, warding off competing male claims. She ruled effectively while preparing Sikandar for power and so laid the foundations for Bhopal's golden age.

8 International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal The Begums of Bhopal Sikandar ( ) was fearsome in her Amazonian physical power and a typical 19th century modernist and reformer. She presided over administrative, social and educational reform and made Bhopal a haven for scholarship and culture and a centre for building, arts and crafts. Ref:

9 International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal The Begums of Bhopal Shahjehan ( ) proved a marked contrast to her powerful mother but, although her long reign saw constant opposition from both the British and her Indian subjects to the influence of her unpopular husband. She still left a considerable mark in architecture, music, poetry and the arts.

10 International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal The Begums of Bhopal The last Begum, Sultan Jahan ( ) stamped her rule with her own powerful image, despite personal tragedy and long legal wrangling over the succession of her son, Hamidullah, whose reign marked the end of Bhopal's rule by the famous Begums. Sultan Jahan combined Muslim piety with ardent reform and became an international figure as first president of the All India Conference on Education and first chancellor of the Muslim University of Aligarh. She was a tireless worker for women's emancipation and education, publicly abandoning purdah two years before her death. Ref:

11 International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal "Women are the worst affected from any kind of violence - be it domestic, development-related or that caused by corporate polluters like Union Carbide. It is up to us, the women, to join hands across the world and keep the fight for justice and against violence alive and unwavering." ~Rashida Bee, Bhopal Gas Affected Women's Stationery Union, and winner of the Goldman Environment Prize 2004 Women Become Leader by becoming the voices from the community…

12 International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal Rashida Bee & Champadevi Shukla Bhopal Grassroots activists Roots in Labor activism Jhadoo Maro Dow Ko Fighting DOW in court Inspirational leaders for ICJB

13 International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal Roots in Labor Activism Met GOI training for stationary mfg Formation of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh (BGPMSKS -- Bhopal Gas-Affected Women Stationery Workers Union) –What is a Chief Minister? –Giving voice to struggle by formation of womens union –Demand: Factories Act & Minimum wage Champadevi Shukla and Rashida Bee at a stationery production centre for survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster. Through the union they established, the workers have secured a living wage. Ref:h ttp://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2113/stories/ htm

14 International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal Jhadoo Maro DOW Ko Campaign What were the demands of the campaign? 1.Submit to the ongoing criminal proceedings in India as the new owner of Union Carbide, an accused in the Bhopal Chief Judicial Magistrates Court; 2.Clean up contaminated areas within and outside factory, and the poisoned groundwater; 3.Release medical information about toxicity of MIC and poison gases, and arrange for long-term medical treatment and rehabilitation of survivors and their children; 4.Arrange for long-term economic rehabilitation of survivors whose quality of life and livelihoods have suffered as a consequence of the disaster. Why is the campaign against Dow led by women? Women have borne the greater burden, says Rashida bai. The men have to earn, so every day they go out to look for work. Mostly they are construction workers. The women have to face many challenges every day at home: feeding their children, caring for the sick. If a woman is infertile, her husband or her parents create difficulties. Sometimes the women get so angry that it stirs them to take action. Traditionally, in India, the rolling pin and broom are the two weapons of a housewife; men dont touch them. Being struck by a jhadoo is the ultimate insult, and we feel that Dow deserves this treatment. By delivering jhadoos to Dow, were telling the company to clean up its mess in Bhopal or be prepared to be swept away, says feisty Champa Devi Shukla Hit DOW with a broom campaign

15 International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal Taking it to the next level… Champadevi Shukla (left) and Rashida Bee, winners of the 2004 Goldman Environmental Prize, holding the Ouroboros statuette, which comes with the prize. The oboros is a representation of a serpent with its tail in its mouth, a symbol of nature's powers of renewal. DOW Shareholder meeting in Michigan – May shareholder resolution (6% - 40 million shares) for DOW to accept responsibility for Bhopal. It doesn't feel like we have been fighting for 20 years. I feel like the struggle has just begun. ~ Rashida Bee in Frontline Interview

16 International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal Rachna Dhingra – AID Jeevansaathi AID Ann Arbor (1999) Move to Bhopal (ICJB) in 2003 Key organizer and inspiration to all. "I truly believe in the power of ordinary people because they simply are capable of doing extraordinary things. I see it Bhopal everyday and that is what keeps me going and inspired. ~ Rachna Dhingra

17 International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal Rachna Dhingra – AID Jeevansaathi Organization of women to get clean water for 20,000 people in impacted areas; Close ties to the community Action for the International Campaign For Justice For Bhopal

18 International Campaign For Justice In Bhopal International Campaign For Justice in Bhopal Demands 1.The Precautionary Principle 2.The 'Polluter Pays Principle' - the idea that those responsible for polluting the environment and endangering our health should also be held responsible for cleaning up that pollution and preserving our health. 3.The 'Right to Know' - people should have easy access to information about potential or current threats to the quality of the environment and their lives. 4.International Liability - CEOs and Corporations should not be allowed to abscond from legal proceedings levied against them in other nations. 5.Environmental Justice - poor, indigenous and people of colour communities should not be targeted with polluting facilities, dangerous technologies and other threats to their health and community. More info:


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