Featuring: #ActionHero Shivangini Tandon #ActionHero Viveka Chauhan #ActionHero Bedatri Dutta #ActionHero Renuka No.of Location: 4 ( one with each Action Hero) City: Delhi Time: 5-7pm Date: April 11 Plot: As part of International Anti Street Harassment Week, Breakthrough and were in the midst of an all day twitter event examining the myth of security via gender and class based segregation. We're for inclusion. Each Action Hero selected a bus or metro route and chose to sit in the general compartment not the ladies only section. They tweeted their experience live. #SegregationNoSolution #SafeCityPledge #RingTheBell #endSH
* Shivangini Tandon: @shivtan Metro. Green Park- Nizammuddin The Delhi Metro is a relatively new public transport system in New Delhi. My experience during the tweetathon was positive. While many men did stare I did not feel threatened at any point. When I interviewed a woman who travels in the metro often she told me she chooses to use the women's compartment out of convenience because it allows for place to stand or sit, not because it makes her feel safer. At some point, during rush hour, a man even apologised to me for not being able to give me enough space to stand. I also believe that it is helping create a new social etiquette for behaviour in public spaces. New spaces change behaviour. The sanitary, orderly environment that the metro creates is unique to the normal chaos that a large Indian city typically offers. It did feel like a war zone and we were deliberately putting ourselves in the line of fire to test our defense " The as I decided to wade through the men to get to the gate a man apologised for being too close #wow #EndSH
* Action Hero Bedatri Dutta: @bedatri Bus Number It is of course easier to compartmentalize our daily lives into gendered sections- this is for women, that is for men. Be it in domestic spaces or even public spaces. The public transport system, for example, is modeled on this kind of segregation and one often considers this to be the best way of avoiding a conflict between the two sexes. Yes, that does make life simpler sometimes- i stick to my pink compartment, you stick to the rest of the train,and life goes on. But what does it really say of ourselves as a society if we cant even co-exist within the same space without a conflict? Why do we necessarily need to alienate and why cant we make an effort to co-exist through mutual respect? Why should i stick to one compartment or sit myself in one of the eight seats in a bus that seats thirty people? It was with these questions in my head that I decided to sit in the "general" seating area in a DTC bus. What was most amusing was the appropriation of a "general" space into being a "male" space. The general seats are considered to be "aadmiyon ka seat" and the decision of a woman to not stick to her "allotted space" is essentially seen to be an aberration. It didn't get violent or abusive but the disdain and disapproval was made amply evident by my co-passengers.It isnt a comfortable position to be in when one pushes the envelope and steps out of one's allotted space but how long can one really lay out one's life in terms of eight seats, one compartment and a strip of platform marked out in pink? @bedatri live Tweets here
*Action Hero Viveka Chauhan
The ride on the Delhi Metro general compartment brought me back to how occupying space as a woman in Delhi is an effort. One has to push ones boundaries in a space where pushing boundaries is not a norm.
That day on the metro I was made painfully aware of my presence there not as a human being, but as a woman. I noticed that every woman walking into the metro would shrink into a shell and just wait to reach there destination while every male eye bore into her skin from every direction-challenging, curious, lusty at times. But at the end of that ride I could say that I had lost my inhibitions and that I would not think twice the next time I travel by metro to use the general compartment