From Pompilai Orumai to Five Nuns: RESIST Celebrates Women’s Movement in Kerala | Asha Jomis | Public policy | Governance innovation laboratories | Jazila Lulu | Art for Democracy

Governance Innovation Labs, a pioneer in ensuring good governance through civic engagement, recently announced its “Art for Democracy” scholarship for emerging and early career artists. The first project in the “RESIST” series is an artistic interpretation of five recent movements led by women in Kerala and is visualized by their Art Fellow, Jazila Lulu.

Jazila Lulu, Digital Artist

Jazila is a digital artist from Kerala who explores feminist expression and migration politics by weaving them into narrative narratives. Jazila’s experience of growing up in a Muslim family in the Malappuram neighborhood often colors her art in expression and style. She started her career as a journalist and is currently a freelance artist.

“This work is a celebration of different movements that have been led by women in Kerala for their rights. It is an attempt to mark women who have tried to make a change in their own as well as in the lives of their fellow human beings. All the movements chosen for this series are very relevant in our socio-political sphere and have had their own meaning in their respective fields by causing a change ”, explains Jazila Lulu.

‘RESIST’ aims to bring together various women’s movements with a common goal and to be a larger force that will inspire many more new resistance movements.

Asha
Asha Jomis, Public Policy Manager at Governance Innovation Labs

“This must be the first time that a policy think tank has awarded art scholarships. RESIST will inspire more policy think tanks to do the same. Art and satire generate great engagement and greatly influence public policy In addition to researching and reporting on political issues, we have explored art as a means of attracting wider audience participation on gender issues in Kerala. There has to be an inclusion factor to really attract people, which is exactly what we are aiming for with this, ”says Asha Jomis, public policy manager at Governance Innovation Labs.

Kerala’s own jasmine revolution, Pompilai Orumai (Women’s Unity)

The revolutionary resistance movement led by Gomathi Augustine brought together thousands of plantation workers to stand up and fight for their rights. On September 5, 2015, Pompilai Orumai, entirely organized by women with no union support, marched in small groups to the Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Limited (KDHP) headquarters in Munnar to demand fair wages. This iconic protest inspired similar movements across the state against the inhumane conditions of workers on tea plantations.

Pompilai Orumai
Pompilai Orumai

Haritha

When the leadership of the Indian Union of the Muslim League (IUML) failed to take action against the allegations of sexual harassment by peers, the women’s wing of the Federation of Muslim Students, Haritha, filed a complaint with of the State Women’s Commission for defending the dignity of women in politics. Haritha’s fight and betrayal by that parent political party, especially by the women who replaced the original committee, has laid bare the symbolic representation of women in politics. The leadership presented by the original Haritha members is a true inspiration for future women politicians to hold their positions and challenge the patriarchal mindset of society to nurture strong female leaders.

Haritha
Haritha

Penkoot directed by P Viji

Viji, an activist turned tailor, formed a women’s union, Penkoot in 2009 to fight for women’s rights in the workplace. The feminist movement started on SM Street in Kozhikode in response to the denial of the right to sit or use the toilet during long working hours by women working as vendors. Irikkal samaram in which women protested by sitting down with chairs on their heads was successful and as a result of this protest the state government of Kerala changed the law on shops and commercial establishments (amendment) in July 2018, to ensure that every store in the state has toilets and seating for its staff with a minimum wage mandate, an 8-hour day, lunch and tea breaks. In 2018, Viji was honored by the BBC as one of the “100 Inspirational and Influential Women” around the world. Along with her sewing work, Viji continues to fight against sexist treatment of women in the workplace.

Penkoot
Penkoot

Women in Cinema Collective (WCC)

WCC was formed in 2017 in response to the kidnapping and assault of a young actress at the behest of a leading actor. WCC is the first such organization in India formed to create a better working environment for women in the film industry. The COE relentlessly continues its fight against sexual abuse inside and outside the film industry and has also campaigned for better wages, maternity allowances, bookings at government studios and incentives for women. productions directed by professional women of the cinema. Under immense pressure from the media, the public and the WCC, the Kerala government commissioned a report from Judge Hema to investigate and take action against the harassment and discrimination faced by women in the film industry. The report was submitted to the government on December 31, 2020. But to everyone’s shock, what followed was the biggest betrayal of women’s rights by the government of Kerala.

COE
COE

The five nuns

Kerala witnessed an extraordinary resistance movement in 2018 led by five nuns in support of another nun who accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of raping her. The protest in front of the Kerala High Court to demand the bishop’s arrest quickly gained public support and received wide coverage in the national and international media. Franco Mulakkal became the first Indian Catholic bishop to be arrested in a sexual abuse case against a nun. Although there has been a long history of violence against nuns in the church, this was the first time that a group of nuns broke the silence and came out to protest by drawing the world’s attention to the grave breach. criminal.

The five nuns
The five nuns