Claiming Delhi's streets to 'break the cage' for women

Younger female students within the indian capital, delhi, are preventing to claim their right to public spaces with a campaign known as pinjra tod (ruin the cage).

The bbc's geeta pandey joins them for an evening as they exit to "declare the streets" and fill them with their "desires and goals".
Simply as night falls, about 60 young men and women begin marching through some of delhi college's most desirable faculties.
Many are carrying posters, they shout slogans, halt out of doors ladies's hostels, recite poems and get away into impromptu dances.
"we don't need no false protection, you can't cage 1/2 the country," they sing.
One young guy performs a drum striking round his neck, even as a girl sporting a crimson sari offers a lively speech.
Shambhawi vikram inside the centre with mic
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We are saying this isn't about girls's protection clearly, that is approximately ethical policing"
At normal intervals, the participants - delhi university college students beyond and present - whistle and clap in approval or chant "shame, disgrace".
The problem that has delivered these kind of men and women out directly to the streets is what's known as the "curfew hour" in girls's hostels - the closing date by means of which citizens must return to their rooms.
"it's miles discriminatory," says devangana kalita, a 26-year-vintage researcher and co-founding father of the pinjra tod movement.
"curfews and time limits inside the call of presenting protection and protection are simply mechanisms of reproducing patriarchy. We're announcing this is not approximately ladies's safety certainly, that is approximately ethical policing."
Devangana kalita (left)
Photograph caption
Protesters say the march to assert the streets by using woman college students is "exceptional" and "ancient".
Students say maximum ladies's hostels - whether or not run by means of the university or privately-owned - follow curfew hours. Some lock their gates as early as 6:30pm or 7:30pm whilst some permit college students to stay out till a touch later.
They are saying even as curfew times are stringently enforced in girls's hostels and people who wreck them run the hazard of being expelled, hostels for guys, which also have curfew hours on paper, hardly ever put into effect them.
Libraries and laboratories in the university are open until a whole lot later - till midnight or in some locations, even until 2am - and curfew hours mean women have no get right of entry to to them.
"the university infantilises you," says ms kalita.
College students march
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Libraries and laboratories in the university are open late - and curfew hours suggest girls have no get admission to to them.
"they don't see you as equipped to address your protection in your personal, they say we can be your guardians, they impose these restrictions on you as a way to mould you into a particular kind of a woman who's saleable within the marriage marketplace, who does no longer go barriers.
"however tonight, we're out to assert the streets, to fill the streets with the audacity of our goals and desires," she provides.
Shambhawi vikram, a 23-12 months-antique arts pupil, who lives in a private hostel - that are known as pgs or "paying guest" hostels - says the restrictions are "humiliating" however being locked up can also be dangerous and lifestyles-threatening.
"two years ago, there was an earthquake in delhi. As our building shook, anyone who lived on the lower flooring rushed out, but 20 students who lived on the fourth and 5th flooring had been stuck, due to the fact they were locked up. It become frightening, they all ran out into the balcony and checked out us. We should best study them. We all felt so helpless."
College students march
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Campaigners say that the idea that locking up ladies will maintain them safe could be very fallacious logic.
Rafiul rahman, a 23-12 months-antique postgraduate student who's some of the protesters, says the march to say the streets is "unparalleled" and "historical".
"something like this has in no way passed off earlier than in the university. It's crazy to lock up girls after 7pm. You have to query and project irrational norms."
Mr rahman says whenever he steps out at night, there are a lot of fellows sitting and smoking and drinking chai, "but you don't see a unmarried girl - and that ought to exchange".
Campaigners say that the idea that locking up ladies will keep them safe is very wrong common sense.
College students march
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"we're looking to create a brand new creativeness, approximately what public spaces may be like".
"you can not hold ladies safe through keeping them away, it does now not make any feel. Streets could be more secure simplest whilst we've got extra ladies on the streets," mr rahman says.
With their night stroll, ms kalita says, "we're looking to create a new creativeness, about what public areas may be like".
Protests by college students in the past have compelled the authorities to relax timings extremely, but the pinjra tod campaigners say it's not sufficient.
The campaigners are the use of social media to mobilise college students - and others - throughout delhi and past to broaden their movement for freedom.
Ms vikram says in india, women throughout a while and class stay in cages and they need to fight to break out those prisons all through their lives.
"some forty-50 years ago, women had to interrupt the cage to get in to college, today we are attempting to interrupt the cage to get to the library after 7pm.
"even cinderella may want to stay out till midnight. Why can not we," she asks?


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