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The South Asian Women’s Day is observed as South Asian Women’s Day for Peace, Justice, Human Rights and Democracy under the aegis of Sangat, a South Asian feminist network. On this day, civil society organizations across the region organize events to celebrate sisterhood, solidarity and address common concerns of conflicts and violence in the region. Women in South Asia have had to bear an unequal burden of the effects of conflict whether caste, class, religion or ethnicity, in addition to the discriminatory practices due to patriarchal structures.

Swayam being part of this South Asian Network also observes this day every year by organising a public event to spread the message of peace, respect and justice to the masses. Kamla Bhasin, the renowned feminist and activist was one the founders of this SANGAT, South Asian Network who tirelessly worked to bring South Asian women’s activists and organisation together to strengthen the South Asian women’s collective to safeguard the democracy, peace and justice in the South Asian regions. And for this she used the strong presence of varied cultural mediums within the South Asian regions like songs, music, dance and theatre to reach out to the masses with the message of peace and justice.

This year Swayam used Kamla Bhasin’s vision of using music to bring people and communities together to create peace in the region. The cultural evening took place at Kalakunj, Shakespeare Sarani on 30th November 4 to 6pm.

We celebrated the day with renowned singers and development professionals Rafiath Rashid Mithila and Nobonita Chowdhury from Banglasdesh and With the Folk a musical group from West Bengal, India.

Rafiath Rashid Mithila, a Bangladeshi artist, singer and development worker sang beautiful songs to remind us the power of music to escalate the voice of resilience. She shared that her interaction with Kamla Bhasin helped shape her perception of feminism and gender and pushed her to become the strong feminist figure she is today.

Nobonita Chowdhury, the Director, Preventing Violence against Women initiative in BRAC, Bangladesh is a popular radio, television personality and journalist. She purposefully chose songs of Lalan Fakir and emphasised his philosophy to establish harmony in the society beyond people’s caste and religious identities.