After our successful edition dedicated to the ‘Transgender Communities in India’ in July and ‘Women in Himalayas’ in September, we are working on our next edition dedicated to people of Rajasthan and in order to educate and inspire the local communities we organised our next edition in Jaipur, Pushkar, Bhateri Village from 15th – 19th December 2018, showcasing a curated exhibition of 40 photobooks from more than 30 countries.
In our Jaipur edition of The Kitab, we presented a very powerful photography exhibition about young girl Manika, who was married at the age of 9 in the village of Delwara in Rajasthan. We dedicated this exhibition to Bhanwari Devi who is the catalyst for the implementation of Vishaka Sexual harassment Guidelines, stipulated by the Supreme Court of India in 1997. Bhanwari Devi has been working on the issue of child marriage in Bhateri village since 1992. She, along with her other ‘saathins’, ran door-to-door campaigns to sensitize their village communities against child marriage. Things turned sour when she, a Kumhar (lower-caste) woman, tried to stop the marriage of a 1-year-old daughter of Ram Karan Gujar and his (upper-caste) family.
After this incident, Bhanwari and her husband were socially boycotted by the entire community and her fields were destroyed. The situation only worsened when one day, Bhanwari and her husband were working in the fields, and Ram Karan Gujar with four other Gujar men came and began to beat her husband up. When she protested, they pinned her down and gang-raped her taking turns. Although Bhanwari never received justice, her case brought significant victories for the women’s movement in India.