March Issue 2008
What’s in a Calendar?
What can a table calendar do to curb female sexual harassment? If anything, we now know the categories of women molesters, courtesy the 2008 table calendar produced by AASHA, an alliance of six civil society organisations working towards curbing sexual harassment in society. The Dukhiara Dalip is the guy with a broken heart who seduces girls with tales of his tragedies. And Keido Bhaiya is the guy who conveniently assumes the role of a brother to get close to girls.
The idea behind the calendar is simple, yet it aptly delivers the NGO’s message. Apart from the caricatured depictions of lewd men being very funny, they also serve to shift focus from women, who are often held responsible for their exploitation at the hands of the stronger sex, to those men who actually commit them. “We are striving to shift the spotlight from women and place it on the male harassers,” says Dr Fouzia Saeed, the brainchild behind the calendar. “We hope it will help women identify such characters in everyday life, thereby enabling them to get rid of fear and think outwardly and discuss these problems.” That will serve to downplay the impact of sexual harassment on women, especially young girls, she says.
The characters had first been worked upon by Dr Saeed last year when she thought of popularising them through a television sitcom. However, when that plan did not materialise, she decided to feature them on a table calendar. “People don’t read books. So that option was soon dropped. We then thought of making a calendar, since these are kept all year long on desks and people can read them there,” maintains Dr Saeed.
The first batch of 2000 calenders, dispatched to various organisations and workplaces (where it is easier to create an environment that is ruled by regulations), received an overwhelming response to the extent that AASHA had to print a second instalment of 5000 copies soon after, according to Dr Saeed. In fact, she has 12 more characters planned for next year’s edition of the AASHA calendar.
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