It was the enigmatic ambiance of Goa and the serene silence, decorated with the soothe of sea waves, of the beach that all sparked the mood for the national meet of Goa for the 60 odd leaders and activists of the Save Indian Family campaign. Having had assembled for their proposed national meet, as reported by leading national dailies viz. the Times of India, Deccan Chronicle to name a few, to discuss strategies to intensify their campaign against the misuse of gender biased laws, the meet turned out to be more than just strategy discussion as the event started with fun and banter followed by an awards function.
After introduction by the key members, the individual NGOs working and sharing concerns with the Save Indian Family Foundation that had sent their representatives came forward to discuss their strengths and weaknesses. Those present were from
1) Save Indian Foundation, Bangalore and Nagpur,
2) Indiya Kudumba Pathukappu Iyakkam Chennai,
3) Save Family Foundation and MyNation Foundation Delhi,
4) Pati Pariwar Kalyan Samiti, Lucknow,
5) Protect Indian Family, Mumbai,
6) Sahana, Hyderabad,
7) Bharat Bachao Sangathan, Kolkata, and
8) Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP), Bangalore.
The NGOs as mentioned above and in the order presented their individual strengths and weaknesses. This discussion worked as the first step towards consolidation of strategies and brainstorming of steps to strengthen the movement in general. Newly upcoming Chattisgarh NGO had also sent its wishes and message via the representative of the Nagpur NGO.
Kumar Jahgirdar, the President of CRISP, discussed the vision and mission of CRISP and a collective goal was set to achieve regional expansion of CRISP in to new geographies. Members from national chapters expressed their solidarity and support by filling in the membership forms for CRISP. The event also marked the launch of the website of CRISP by the name of http://www.crisp-india.org.
The discussion event was followed by splitting the members present into 5 separate task groups of 5 – 7 members each on an average. Each of the task group was assigned a topic and was given 90 minutes to come up with a comprehensive strategy to be implemented in the concerned area of development. The areas of development were,
1) How to expand into new geographies and how to retain and grow the existing chapters?
2) Effective counseling techniques for newly joined victims who face abuse and approach the NGOs.
3) Effective lobbying techniques with the authorities and create the desired level of visibility for the Save Indian Family movement.
4) Calendar of events for the next one year.
5) More and potential areas of research.
After the stipulated time, the individual task groups came up with ideas / strategies in their respective area assigned and also the challenges currently faced in that area. The same were discussed, noted and the activists will be working on improvement of these areas to strengthen the movement and make the cause more audible and visible.
With so much of brainstorming happening since morning, the call of the day was a break which came as a surprise event in the form of an award function mainly aimed to act as a motivating tonic to identify key contributions, both individual and group. Five categories of awards were designed and various nominations were identified and the final awards were compiled by a jury formed of the senior most leaders of the movement. The categories of nominations were:-
1) Lifetime achievement award – This award went to the oldest member of the movement who has been a victim and has been raising voice against this misuse in the internet since the past 9 years.
2) Best Chapter Award – This award went to the Nagpur NGO who has emerged as the fastest growing chapter by utilizing all the knowledge that is available and converted the same in to an executable plan and achieved some wonderful results in a very short span of time.
3) Most Outstanding contribution – This award went to the vociferous fighter of the Save Indian Family Campaign who has written the bible for the victims of the abuse in the form of the “498a Survival Kit.”
4) Best fight back strategy – This award went to the commando who was instrumental in getting justice to one of those unfortunate 56, 000 married men who commit suicide. This relates back to the suicide by Shri Pushkar Singh of Lucknow being unable to bear the torture of a false case against him of dowry harassment by his wife and in – laws. In spite of the suicide note left behind clearly accusing his wife and in – laws of his suicide, as the authorities were restraining themselves in taking action, our commando mobilized and motivated 35 members from Delhi and U.P. to raise voice against the grave injustice and ensure restoration of faith in the criminal justice system.
5) Influencing the authorities – This award went to our legal stalwarts team, the Chennai NGO for being successfully instrumental in bringing to task 11 police officers ranging from a Head Constable, right up to the Dy. Comm. Of Police for negligence of duty and violation of human rights principles. They have been summoned by the National Human Rights Commission. Normally such a huge number of officers are summoned in case of communal riots. But this is the first time that in an individual case does one get to see such an attempt to repair miscarriage of justice.
Having thus completed the awards ceremony, the team headed towards dinner and happy hours of informal mingling and experience sharing and further discussions of improvement areas and finally parted for the day.
The second day of the meet was more of a culmination than a continuation which started with rejuvenation and ended with celebration on the end of a successful meet. It has been decided that the annual meet will be continued in future for reviewing the strategies and identifying rooms of improvement.
Thanks and Regards
Public Relations Officer
Save Indian Family Foundation