Ondede was officially launched on January 20 2015. Ms. Pinky Chandran, a founder member provided the context to the initative
Excerpts from her speech:
“When my mother went to fill water, I went to her cupboard, tried to fit in desperately in her inner-garments, her blouse, her petticoat and tried frantically to drape her sari around me! I was scared the door might open any minute… or my nosy neighbor might walk in, but I was desperate to complete the ritual… I put on the cheap jewelry but could not wear the kajal… and then I heard footsteps… I tried hard to remove the clothes and pretended to remove my school uniform. My heart was in my mouth! What did I just do? Who am I?I want to talk about it… without revealing my identity… What do I do? – Episode from YariVaru, aired on Radio Active CR 90.4 MHz, a community radio station in Bangalore
So my question is- What it is to be a gendered, sexual self?
In the movie Saving Milly: Love, Politics, and Parkinson’s Disease, there is the dialogue which says “One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but cannot be taken away unless it is surrendered? So does it have to mean to surrender one’s dignity?
Human dignity can be viewed from different domains and perspectives. What is it all about? From ageing to sexual harassment, from dignity of labour to bio-ethics, from dying to living, … the list is endless
Malala Yousafzai said “I speak not for myself but for those without voice… those who have fought for their rights… their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated”
So who are those without the voice? In the examples shared, a common underlying thread has been that of voice. So whose voice is it anyway?
Amidst the cacophony of theories and agendas on sex, gender and sexuality, there is a felt need for collective conversations, dialogues; deliberations and action across three inter connected movements – women’s rights, child rights and sexual minority rights working in isolation.
Sometime in November 2014, there was an informal meeting over tea where Nalini from UTC ,Shakun, Madhu Bhushan, Aasha Ramesh, Akkai & Ranjita met, and this initial meeting paved the way for another meeting on the 5th of December 2014 where the group reached out to more people and Dr. Shaibya Saldhana, , Tissey Mariam, Prof. Shylaja Hiremath and me. The group met at Radio Active, which led to the conceptualization of Ondede. The group is a mix of feminists, activists, thinkers, academics who work in the field of child rights, women’s right, sexual minorities, and alternate media.
The reason for coming together is simple the realization that having worked on these issues for decades in isolation there is a felt need for a convergence of issues related to Dignity- Voice- Sexuality vis-à-vis the constituency of children, women and sexual minorities.
Ondede is a Kannada word for convergence. Recognizing and acknowledging that are existing movements like child rights, women’s rights, sexual minority rights, other vulnerable sections and various community media platforms , Ondede endeavors to link these different groups through areas of dialogue, research and action on dignity-voice – sexuality.