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RE

G

Narrating the Supportive Practices of Men

Edited by

RADHIKA CHOPRA

.•

Orient Longman Dlgltlzedby

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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

H~ 1oqo ·} .f 41< 4-4 / ~DOt°

ORIENT LONGMAN PRIVATE LIMITED

Registered Office 3-6-752 Himayatnagar, Hyderabad 500 029 (A.P.), INDIA e-mail : [email protected]

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0 UNIFEM, 2006 First published 2007

ISBN 978 81 250 3158 I ISBN 81 250 3158 8 Typeset in 11/14 pt. Adobe Garamond

Typeset by Bukprint Delhi

Printed in India at Chaman Enterprises Delhi

Published by Orient Longman Private Limited 1/24 Asaf Ali Road New Delhi 110 002 e-mail: [email protected]

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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

.

CONTENTS

1. Introduction: Reframing Masculinities

1

RADHIKA CHOPRA

MEN AGAINST TRAFFICKING

2 . D isrupting the Chain

29

SHALINI PANJABI

48

3. Empowering Commercial Sex Workers RITAMBHARA HEBBAR

GENDER, STATE AND FAMILY

4. Working with Mothers of the Disappeared:

69

The Peace Movement in Kashmir WASIM YOUSUF BHAT

5. Contesting Female Foeticide: Gender and the Law

83

SHALINI PANJABI

COMING TOGETHER

6. Young Men, Friendship Networks and Gender Work

99

MAHUYABANDHYOPADHYAY

7. Enterprising Women, Supportive Men: Micro Credit Networks in the North-East

138

SUBHASHIM GOSWAMI

8. In Plain Sight: Making Gayness Visible in India RITAMBHARA HEBBAR

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CONTENTS

VI

NEW LIFE WORIDS

9. Passing on Knowledge: A Village School in Kashmir

187

WASIMYOUSUFBHAT

10. No Less than. Mc: Working on Disability

188

SUBHASHIM GOSWAMI

207

Abo#/ the Co111rib1111m

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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

INTRODUCTION: REFRAMING MASCULINITIES Radhika Chopra

G

ender studies, gender theory and gendered interventions have always been arenas inhabited by women. The contexts of women's social and material conditions provide key issues for research and intervention in these arenas. It is accurate to say that reflections on women's lives have produced the subject, Gender Studies, and have stimulated gendered interventions. A critical concern of gender studies is women's agency and autonomy. While feminist writing and research has established that women arc not passive subjects but arc

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2

R EF RAMIN G MA SC U L INITIES

agents and subjects in their own lives, their agency and subjectivities arc neither fixed nor absolute. In talking about agency, equality and empowerment, some feminist political theorists have argued that women's experience of autonomy and agency is grounded in the context of their everyday lives, their connections with care and commitment, as well as their relations with others. Thus, even though political philosophy equates the concept of autonomy with 'autonomous individualism', women do not experience their sense of autonomy in these terms. For women, autonomy is experienced as relational, and not as wholly individual (Mackenzie and Stoljar, 2000). In the context of South Asian societies, the idea of relational autonomy posed by Mackenzie and Stoljar provides a valuable framework in which to consider issues of autonomy, women's agency and empowerment If autonomy is relational, anchored in the contexts of women's everyday lives, then empowerment must also be thought of as relational. To be a sustained process of change, women's empowerment has to-and in fact does--orient itself toward 'critical others' who can support and help sustain that empowerment. The empowerment of women cannot be fully realised without taking into account their everyday lives and relationships. If autonomy, empowerment and equality are anchored in the everyday, then we need to understand how men who are a part of women's lives can enable, sustain or prevent women's empowerment. We also need to consider whether men can become players and partners in women's lives and in the processes of empowerment, and most of all, whether some men arc already part of supportive structures for women (Chopra, 2000). The concepts of relational autonomy and entitlement therefore need to be paired with another key concept: men-as-supportive partners. Post-Cairo, the concept has been deployed by various men-as-supportive-partners campaigns such as the Men-in-Maternal Health programmes of the Population Council that focus on involving men in reproductive health care. Within the focussed terms of these campaigns, husbands are encouraged to play an active role in

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IN TROD U CTION

specific areas like women's reproductive health. The rationale for this encouragement is to illustrate that pre- and post-natal care is not the work of women alone, but must include men. Such intervention seeks to expand the role of men beyond the sexual and to actively demystify the view that men need not tend to their children. The attempt at involving men in the health care of their wives and children is also aimed at encouraging men to think of reproductive health as their work as well. Equally, encouraging men to participate in the reproductive health of women seeks to rework men's subject positions within the home by expanding and elaborating the role of men beyond the sexual, into the intimacies and the 'work' of care.

Supportive Men: What Are We Talking About, To my way of thinking, the concept of supportive partners, simply put, is about relations between people because support is always extended toward someone else. It's useful to think about Mackenzie and Stoljar's idea of relational autonomy when posing the idea of support because by its very nature support is relational. The chapters in this book go a step further to suggest that support is also contextspecific. The idea of supportive relations must also open us out towards the specific milieus in which supportive relations and supportive practices are articulated. Further, support is heterogeneous and can be both material and ideological. In the way that dimensions and forms of violence against women have been analysed and categorised as abuse, molestation, battery, rape and so on, or occurring within more than one set of relations, it is important to look at the opposite scenario. We need to address ourselves to the forms and dimensions of support as a substantive set of practices. In South Asia, for example, there is a cultural expectation that sons need to extend support to older parents, particularly widowed mothers-an aspect that the men-as-supportive partners programmes tend to overlook.. In these campaigns, the position and role of men is restricted to a single dimension of their subject positions within households, as husbands, but not as sons or fathers.

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R EF RAM I N C MASC U L INITIES

Then: is no denying that the conjugal partnership is critical within the family. Young pregnant women arc often the most vulnerable in the household and need vital health and nutritional care. But it is equally important to be self-conscious about frameworks that focus on men only as husbands, and thus mute a whole set of practices that define the roles and subject positions of men as sons, fathers and brothers. Taking these other roles into accouot enables an expansion of the idea of men-as-partners and is useful when working with men within households, or when trying to draw them into becoming partners in women's empowerment. One of the ways to think through the question of multiple contexts is by locating support within the frame of the everyday. A study of the quotidian highlights the fact that everyday pradi« and pattiarclial fOOl1i J:lr1ld#rl arc not indistinguish2hlc, nor arc structures of power replicated in everyday practice. Supportive practices need to be located in contextual relations between men and women, as well as between men and men. It is important to address this dimension in relationships that studies of patriarchal structures often mask. This can be done by looking more closely at the everyday practices of men. We first need to consider whether supputtive practices tm'l4lfl exist in some form or other in people's everyday lives. Support as social pmctice with an 'everyday' existence may not be patently evident in any situation, but we cannot assume an absolute lack of male supportive practice either in the public domain or within the families and households of South Asia. At the very least, support may be an ideology that can be drawn upon and elaborated, culled from existing gender relations to understand issues of domestic democracy and gender equality (Chopra, 2003). When exploring men's perceptions of supportive practices, we need to ask whether men already have notions of supportive practice 'for' the family as a whole or for different members within it, or indeed for women in general beyond the family. Do men reflect on issues of gender violence, women's entitlements and gender equality? Do the life histories of individual men reflect forms of support in

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INTRODUCTION

their relationships with women or with other men? Does support have a materi21 existence? One place to begin looking at the issue of whether supportive practices exist, and if they do, what they look like, is historical accounts of social reform in the Indian subcontinent. These accounts are important because they give us an insight into the way in which gender relations were constructed and thought about by men at various points in history. For the purpose of this argument, I focus on the historiography of social reform movements in the ninctecnth and early twentieth centuries in the subcontinent partly because these have been well documented, and partly because the issue of women's lives became a central focus for male social reformers in the period. However, as feminist historiography has revealed (Sukar, 1985; Mani, 1989) this attention to gender questions was in fact part of luger social and political movements within which the "woman's question" was just one part. Raja Rammohun Roy (1772-1833) is associated with the abolition of saJidaha-the immolation of widows on their husband's funeral pyre. He refuted the contention that raJidaJw was a scriptural injunction, arguing instead that it reflected a barbaric practice that could not be justified in the modem world. Despite his concern about foreign rulers legislating against saJi, he nevertheless supported the Governor General William Bentick's enactment that outlawed the practice (Kumar, 1993, p. 9). There were others besides Roy who spoke for women. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, like Rammohun Roy, was part of the Bengal Renaissance (Kopf, 1969) that engaged with new ideas cmetging through the contact between Britain and Bengal. Vidyasagu effectively initiated the practice of widow rcmarruage by managing to introduce the Hindu Widow Remarriage Act (1855-56), an act that legalised remarriage. In 1856, he led another movement against the hyperpolygamy of leN/i11 Brahmans-a marruage practice where prepubertal or teenage girls were married to elderly, high caste hushanc:ls. He opposed and argued against polygamy as wdl, a practice prevalent in Bengal at the time.

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R EF RAMING MASC U L IN I TI ES

While Roy and Vidyasagar paid attention to specific social practices like saJi or leNlin marriage practices, other social reformers focussed on broad-spectrwn issues like women's education. Interestingly, the views on education for women were various and impelled by different motivations. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan who founded the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College, which later became the Aligarh Muslim University, was one of the earliest proponents of modern education for Muslims. Following the Revolt of 1857, Khan was increasingly concerned about the political future of Muslims and encouraged the adoption of scientific knowledge and western styles of education to bolster the community's position. Within this overall concern, education for women was one part. More than Sir Syed Khan himself, " ... the liberal movement he pioneered ... had far reaching consequences ....Sir Syed had many followers who took up the issue of female education with more vigour and clarity than himself... the followers of Sir Syed advocated girls' schools, set up teacher's training schools, (and)°published the first women's journals (Khahln from Aligarh, Tahzjbun Ninvan from Lahore, Pardanasin from Agra, Ismat from Delhi) to name a few of their achievements" (Amin, 1996, p.142). Among the many male participants at the Mohammedan Educational Conference called by Sir Syed in the 1870s to promote modern education for Muslims, were those who sought to relieve some of the restrictions on women's activities, to limit polygyny, and to ensure women's rights under Islamic law. Also concerned about women's status was another social reformer in western India,Jyotirao Govindrao Phule (1827-1890) of Maharashtra who believed that education for women and the lower castes were the key issues of his time. Himself a dalit of the Mali caste, he profoundly understood the cost of ignorance and the injustice that could be perpetrated by the powerful on the illiterate. He began by educating his wife and subsequently opened a girl's school in 1848. Confronting the orthodoxy was often a violent undertaking and in hi~ life he experienced exclusion, assault and deprivation. Despite threats, his efforts to enroll the children of the untouchable Mahar

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(NTR OOUC T ION

and Mang caste in schools and his attempts at educating girls continued throughout his life. For others, women's education was as much a matter of mobility as it was of reform. Educated wives were valued by an eme,giog intellectual, professioml class of men. Io Bengal for example. members of the Brahmo Samaj that advocated rational modernity led the movement for female education. Kcshub Chandra Seo, a leading Brahmo intellectual, " .. .lectured on the importance of female education in 1861 and the following year organised a society of men who supported reforms for women. In 1865, the Brahmo Samaj sponsored the first organisation where 'WOmen met for religious instruction, sewing lessons, and the discussion of social issues ... " (Forbes, 1998, p. 41) Historians evaluating the record of reform in the subcontinent have interrogated the intentions that led the agendas of male social reformers, questioning whether the reforms were indeed "for women" or whether women's issues---be it sali to modern education for women- were merely a terrain on which dialogues of male power were articulated. Examining the debates around sat,~ Lata Mani has contested the fact that the ban was oriented towards 'WOmen's welfare. In her influential essay "Contentious Traditions" she argues that the ban by the colonial state was part of a racial discourse in which "white" men saw themselves as part of a civilised world that needed to rescue and protect "brown women" from the barbaric practices unleashed on them by "brown men". Within the terms of this debate, women were cast as passive victims of a barbaric culture. Prior to its abolition, the colonial state had permitted the execution of sali, so long as it remained in accordance with scriptural presaiptions. As Mani demonstrates, the recourse of the colonial authorities to the views of p11ndils or priestly experts who were called upon to verify the scriptural legitimacy of sali, enabled the state to decide how "safe" it was for them to prohibit sali. Officials of the colonial state were initially less interested in banning sali and more concerned about defining an "authentic" sali act as opposed to an "inauthentic"

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R EF RAMIN C MA SCULI NITIES

JIiii. They sought to estllblish whether or not a woman was pregnant.,

menstruating. breast feeding an infant and so on when she committed S4li, thus establishing whether she was complying with scriptural provisions, which dclincatt:d a sali as permissible or not. The considerations about Sllli were therefore " ... not primarily about women but (about) what constituted authentic tradition... " {Mani, 1989, p. 90), and about what could be safely legislated on and what was better left alone as a "cultural practice". Women thcmsdvcs were marginal to these debates. Both within the ninctccnth century social reform movements and the later nationalist movement, there was an absence of any autonomous women's movement and womcri's voices (Sarlw, 1985), and while male social rcronncrs certainly raiscxl the issue of women's emancipation, the terms of this discourse WctC as much about the men and their position vis-a-vis the power of the ·colonial state over their lives, as it was "about" women. Women's education was part of a larger movement towards modernity and perhaps with the exception of Jyotirao Phulc, most social reformers fdt that women needed education to be better companions for western educated Indian men. But this education was not intended to threaten their own "core" culture. Indeed the "inner" world of women and the domestic sphere were resurrected throughout the ninctccnth and the early twentieth centuries. Reronncrs and Indian nationalists argued that emulating Western modernity was desirable only within the material context of "retaining and strengthening the distinctive spiritual essence of the national culture" (Chatterjee. 1989, p. 238). The spiritual core lay in the social spaces of the ghar, the inner world of women and tradition. Women were cast as the symbols and bearers of this traditional essence. So while on the face of the reformist and nationalist agenda the women's question loomed large, it is quite clear from the historiography of this issue that women were present in this discourse only insofar as they served to ducidatc a distinction between good and bad modernity. Women were objects in the debates between men, not the subjects of their own history.

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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

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IN TROD UCTI O N

This analysis of reform movements in the subcontinent points our attention towards the historical specificity of gender relations and the debates that arose around women's emancipation and their agency. Many of the male social reformers saw their agenda as emerging from and being located within larger social and political agendas of modernity and nationalism. So they spoke "for" women rather than understanding what women thcmsdvcs might have wanted to say. This is in no way to denigrate the reform. Rather, it is to point towards the fact that gender relations need to be located within time and space and arc not fm,-floating significrs of autonomy or libcntion. An examination of a later period of the twentieth century gives us a very different sense of men's understanding of gender relations. For example, from about the 1980s onwards, there has been a selfconscious move among men and men's groups to be more attentive to gmdcr i:clatioos and to their own roles in perpetuating disa:iminatory gender practices. Such self-aware collective attention to the sttucturcS of gender, power and hegemony also produced more collective thinking about men's need to change and involve themselves more closely (and caringly) in the lives of their partners. It is true that much of the published work done by men on gender has been on the issues of masculinity and the lives of men-not on women. But its motivation has been similar to the feminist project-to take apart gender identities that masquerade as cast-iron, monolithic formations. Following feminist writing and researching practices, men's studies writings have shown how male stereotypes arc suffocating the lives of ordinary men as much as they oppress women. In analysing how contemporary men respond to gender, it is clear that there arc differences between the ninetc:cnth century and the present. The earlier period was marked by the absence of an au1000mous women's movement and men's championship of women's causes was impelled by the politics and policies of the colonial state. The changes in social practices were therefore part of the dialogue between the male indigenous elite and the colonial state,

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and needs to be understood within the framework of the politics of the Independence movement. lbis does not mean that the changes were unimportant; indeed they had far-reaching effects on women and their lives. Nor should we ignore the hostility and social exclusions that male social reformers suffered because of their views. Nevertheless, the intention behind social reform clearly lay elsewhere and women's emancipation W2S a vocabulary deployed by men to confront the power of the colonial state. The late eighties' and nineties' reflections on the other hand seem to have emerged as a response to feminist movements around the world. Men's responses, therefore, were about their own role in the violence against women and how that violence entered and transformed gender relations. What is interesting, however, is the fact that at both periods of time, individual men were often influenced by an event in their own lives. Some accounts point out that Raromohun Roy engaged with the issue of rali because he had seen a sister-in-law "forced" to commit the act. Phule thought that women were the prime wgets of avaricious priests who persuaded them to conduct rituals for their own "spiritual safety", and vulnerable in their illiteracy, women were easily duped. Phule's advocacy of education for women and for the lower castes was a means to confront the Brahmanic orthodoxy that targeted the two most helpless groups in society. Similarly, at a later period, men's movements sought to confront patriarchal norms because they felt suffocated by these normative structures. The essays in this volume highlight the issue of personal experience and biography that persuade individual men to engage with gender equality and gender issues. Interestingly, in the twenty-first century, when we talk about men doing gender work, there is a lineage to draw upon---questions that men and women have raised about what gender relations mean. The question before us is: do ordinary men in contemporary South Asia reflect on gender? What do they make of the huge public debates and enormous public outcries against issues like gender

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violence, foeticide and the trafficking of minor girls? What are their responses-if any-to this kind of public protest against violent male practices and gender inequalities?

Researching the Supportive Practices of Men Between 2000 and 2005, these questions were addressed through intensive research titled Profiler of Change. Conducted by researchers at the Department of Sociology of the University of Delhi, with grants from UNIFEM, South Asia Regional Office, the research explored dimensions and arenas of male support. One broad research area was of men in different life situations and life worlds for whom support for women and support for family are simultaneous, if not the same thing. Men in these contexts do not self-consciously think of themselves as "doing'' genderwork; but it's quite clear from analysing their actual performance of work that what they do has substantial implications for gender relations. From Vk>lena kJ SlljJJ>Orlive Prrxtia.· Fami!J, Gender amJ MasaJinilies in India (Chopra, 2000) was based on the everyday lives of groups and communities of ordinary men. A further focus on family (the family firm, for example) and 'feminine oriented' occupations (for example, men working in beauty palours and as domestic workers) ·provided the rationale for the choice of ethnographic locations. Fieldwork-based research points our attention toward the subject positions of men and towards the cultures and the formations of masculinity. The second area of research focussed on biographies and narratives of individual men who intentionally chose to work on gender issues. In documenting social life in India, biographies of single individuals and narrative events in their individual lives have not been widely used and social groups and collectivities have had a privileged place. However life histories " ... are a historically persistent and socially pervasive form of cultural expression in South Asia," (Arnold

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and Blackburn, 2004, p.14) and, " ... in whatever form they are presented in, can provide valuable insights not simply into the experience and attitudes of the individuals concerned, but also into the wider society or segment of society to which they belong" (Arnold and Blackburn, 2004, p.12). While stories of the "self" and life histories are an interesting source for understanding society (Chamberlain and Thompson, 1998; Rapport and Dawson, 1998) the choice of individual profiles that formed part of the project Profiles of Change was a way of understanding larger social realities from the standpoint of individual lives. There is another reason for choosing to focus on profiles of individual men. In early 2004, the Commission for the Status of Women adopted a resolution based on a document formulated by the UN Secretary General's Expert Group to actively work toward involving men and boys in creating ~der equality. The document and the resolution adopted at the U.N. General Assembly in March 2004, as well as the way the issue was posed in discussions for Beijing +10, increased the need to direct and create policy that involved men and boys in the process of creating gender. equality by all member states. But it seems to me that the UN mandate also demands that we must become more aware of those men and boys who are already creating contexts which empower women and girls. Such stories need to find a public forum of expression because they do have the power to produce an active reflection and rethinking about gender in contemporary Indian society. The narratives and the profiles elucidate, most clearly, a self-reflexive agency among ordinary men, a reflection that has emerged from engagements with gender. The essays in this volume profile men who have actively worked on issues of gender equality. The profiles have emerged through field work in different parts of India. These men and their stories are a source of critical knowledge. It is important for men to know that there are others who are also doing "gender work". It's equally important for women to know that there are men who actively

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counter violence against women in their everyday lives. These stories have an "effect'' on what men and women think about each other. How have these men moved beyond given stereotypes and by their own actions and personal example introduced conditions for gender equity? This is the principal theme that binds the separate biographical profiles. The choice of drawing on ethnographies of groups as well as the narratives of individual men came from posing two questions. First, does support exist? Second, if it does, do we know how to recognise support or indeed where to look for the "doing'' of support? In the way that women's work remained invisible until feminist research and analysis uncovered its histories, the doing of support by men may also have rea,ained unaddressed, if not invisible. This volume seeks to outline both the substantive material existence as well as the ideological orientation of male support and the supportive practices of men.

Transforming Gender Relations: Profiles of Supportive Men The essays in this volume concentrate on profiling the life stories of individual men. These are not necessarily men who are publicly prominent. But their individual life histories are extraordinary in the kinds of choices that each has made and most of all in the work that they undertake in their preferred careers. Precisely because not all of them were well known, locating them was a methodological challenge. The researchers who were part of Profiler of Change began by literally "asking around". They asked people in the different field sites to tell them who they thought were doing work on gender issues and in what context they had heard about these individual men. They also tried to gauge the extent of knowledge that was in circulation through formal or informal modes like newspaper reports, documents, membership in organisations or gossip, stories, first-hand contact

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and so on. Subhashim Goswami, one of the researchers who went to Meghalaya in Northeast India kept hearing stray references to "this mad development guy, totally committed", "always in the village" perpetually "un,contactable". According to Subhashim, it was almost like hearing a folk legend of a ghost. But of course it is exactly this aspect of "hearing" that provided clues to researchers to make contact and write up biographies of such individuals. Another researcher in Kolkata, Mahuya Bandyopadhyay, was literally "led" to Ved Prakash Gautam, one of the men she profiled, ·through networks that connected him to an individual she was already interviewing. So Veq was not the person whom she got to know first. but it was the knowledge that she gleaned from someone else's work that opened up the possibility of this "other life" which remained hidden in what people were telling her when she first began trying to locate supportive men. Mahuya's report reveals that often men do not work as single individuals but form networks among like-minded others to create a support base for themselves. Precisely because the work they do is not mainstream, networks of support are critical resources for men. The research to document individual life histories was conducted across different regions in India. Individual men from Kashmir, Assam, Meghalaya, Bengal. Karnataka and Maharashtra were profiled. In support of this pan-Indian distribution was the idea that in a culturally-plural society like India, we cannot assume that gender relations are homogeneous across cultural and regional geographies. It is important to understand these regional variations to highlight that men can-and in fact do-intervene in culturally recognised ways and introduce change in a way that is understood as breaking out of a stereotype. The idea of variation captures the differences between the nature of support extended towards women, the different challenges to existing cultural stereotypes of gender relations, as well as the experience of extending support or overturning stereotypes. The diversity in the Indian context is illustrative and substantive and allows us to view a range of contexts within which partnerships with men can be crafted or have emerged. Men's involvement in

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resisting trafficking, sex selective foeticide, offering legal redress or creating sanctuary spaces for women in conflict zones are issues that men have engaged with as a way of resisting violence against women and creating more equal gender relations. They can serve as blueprints for new social formations. The idea of variations was tracked in numerous ways. For example, we know that women experience different forms of violent behaviour- in the street, the workplace and the home. The research constantly sought to move across thresholds of public-private to understand the different contexts of violence as well as the different supportive responses elicited in these different contexts. The premise for this movement across thresholds was that forms of support differ because violent behaviour is dissimilar. Crossing the critical divide between public and the private has deep implications for women's lives. For example, Sabu George working relentlessly and selflessly against sex selective abortions and femicide (female foeticide) has translated what is considered a "private" internal matter of the family (abortion or foeticide) into public interest litigations against this widespread practice. He has broadened the ambit of the Parliamentary Act on Pre-Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act to draw attention in the most public way possible to this form of violence against women. Different men have varied responses when they witness or intervene in violence against women. Strangers may intervene in the street when they witness molestation. Girish Kulkarni of Ahmednagar, Maharastra witnessed the brutal molestation of a girl by a brothel owner in full public view of a terrified audience. Violence was used as a method of exerting power not only over the individual girl but was also directed as an "example" set to others like her so that they did not dare to step out of line. It had the opposite effect on Girish Kulkarni-it was a turning point in his life. Over the years, he explored different ways of forging collective action that enabled sex workers in the area to become more independent and, most of all. to take care of their children. Stanley and Parashuram in Karnataka

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were made aware of the lives of sex workers when they were doing a newspaper report on horse-carriage drivers in the city, who they subsequently realised, were part of the nexus between tourists and brothel owners. Their involvement in this issue turned from a newspaper report to a life long struggle to disrupt trafficking supply chains and networks. Odanaadi (Soulmate, the organisation started by them) is the visible result of their intervention and their publiclyaffirmed stance against gendered forms of violence: Other men were community leaders who stepped in to restore social justice. Preedom fighters and local businessmen lent their support to Girish Kulkarni's efforts and joined public processions that produced public debates against sex trafficking as a form of violence. Ashok Raw Kavi in Mumbai persuaded the city municipality to house the offices of Humsafar (a prominent organisation that works on gay rights and HIV/ AIDS prevention programmes) on two floors of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation building situated in one of the busiest commercial areas Mumbai. He also persuaded doctors and interns in the government health care facilities of the city to pay particular attention to the health problems of gay men. In the most public way possible, he breached the norms of silence that shrouded gay life and HIV/AIDS. In tracing the biographies of men, the story of the family becomes intrinsic to the "telling" of such individual lives. Men in families introduce changes in their own lives and in the lives of their families, so that we need to understand them as individuals acting within a frame of domestic democracy. Mukul and Anjana Goswami in Guwahati, Assam, work together as a complementary team helping mentally-disabled people and their families through their organisation Ashadeep. They are also a "home team", as it were, and cross the public-private divide through their joint work at home as well as in the organisation they run. In some instances therefore, the narratives of individual men are complemented by the biography of the family. What emerges from the research is the fact that men who make self conscious choices to live their lives according to more equitable

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gender practices and ideals of domestic democracy are simultaneously ordinary and well-known. It is this location between the world of the everyday and the practice of resistance to hegemonic stereotypes that have marked these men as exemplars whom others cite as special, but not so unlike them that their examples can never be emulated. The fact that personal example is a powerful means of persuasion is clear in the story of Deep Purakyastha and his network of friends in Kolkata. Deep's work at Praajak as well as his everyday life were something that many of his friends and associates admired and sought to emulate. Anindya Hazra, who first worked with Deep, has now followed some of the practices adopted in dealing with Men having Sex with Men (MSM) communities and HIV/ AIDS in Pratyay, where he is a key figure. Anindya saw his involvement in Praajak as an initiation. As he said, "With Praajak, I broke into this area of work." He also considered Deep to be a critical person in this process and looked up to him as one of the most prominent persons in the field of masculinity and sexuality. Interaction with Deep was instrumental for Ved Prakash Gautam as well and enabled him to find a language to articulate and understand his own marginalisation as a gay man. It also encouraged him to work with other marginal groups like runaway children who lived on railway platforms in programmes initiated by Prajaak. The organisation Sanjog, run by Roop Sen was also connected with Deep and his work on gender and sexuality issues. As far as possible, men of different age groups, men working as individuals, men working with partners or those who have set up organisations were profiled to keep variations alive. Aijaz Ahmad, a 22-year old man works primarily on his own in Bumthan village in the Anantnag district of Kashmir, where he has set up a centre in the local mosque to teach English to girls and boys of the village. As one of the village shopkeepers--a parent of one of the students who goes to the learning centre-said, "We saw Englishspeaking children only on television, but now our own children can

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speak the language as well." On the other hand, Roop Sen and Uma who set up Sanjog work as partners, as do Stmley and Pamshunm of Odanaadi. Most of the others profiled through the research have set up or are part of existing organisations. Some of the men have been doing work on gender issues for a long while, but in the process have expanded what they mean by doing such work. Dr Raouf Mohiudin Malik has been running the Yatccm Foundation in Srinagar for orphans as well as a widows' welfare programme for a number of years and is always seeking ways to make the foundation more responsive to collective needs. In a society tom by violence, a non-partisan organisation that seeks to broaden the scope and vision of social service, the Yatccm Foundation is more than a place for orphans and widows. Working against gender violence, the organisation simultaneously offers support to those whose lives arc affected by the generalised violence in the state. In a very different way, Mukul and Anjana Goswami's organisation Ashadeep arranged vital resources and delivery systems for aid during the floods that affected Assam in the summer of 2004. The expansion of networks set up for one purpose (an orphanage in Kashmir or a home for the mentally disabled in Assam) broaden their scope of work and play a vital role in general welfare at critical moments of crisis in a society. Governments and state agencies trust these organisations and the people who run them to route essential resources where needed since they are already familiar with the communities. Through the individual narratives, the Profiles of Change project attempted to understand 1lllt, certain men chose to work on issues of gender in the myriad ways outlined in the profiles. The reasons were many. Some were extremely personal. Mukul Goswami's experiences with a family member's disability and the fact that there were so few facilities to enable and help families care for the mentally disabled was the fundamental reason he gave up his job in a bank and began working on this issue. Aijaz Ahmed in Kashmir on the other hand had a deeply philosophical- though no less personal-reason for his work with village children. In his view,

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using the space of the local mosque as an English language classroom was not a contradiction of religious practice-it was an individual interpretation of the lsbmic idea of a "meritorious act''. The English class and the computer centre begun by him in the village combine the secular and the religious frameworks in a unique but culturallyrecognised way. Sabu George's work on the issue of foeticide and sex ratios was an outcome of his work in the villages oJ Tamil Nadu on nutrition, which he was pursuing as part of his Ph.D. In the course of gathering detailed and sustained statistical household data, he realised that his documentation was showing a disturbing trend in female infant deaths. It was his ability to connect two very different kinds of material that led to his increased attention on female infant deaths. For many men, getting involved in "doing gender" is not easy; often, it is at a great personal cost Stanley and Parashuram, working on disrupting the trafficking supply chains and networks, have been constantly threatened by the local mafia and brothd owners. P.uashuram has been badly beaten twice by hired goons of this mafia who also threaten to kidnap his young children. Both have had difficulty with landlords who suspect their motives and have at various points been refused housing Khurram Pervez, working with the Association of Disappeared Persons, Kashmir, is a young man who lost his right leg in a land mine explosion when he was part of an election monitoring team. His colleague Aasiya Jeelani was killed in the same blast. For Khurram, human rights and gender issues cannot be segregated and his personal loss has not resulted in him giving up his work-he spends a large part of his day working on legal redress and on creating a space for the mothers of disappeared sons to come together to find solace in their shared grie£

Life Histories: Widening our Understanding The primary aim of this research is to highlight individual life stories. But its intention is also to provide insights not simply into the

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experience and attitudes of the individuals concerned, but also into the segments of society from which these stories emerge. Taken together, these individual biographies bring to the surface more general trends in the relations between men, women and gender in contemporary Indian society. Men's access to the public sphere is well documented, as is women's exclusion from the public domain. What is also part of the writing and understanding of men's access to the public sphere is the fact that this almost exclusive access provides them with a particular means of exerting dominance and power. Thus access to the public is part of the apparatus of power relations between the genders. Through this research, one of the things that came through was men's understanding of this form of male power and their willingness to use this access differently, in more gender-enabling ways. Thus many of the men who were profiled were clearly using their access to public space as a means of enabling women's voices to be heard or for garnering public funds for the needs of women. Khurram Pravez of the Association of Disappeared Persons and Dr Raouf Mohiudin Malik of the Yateem Foundation are outstanding examples of this kind of thinking. Sahu George evoked the highest public forumthe Indian Parliament-when he sought to get pre-natal testing (part of the means by which female foetuses are aborted) banned and more strictly regulated. Girish Kulkarni has initiated a twenty-four hour help line for women, particularly commercial sex workers and women who are forcibly made part of trafficking chains. Other men saw their work as providing a forum for those who are "socially invisible". Ptincc Thangkhiew in Meghalaya works among the women of the North Khasi hill villages and helps them set up small enterprises in their own villages by garnering microcredit resources, while simultaneously fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship. So his journeys back and forth between village households and the offices of the NGO with which he is associated are a way in which the women of the villages are enabled to improve the quality of their lives. Ashok Raw Kavi in Mumbai

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provides a sanctuary space for the "socially marginal" and "invisible" population of gay men by making Humsafar a part of Mumbai's public landscape. His work with HIV/ AIDS patients has been a cross of counselling and health care and in that sense straddles the domains of private individual lives and social collectivities. Public access is therefore deployed in new and innovative ways to raise gender issues and resist the powerlessness imposed by social invisibility. One way in which many of the individual men work is through the formation of self-help groups, with a very real purpose of income generation while simultaneously creating contexts for the group to be together. The sewing centre as well as the pickle making centre set up by the Yateem Foundation in Kashmir docs more than provide income possibilities. It gives the women-many of whom do not even know if their husbands are alive-a place to come together and share some part of their grief with others. Odanaadi has initiated a cooperative enterprise that runs a beauty palour, an ice-cream palour, an automobile unit and a handicrafts emporium where the main purpose is the rehabilitation of rescued sex workers, as well as alternative employment. Self-help groups are a standard development practice. What is interesting about the self-help groups outlined in this volume arc the innovative structures that each of them have and the distinctive raison d'etre for their formation. The organisational principals for Odanaadi are entrepreneurship and enterprise; for the Yateem Foundation it is providing support and creating a space of healing. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the way men "do" gender work is the way in which their work extends toward children. In almost all the instances that were researched, the issue of helping children was critical. Prince Thangkhiew in Meghalaya sees child.ren as the future and wants to work with them because with them he sees the possibility of hope and change. Apart from his work with women and credit, he looks after some children in the villages in which he travels and works. For example, he arranged the money for a little girl who needed an expensive eye operation.

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(In this case, the researcher, Subhashim Goswami's gtandmother, moved by the story of this child, contributed toward the operation's expenses.) Ved and Deep in Kolkata work directly with children who live in railway stations but have seen how their work with children has given an impetus J;o the railway police to come forward and help their work. The police personnel themselves have been enabled by the presence of this NGO to think about issues of domestic violence in their own lives. The relationship between the police and the runaway children is no longer adversarial-instead it is one of care and enablement. The context that has been created is one of "social" fathering. In India, the role of the father is primarily individual, in that it is vested in one person within the family; but it is also possible to expand the role outward to people who are not related by kinship ties. Many of the men profiled see this orientation toward children and the performance of the roles of social fathers as critical to their work. Documenting and recording the life histories of men who do work on gender issues has not been an easy exercise. With the exception of Ashok Raw Kavi and Sabu George who are well known, there is often very little information on such men. Many work in comparative anonymity. Some are reluctant to speak of their work. Stanley and Parashuram for example, are both men from small towns and as such have never been asked to narrate the story of their lives. They did not know where to begin and did not think they were important enough to be documented by our project. Despite the enormous amount of work they are doing, they really did not think they are doing anything exceptional and were reticent. Most of all they had no readily available language in which to articulate what they are doing. They did not come out with stock phrases like "gender sensitive work" or "care work". It was the researcher Shalini Panjabi's probing that got them thinking about their own work as a form of "doing gender work". Neither did the researchers remain unscathed. During the course of his research, people became suspicious when Wasim Yousuf •

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began asking questions about individuals. Given the uncertainties of conflict in Kashmir, the gathering and circulation of information about individuals is not always thought to be "safe" for them. People feel secure with anonymity because obscurity averts the possibility of them becoming targets. Being known is potentially to be a target of unwelcome and often dangerous attention. In such a context, Wasirn's research was seen as disquieting. At one point, he had to suspend doing his work because rumours began circulating about him and his intentions and it was no longer safe for him to continue. He had to renegotiate his position as a researcher and as someone interested in issues of gender before he could resume work again. Subhashim Goswami literally had to take off into the field at a moment's notice, ill-equipped and unprepared, because Prince Thangkiew was leaving for the field at the very moment when Subhashim first met him. Subhashim was faced with the choice of letting his work disappear before his eyes or taking off without warning, in rubber slippers and with insufficient money in his wallet, riding on the top of a bus to the villages where Prince worked. His research, and the research of others, is no\\' before us as a testimony to men who "do gender work''.

Conclusion Feminist theorists like Martha Nussbaum, among others, have argued that agency and human rights have a location in the material conditions of life. None of these material conditions of autonomy or agency are external to the social relations that shape them. It is these social relations that generate concrete supportive practices. As has been mentioned in the first part of this essay, the concept of relational autonomy needs to be extended towards framing and understanding the supportive practices of men as correspondingly relational. It is quite clear from the field research and analysis that support has both a material and a non-material aspect. Second, support practices are diverse in terms of the cultural contexts within which

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they arc articulated. Thus social institutions like family businesses and boys clubs (Chopra. 2000), as well as more formal organisations like the Yatccm Foundation or Odannadi arc contexts in which supportive pmcticcs endure, thus creating their own distinctive practices. How do these conclusions engage with the larger issue of gender equality and domestic democracy? This research has tried to bring into focus the way in which men's support can be outlined and reflected upon. Within cultures of masculinity, peer groups, for example, may become an enabling site within which issues of domestic democracy can be parleyed into a discursive context. For example, networks of friends as co-workers in Kolkata enabled a group of young men to innovate on gender issues through discussions between them. The peer group was an enormously productive site within which violence, resistance, gender justice and supportive practices were debated and created Asserting support as a frame enables us to engage with a particular language and practice of masculinity. In talking about the.mselves and their lives, men did not have a very articulate vocabulary to speak about themselves, except when they were narrating the support they received or had given. Supportive practices are therefore more than an "alternative" frame within which to place men. They enable us to hear an aspect of men's lives and expressions of their subjective positions in ways that have not so far been addressed. Supportive practices arc an idiom which explicate agcntic subjectivities and provide a language of engagement with the lives and cultural locations of men.

References Amin, Sonia. The World of MMS/im Wlllfltll i11 CokJ11ial Be1111'4 1876-1939. Leiden: EJ Brill, 1996. Arnold, David and Stuart Blackburn, (eds.). Telli11g Uws: Biogr11p~, Alllobiogrr,pi!J 1111d Uft History i11 India. Bloomington: Indiana University

Press, 2004.

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Beck-Gernshcim, Elisabeth. RnnlJfflting the Faffli/y: In Searrh of Nn,, Uftstyks. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2002. Chamberlain, Mary and Paul Thompson (eds.). Na"afive and Gmrt, London: Routledge, 1998. Chatterjee, Partha. '"The Nationalist Resolution of the Women's Question". In Sangari, Kumkum and Sudesh Vaid, (eds.) Re,asting Wo11Jen: Essays in ColoniaJ HiJtory. New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1989. Chopra Radhika (ed.). F,-o,,, Viokn&e to Sllj)port: Fa,,,ify, Gmtkr and MasC11liflifies in lflliia. New Delhi: UNIFEM, 2000. Chopra, Radhika. &thinking Pro-F,,,,inim: Men, Work and Fa,,,ify in Iflliia. '"The Role of Men and Boys in Achieving Gender Equality'' - EGM, 2003 www.un.org/womenwatch/ daw / egm/ men-boys2003/EP12Chopra.pdf Forbes, Geraldine. Wo11Jen in Motkrn India. The New Cambridge History of India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Kopf, David. British Orienta/i111J and the Bengal Renaissan&e. Calcutta: Firma K. L. Mukhopadhyay, 1969. Kumar, Radha. The HiJtory

of Doing: An Ilbtstrattd A,ro11nt of Movements far

· Wo11Jen} Rights and Feminism in Iflliia, 1800-1990. New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1993. Mackenzie, Catriona and Natalie Stoljar. Relational A11tono11Jy: FeminiJt Pmpe,tives on Alltonomy, Age,uy and the Soda/ Se!f. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Mani, Lata. "Con tentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India". In Sangari, Kumkum and Sudesh Vaid (eds.). &,asting Wo11Jen: .E ssays in Cohnial HiJtory. New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1989. Rapport, Nigel and Andrew Dawson (eds.). Migrants of Identity: Pmeptions of Home in a World of Movement. Oxford: Berg, 1998. Sarkar, Sumit. '"The Women's Question in Nineteenth Century Bengal". In Sangari, Kumkum and Sudesh Vaid (eds.). Women and C11ihlrt. Bombay: SNOT Women's University, 1985.

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MEN AGAINST TRAFFICKING



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DISRUPTING THE CHAIN Shalini Panjabi

ne of the most pernicious forms of violence against women is the trafficking of women and minor girls for sexual labour and exploitation. Odanaadi-set up by Stanley and Parashuram-is engaged in the rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficked victims. In the area where Odanaadi operates, the trafficked victims are mainly minor girls who have been trafficked for the sex trade. Formally established in 1992, Odanaadi is based in Mysore, in southern Karnataka. As a small city, Mysore forms the first link in the "supply chain" of young girls, who are abducted and lured from the surrounding villages for the brothels of Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.

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Odanaadi's work focuses on the prevention of trafficking, and the prosecution of traffickers. Odanaadi has been instrumental in getting more than a hundred traffickers convicted , while helping in the rescue and rehabilitation of four hundred women and children. Presently, more than a hundred women and children live in Odanaadi, trying to rebuild their lives.

Beginnings Like many projects, Odanaadi started accidentally. Stanley and Parashuram were student activists, and while their concerns and actions were directed at highlighting various social issues, their specific work with trafficked victims and women involved in prostitution began accidentally. 1 In 1990, both of them were working as Coordinators in the Total Literacy Project. Every week they also jointly wrote a feature article for Andolana, a Kannada newspaper. While researching a feature on jhatlea111allah1 (drivers of horse-drawn carriages), they had a chance encounter with a streetwalker, Radhamma. Even as they chatted to her, onlookers jeered at them for talking to a prostitute. As they talked to her and moved away, she shouted after them that people like her were just stories for them, stories they would benefit from, while her miserable life would carry on just the same. D isturbed by this incident, they returned a couple of days later. As they persuaded her to speak, they heard about a world they barely knew e:x.isted-a world where women survived precariously on the streets, experiencing severe humiliation and .

1. I use the terms 'prostitute', 'prostitution' and 'streetwalkers' in this report as these arc the terms consciously employed by Stanley, Parashuram and the staff of Odanaadi. While they talked of 'sex work', they never used the term 'sex worker'. This is in consonance with their position that prostitution is not a profession like any other. The inherent exploitation at every level does not sit easy with the label 'work'.

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beatings, and extortions by pimps and policemen. Radhamma's husband was an alcoholic who had quit his job. Radhamma had begun by looking for work as a coolu (unskilled manual labourer), but she soon realised that employers would give her work only if she slept with them. What started as a precondition for a daily wage job gradually became her primary source of income. When Stanley and Parashuram met her, it was her only means of support for herself and her young son. Stanley and Parashuram wanted her to leave prostitution, but she had no other means to cam money. They began by taking up Radhamma's "not very difficult" challenge to help her on a sustained basis by giving her eight hundred rupees per month. This helped her to eventually give up prostitution and educate her son Nanjunda, who is now a lawyer. The path Stanley and Parashuram close to follow since that day owes a great deal to Radhamma. From their account it is clear that Radhamma was a remarkable woman. She was not just a victim they helped but a catalyst who helped them shape their lives and vision. Unfortunately she died a few years ago of tuberculosis but her son Nanjunda still lives at Odanaadi. He is a self-possessed young man, who tutors and nurtures the children who come there, even as he strives to develop his career. Stanley and Parashuram have themselves come a long way in these intervening years. Their initial involvement in the issue developed, as Radhamma began bringing other streerwalkers to them for help. These women's lives were moulded by their profession and while many of them continued to work as prostitutes, they all wanted better lives for their children. More than for themselves, the women would ask for assistance for their children who were growing up on the streets. Stanley and Parashuram began by trying to feed, clothe, and educate these children. Initially they would get some food from restaurants and give it to them, but they soon began buying provisions and cooking for them. The children would come to their house in the evening and eat with them. Stanley and Parashuram provided clothes and other essentials and also admitted some of

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the children to a nearby school. As they combined caring for the children with efforts to continue their jobs, much of their salary went towards caring for the children. They took on additional part-time jobs-with the polio campaign, as theatre trainers, as scriptwriters-to earn more money. They would also periodically approach friends to donate money, asking them to help the women by providing alternative employment. A few of the women began working as housemaids, while some others were helped to set up petty businesses. Stanley and Parashuram soon realised the complexities and difficulties of their work. Meeting the expenses was one; the bigger obstacle was fighting the stigma attached to these women. In the first couple of years, they were forced to move house more than ten times, as neighbours and landlords complained about prostitutes coming openly to their house. While shifting residence, they had to ensure there was no disturption in the care they were providing to the children. By thls time, some of the children had begun to live with them. Stanley and Parashuram discovered that though the three children who were going to the school from their house left on time and returned at the expected hour, they were actually not going to school. Stanley followed them one day, and saw them going to an empty lot nearby and spend the day playing, till it was time to return. As he talked to them and asked why, they told him that not just the other children, even the schoolmaster called them names, and insulted and humiliated them because they were children of prostitutes. Stanley and Parashuram decided to teach the children at home. They began by doing the teaching, but they were too stretched for time-so they engaged a young teacher who would come in for a few hours. As the scope of their activities increased, and they felt the need for more funds and people to work with them, they set up the Odanaadi Seva Samsthe as a trust in 1992. With the setting up of Odanaadi, their activities in the field were formalised. Odanaadi means soul mate in Kannada, a friend for all seasons, someone who is there through thick and thln. In Stanley and

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Parashuram's vision, the organisation would help prostitutes and their children grow together and make a new beginning. Through the last decade, Odanaadi 's range of activities has continued to grow. It has also expanded physically and organisationally. Odanaadi now functions from its own independent premises on a large site allotted to them by the Government of Kamataka at a very nominal price. Presently, the women and the children stay in a small. unplanned structure that was built room by room-but they will soon be shifting to a big, new building. This is on the same premises, and has been designed to accom.m odate nearly two hundred girls. Though still a shell, the new building is being used as the office. Stanley, Parashuram, and the other staff members work out of bare rooms with only a few plastic chairs and a couple of tables in each room. There are no electrical fittings or bathrooms. The building has been under construction for the last three years, with work being undertaken sporadically, depending on the availability of funds. The building is meant to be completed when the next instalment from a central government scheme arrives. As Stanley told me, the progress of the building is indicative of the way Odanaadi has grown. They have big dreams, but realisation has come in bits and pieces. Often the financial support they have received for their projects has been short-term, and their resources have been stretched. Yet, Odanaadi has continued to grow; its size and range of activities much larger than Stanley and Parashuram had imagined when they started. The idea of a big building was far from their minds when they started Odanaadi-they were not even sure what their area of focus would be. They just knew they wanted to make a substantial difference to the lives of the streetwalkers and their children. To do that they first had to learn more. Soon after setting up Odanaadi, they undertook a ten-month pilot study on the living conditions of pros,titutes in Mysore. During the course of the study, they met more than a thousand women - practically all the prostitutes of the city. They would ask them questions about their lifestyle, their children, their relationships with men, their earnings, their

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links with the hotels and lodges where they usually entertained their customers, their health, their villages and their families - in short about all aspects of their lives. The study Bodies far a Meal lays out the mechanisms of the trade and the lives of the women engaged in it. Amongst the most striking realisations from the study was the large number of minors involved in the trade. Most of the streetwalkers had been victims of trafficking as minors. They had been lured or abducted from their villages, and taken to brothels in the cities. The younger they were, the higher the demand, with the customers willing to pay high prices for them. Minors were, (and are), a very good source of income for brothel-keepers. However, by the time they reached their twenties, the girls would begin to lose their value. As they grew older, customers increasingly paid less for them, and they earned less for the brothel owner. By the time they were around twenty-five, the brothel owners would throw them out of the brothels, in keeping with the 'conswne and discard' attitude that underlies traffickin~ These women had no optjon then but to ply their trade on the streets, earning their living the only way they knew. , Though Stanley and Parashuram began by working with the prostitutes living on the streets, when they established Odanaadi as a rehabilitation centre very few of them came to stay there. It became more a centre for their children, and increasingly for minor girls rescued from the brothels. Now, it is the rescue and rehabilitation of minor girls that can be said to be the primary focus of Odanaadi's work. Stanley and Parashuram formally define their work as rescuing and rehabilitating victims of trafficking-although some victims of domestic violence are also presently living in Odanaadi. Children can be trafficked for various trades: begging, sale of organs, camel jockeying, bonded labour, or the sex trade. Two girls living presently at Odanaadi have been rescued from begging gangs. Some of the boys at Odanaadi, children of prostitutes, were practically being forced to work as bonded labour by the brothel-keepers. However, most minor girls are trafficked for the sex trade-and their rescue and rehabilitation remains the focus of Odanaadi's work..

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Odanaadi Today There are several groups and organisations in different parts of the country who work for victims of the sex trade; Stllnley and Parashuram consider their work as different primarily in the range of their activities. Their work encompasses the prevention of trafficking, the attempts to get traffickers convicted, the rescue of minor girls from brothels, and the rehabilitation of these girls. They work (i) to catch the men who abduct or entice the girls from the villages, (ii) to gather information on the networks, (iii) to organise and conduct "rescue operations" in various brothels in and around Mysore, where minor girls and even women held against their will are rescued from the brothels, and (v) to legally pursue ch:uges against the traffickers, while working on the rehabilitation of the rescued girls. The rehabilitation is at various levels: starting from counselling and therapy, the provision of education, training for alternative employment and attempts to reintegrate the girls with their families. Simultaneously, Stllnley and Parashuram and the staff of Odanaadi work towards the prevention of further trafficking in various ways, including conducting awareness campaigns in the villages in the area.

Trafficking and Its Prevention I will begin by delineating the various modes of trapping the girls who are trafficked. I have reconstructed this by talking to Stllnley and Parashuram, the staff of Odanaadi and some of the rescued girls. The usual modus operandi is for a villager or sometimes even a relative to offer the young girls jobs in the city. The person accompanies the girls to the city, Mysore in this case, and then takes them to houses where they are forcibly confined using differing ruses. Some of the stories I heard were about girls being offered food which made them lose consciousness. There were also a few instances of the accompanying person abandoning the girls on some pretext and not returning. In all these cases, the trapped girl would soon be

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informed that she had been sold, (for amounts ranging from five thousand to fifty thousand rupees), that she would now have to be a sex worker to recover the money. Their training--or "taming" as Stanley called it-would begin in a couple of days. They would be beaten, physically tortured, forcibly shown pornographic films and sexually assaulted by the brothel-keepers. The girls actually had no option, and after a few days would have to give in and begin sex work. Once in the brothel, the girls were virtually controlled through debt bondage. This was enforced by violence, threats, and near total confinement within the brothel premises. The girls picked up for trafficking in the sex trade are usually in the age group of thirteen to fifteen, though sometimes they can be as young as ten. Girls around thirteen, who have recently attained puberty, are the most valued as they command good prices. And amongst these, a virgin usually commanded the highest price. Thus, if a girl's initiation did not include rape, the brothel owner could ask for a lot of money from the first man who would sleep with her. The prices customers are willing to pay for a girl decrease with each passing week she remains in the brothel. Thus, in the first six months, the girls are usually moved around different houses in the same city, or to other cities in Kamataka, before being finally taken to the brothels in the big cities. Stanley and Parashuram called this the "supply chain": the various stages through which a girl from a village reaches the red light areas of Mumbai, Delhi or Kolkata. There are traffickers at various levels, each part of a cash nexus as the girl is passed on. So trafficking functions through networks. Mysore, as a small city, is the first transit point in the long chain. The nature of Odanaadi's work, the focus on the traffickers, also stems from the physical location in a supply area. At Odanaadi, Stanley and Parashuram attempt to prevent the girls from being trafficked, by attacking various links in the supply chain. At the first level in the chain are the. village level recruiters of girls-the traffickers who either lure the girls directly or pay others to take them to the city on different pretexts. Once they have

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delivered the girl or girls to a brothel in Mysore, they receive their payment, and move on to find the next victim in another village. To trap these traffickers, efforts have to obviously be made at the village level. At Odanaadi, the staff has spent a lot of time initiating and building up a network of informers, who report any suspicious person to them. The informers include alert villagers, stall owners at railway stations and bus stops, itinerant salesmen and school teachers. While attempting to catch traffickers, the Odanaadi staff also work actively to prevent further trafficking. The formation of village-level vigilant groups has been crucial in pursuing this objective. These have been set up in thirty villages in the districts of Mysore, Chamrajnagar and Mandya. The vigilant groups are typically made ~ of local leaders, government officials, women activists, and representatives from people's movements like the Raitha Sangha (Farmers' Association), which has a strong presence in southern Karnataka. The village-level vigilant groups work as watchdogs by gathering information about the traffickers from the area, and by maintaining a record of girls working outside the villages. If a relative or a neighbour takes a girl to a city, even for a day or so, the group or committee has to ensure that the girl is brought back safely. In case of the girl accepting some employment in the town, members of the committee travel to the town to check on the employment context. Vigilant groups also follow up on ongoing legal cases against traffickers, while collecting and disseminating information about the traffickers in their areas of operation. By encouraging this 'social policing', Odanaadi is also trying to increase the involvement of the community. If the alertness and vigilance at the village-level is heightened, it will be difficult for the traffickers to be successful in their operations. Stanley and Parashuram realise that everyday activities cannot be seen as innocent given the prevalence of trafficking of minor girls in the area-and they seek to make the villagers equally conscious. Awareness campaigns are thus critical to Odanaadi's work, and arc among a slew of preventive measures they employ to prevent future trafficking. The awareness campaigns initiated by Odanaadi

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work through a series of sustained interaction, meetings, and street plays at the village and the taiN/e (administrative division) level in the districts of Mysore, Chamrajnagar and Mandya. Vigilant groups are also involved in these campaigns, and they organise regular meetings with the objective of alerting villagers in the source areas to the possibility of their daughters being trafficked. There is a concomitant focus on spreading legal literacy, informing villagers about their rights under the law and the measures to be instituted should their daughters go missing.

Rescuing Trafficked Girls Harnessing the vigilance and the alertness of people in Mysore city and surrounding towns to notice and report has also been critical for another aspect of Odanaadi's attempts to curb trafficking. These are what they call "rescue operations", conducted when they receive definite information about any place where minor girls are being kept for prostitution. This could be a house, often in a residential locality, which is being used as a brothel, or it could be a hotel or a lodge. Initial information comes in from various quarters - alert neighbours, salesmen who stay at the lodges, plumbers or electricians who might have been called for some repair work to the house, and even from customers. But the field activists of Odanaadi play the most important role here. Some of the field activists have been prostitutes themselves, and their knowledge of the trade and continuing contacts with people within it is indispensable for building on the initial information. The process of verifying the initial information, and then attempting to charge as many people in the supply chain, has to be done carefully and diligently. Depending on the modus operandi employed by the traffickers in each case, the field activists, Stanley and Parashuram, and some other members of the staff plan their strategy to ensnare them. This usually involves the use of decoys -with various members of Odanaadi acting in different roles, pretending to be customers or

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buyers for the minor girls, and especially attempting to comer the main trafficker(s) who arc very wary and resist coming out. The conversations and meetings with the different individuals in the network are recorded secretly, to be used later as evidence in the courts. On a day when the transaction is to actually take place, the Odaoaadi activists appear with the police to arrest the traffickers and rescue the girls. Since 1998, Odanaadi has helped to unearth twentyfive trafficking networks--including an international network and various interstate networks. 115 traffickers have been booked under the law with the active intervention of Odanaadi. The follow-up to each rescue operation takes a lot of time. Once the trafficker is arrested and booked, the case goes to the court where it often drags on for years. The cases arc usually fought by public prosecutors, but without Odanaadi's active involvement and pressure, there would probably have been no convictions. The public prosecutors are often tardy in their work, and they are not helped by the police's inefficiency-or worse-