March 8, 2009 – Fearless Karnataka/Nirbhaya Karnataka’s Take Back the Night/Take back the Street at Banappa Park, Bangalore on International Women’s Day saw 500 hundred people gather between 9pm and 11pm. The celebratory mood at the event was evident from the variety of performances that included songs, plays, dances, and video projections. Maraa, a theatre collective, performed a street play related to the spate of attacks on women that Bangalore has witnessed in the last month. The organisers, in a unique display, collected clothes that women were wearing when they were harassed on the streets. These were displayed on a clothes line amidst the audience, and in addition to the usual suspects of sleeveless t-shirts and jeans were also ordinary salwar kameezes and kurtas.
These performances were interspersed with testimonials from women who talked about harassment and discrimination. Revathi from Sangama talked about harassment of women who are sexual minorities including hijras. Yashoda from Karnataka Dalit Mahila Vedike spoke of the oppression faced by Dalit women and girls including sexual exploitation.
The event at Bannappa Park was preceded by a series of interactions by members of Fearless Karnataka/ Nirbhaya Karnataka in locations across Bangalore where women have been recently attacked. They performed street plays and conducted an opinion poll to get responses from bystanders on their views and reactions to women being harassed on the streets. These locations were Rest House Road, Cunningham Road, CMH Road, Ulsoor and Vasantha nagar.