A self defense workshop was organized by the Chandigarh Police in collaboration with an NGO Swayam, working on women’s rights and safety, the launch of which was held in the gymnasium hall of Panjab University on June 12, 2017. It saw the participation of as many as 270 girls from schools in the Tricity.
Chandigarh’s Governor and administrator Shri. V.P. Singh Badnore attended the event as the chief guest. The event was also graced by the presence of BJP MP from Chandigarh, Mrs. Kirron Kher. The event commenced with a melodious tune of a woman singing to the tunes of the tabla and other instruments. This was followed by an emotionally charged ‘Nukkad Natak’ directed by Mr. Shiv Kumar Kohli, himself a black belt, and director of the Naina Educational Society. The Nukkad Natak described the story of a young girl, born into a lower caste-orthodox family who despite all odds, studies to complete her education to be at a better place in life. This was met by a roaring applause from the audience and girls who participated in the workshop, leaving them more inspired and motivated than ever.
After this, various demos were presented to safeguard one self in case of an attack, molestation, kidnapping, snatching, eve teasing, fights, harassment in different public spaces etc. Circumstances precise as pulling of hair, verbal fights, ATM thefts, harassment in buses, snatching of bags, etc. were kept in mind while chalking out the self defense moves to safeguard self from these situations. Techniques and tricks used for the same were punches, elbow strikes, blows, knuckle strikes, fist attacks etc. The limelight of the show was stolen away by the ‘lady singham of India’, a holder of Limca Book of Records for karate who displayed her self defense skills by thrashing away two boys. She also demoed breaking a glass with a bare fist without hurting one self in case of situations of danger.
The performances came to an end with the girls, who attended the workshop, displaying the ‘kata’ moves required for a yellow belt in karate which was promptly followed by Mr. Shiv Kumar singing ‘ Choddo kal ki baat purani, naye daur mei milkar likhenge nayi kahani, hum Hindustani, Hum Hindustani’.
Panjab University VC, Dr. Arun Kumar Grover, addressed the gathering by expressing his happiness over the workshop being organized at the Gymnasium Hall of PU where the convocation ceremonies take place, and PHDs are awarded to the students, out of which 2/3rd are girls.
This was followed by a rather emotionally overwhelming speech from Mrs. Kirron Kher who mentioned that she doesn’t like the song ‘Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya na Kijo‘ since she likes the version, ‘Har Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo’, as she said it’s a lot more colourful being born as a daughter in India. Sharing a personal anecdote about her sister taking care of their father, she encouraged boys leaving their parents’ homes after marriage to look after their parents, rather than girls, calling for a change in the prevalent norms. She also talked about the initiative of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padao’ and the importance of the same in the current scenario.
After this, pamphlets for Swayam workshop were unveiled by Governor Badnore, Chandigarh DGP Tajender Singh Luthra, Mrs. Kirron Kher and Mr. Arun Grover. The principals of the schools in the city, who cooperated with the Chandigarh Police for this workshop, were also awarded with mementos by the Governor.
The event took a serious turn with the Governor’s speech stressing on the importance and requirement of enormous transformation in the mindset of the people. As women are becoming increasingly self-reliant, financially independent and assertive of their identity, the society has to give women their rightful place, he said.
He praised the performers and the displays of the various tricks and techniques by the girls and said,
“Most of the crimes committed on women are due to lack of basic moral education which a child should learn from home. Women as mothers should teach good values to their children. Our small male children should be taught how to respect women, right from the beginning. India is a country where woman is worshiped and treated as a goddess on one hand and on the other, they are being violated at homes. It is a symptom of mental sickness.”
The Governor, recollecting the tragic incident of Nirbhaya gang rape, talked about the law passed for lowering of the age of the offenders from 18 to 16 so that they can be tried for crimes as horrendous as rape. Stressing on the role of the police in such crimes, he advised them to treat cases of rape as urgent as other cases such as robbery and suggested setting up of dedicated helpline and control room for all women-related crimes.
The DGP, Mr. Tajender Singh Luthra, concluded the event with his speech mentioning that Women and Child Unit of Chandigarh Police has been conducting Self Defense Training Programme since 2012 for the girls of the schools and colleges of Chandigarh. He said that, “As many as 5000 girls have been trained under this programme till date. Besides this Special Summer camps on self defense have also been organized by the Chandigarh Police. So far 2573 girls have been trained on self defense techniques during 2017.”
Later, the Governor handed over 45 Activa Bikes to the Women Police officials who would work round the clock to redress the problems of the women and children in Chandigarh.
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Constantly shifting from super energetic to unimaginably lazy while watching Sherlock episodes all day. I’m an enthusiast for good food, great music, enthralling conversations and of course, beautiful literature. Trying to make a difference, one word and one place at a time.