The event was open for all, and the activists of OBR Bangladesh, lead by Khushi Kabir, started the program on schedule in spite of several obstacles
Bangladeshi activists of the worldwide movement, One Billion Rising (OBR), held a beautiful cultural program yesterday at Rabindra Sarobar. The event was a cultural program featuring flash mob, songs, dance, fire-spinning, and a live concert.
This cultural event is an annual program of OBR Bangladesh, usually held on Valentine’s Day. The event happened yesterday with the theme, “Obhijaan Theke Jiboner Pothe,” which in English may broadly be read, “from expedition on to the path of life.”
The event was open for all, and the activists of OBR Bangladesh, lead by Khushi Kabir, started the program on schedule in spite of several obstacles.
At first, a police officer came and wanted to see the permission for the program. After he was shown the documents, establishing the booking of Rabindra Sarobar for the event, he wanted the OBR Bangladesh team to speak to his superior. After Khushi Kabir spoke to the Officer in Charge of that police officer, he relented.
Right after that, the weather turned windy and a few isolated drops of rain fell to challenge the OBR team once again. However, the event started with a flash mob by an Actionaid Bangladesh dance group at 5pm, just as the organizers had planned. With the energetic performance of the dance group the clouds gave way to the last rays of the setting sun.
The cool and windy environment near the lake was the perfect setting for such an initiative.
People, close by were drawn by the flash mob music and all took seats at the steps of the Sarobor amphitheatre, to watch the program in rapt attention.
Khushi Kabir, coordinator of the organization Nijera Kori, gave a valiant speech about the reasons for holding the event. In her speech she said: “I hope that all the brothers and sisters who are present here today, hate the harassment of women. Harassment is most definitely inhumane, but it is also one of the biggest embarrassments of mankind, that some people oppress, harass, and rape women.
“The movement, OBR Bangladesh, which in Bangla is ‘Uddome Uttorone Shotokoti’ (on the path of enthusiasm one billion are rising), began in 2013. Every year we do many activities as part of our movement. According to United Nation’s statistics, we learn that one in three women is oppressed, harassed, tortured and raped,” Khushi added.
After Khushi’s speech, Podmini Chakma recited a poem, “Amake Dhorshon Koro”, written by an activist, following the rape of three indigenous women in Bangladesh. The words of the poem powerfully spoke about the innocence of women, how they are perceived as objects, and how they are harassed.
After the poetry recitation, the Samageet choir performed some group songs.
Poi Nation, the pyrotechnic performing group, mesmerized the audience with a fire-spinning show after the group songs. Two bands, an all female band, F Minor, and Shohojia, rocked the audience to bring the cultural program to a close.F
According to many estimates, there are seven billion people living on this earth, and if half of the world population is women, the entire number of women amounts to three-point-five billion. As per UN statistics published in 2012, one in three women is facing some kind of harassment.
The famous playwright, actor, and performer, Eve Ensler, best known for penning “The Vagina Monologues,” founded the global movement of One Billion Rising in 2012. OBR Bangladesh started their journey in 2013 with the help of many organizations comprised of women.
Khushi told Dhaka Tribune Showtime: “The idea behind One Billion Rising is that if one billion women raise their voices about this cause, then probably the harassment of women will stop. The movement spread to 200 countries of the world in 2013, and various kinds of programs were held on Valentine’s Day of that year. We also had our first event of OBR Bangladesh on the same date, February 14, 2013. This was right after the death of blogger Rajib in Mirpur, who was murdered on February 13, 2013.
“We paid our respects to his departed soul and formed a human chain across the entire city of Dhaka to denounce violence against women. In the evening, we organized the first of this annual cultural program at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, where we had dance, songs, and even a painting competition.
“Since, I was in communication with Eve, she requested me to take the responsibility of the movement in Bangladesh,” Khushi added.