Zubaan has helped provide relief to marginalised women and communities through its partner organisations in Assam, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Manipur, Rajasthan and West Bengal. As of June 2020, more than 1100 women and their families have received rations, sanitation kits, reproductive health kits, medicines, etc. based on requirements identified by partner organisations (listed at the end of this page). While immediate relief for pressing and often unmet needs is our first priority, especially for single women, women with disabilities, and those from marginalised communities, we are also working on building awareness of, and producing focused resources on, the impact of the lockdown on women, queer, trans and other marginalised identities. This page will be updated regularly with new activities, resources and partnerships.
Covid-19 Impact on Women in Assam: Zubaan’s partner organization Women’s Leadership Training Centre, based out of Assam, has been doing relief work in Assam to support women in distress and affected by the COVID-19 lockdown. In the process, WLTC surveyed 200 women from 11 districts in Assam on the impact of the lockdown on their lives. A brief version of the report is now online. To read more about their work, click here.
Through Her Lens is a visual research programme in collaboration with Zubaan Publishers Pvt Ltd., supported by Sasakawa Peace Foundation, under the Fragrance of Peace Project. It aims to expand women’s photographic practices in the eight Northeast Indian states and Darjeeling Hills.
THL: Reframing the Domestic aims to visually manifest the experiences of women, queer and other marginalized identities within the domestic space, in Northeast India and Darjeeling Hills, during the current COVID-19 crisis and the contestations, negotiations, etc. that emerge from them. To read more and view the full exhibition, please click here.
Through Her Lens: Conversations on Reframing the Domestic is a webinar series curated to engage with the issues of present challenges — the lockdown, the collapse of the ‘public’ and the ‘private’ space, the merging of paid, unpaid work, etc. and photographers navigating their own domestic space and documenting intimate relations. This makes it a deeply personal work for anyone and the act of photography acquires new meaning. The distance between the documentarian and the subject, between the storyteller and the story, has evidently collapsed.
To further delve into dialogue and experiences with feminists and queer researchers, activists and photographers in Northeast India, Zubaan Publishers in collaboration with Sikkim based curators, Mridu Rai and Anushya Pradhan, hopes to further engage with the question of the impact of a global pandemic and lockdown on communities in the Northeast.
A Crisis of Care is a series of conversations on the issues posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown in India, featuring feminist activists, researchers and writers. This series addresses the themes of caste, class, racism, Islamophobia, ecology, LGBTQ+ rights, disability, etc. focusing on each theme through a gendered lens.
We frame this set of conversations as being rooted in the feminist principles of collectiveness, compassion and care that should be driving responses (ours as well as the state’s) to the public health emergency and the parallel humanitarian crises it has led to.
16 April 2020: Social distancing, social exclusion and caste with speakers Ajita Rao and V Geetha.
Aijta Rao has been in the autonomous women’s movement for the last two decades. She identifies as a Democratic Dalit Feminist activist. She is presently associated with WSS as one of the national Convenors.
V. Geetha is a historian, publisher and co-director of Tara Books (Chennai) and a well-known scholar working on feminism and caste. Some of her path-breaking works include Patriarchy (Stree 2007), Gender(Stree 2002) and Towards a Non-Brahmin Millennium (Bhaktal & Sen 1998). Most recently, she is the author of Undoing Impunity: Speech After Sexual Violence (Zubaan, 2016).
21 April 2020: Racism and Islamophobia with speakers Alana Golmei, North East Support Centre & Helpline, and Hasina Khan, Bebaak Collective
Hasina Khan is a feminist activist based in Mumbai who has been part of women’s movements for over three decades. She is the founder of Bebaak Collective, a women’s alliance that focuses on human rights and the rights of Muslim women.
Alana Golmei is a Delhi-based lawyer and human rights activist. In 2007, she started the North East Support Centre & Helpline with the aim of preventing harassment, discrimination and abuse meted out to people from Northeast India living in Delhi and its NCR, particularly women.
25 April 2020: Ecological Shifts & Perspectives with speakers Shomona Khanna and Vandana Singh
Shomona Khanna is an advocate working on rights of adivasis and forest dwellers, who has also published several books and articles on the subject. She has set up the Legal Resource Centre which is a collective of lawyers and experts working on the issue of adivasi rights in india. She has also worked closely on the issue of sexual harassment at the workplace, and edited a book written by Indira Jaising on the subject.
Vandana Singh was born and raised in New Delhi, and currently lives in the United States near Boston, where she professes physics and writes. Her short stories have appeared in numerous venues and several Best of Year anthologies, including the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. She is the author of the ALA Notable book Younguncle Comes to Town (Young Zubaan/Puffin India, 2004) and a previous short story collection, The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet and Other Stories (Zubaan/Penguin India, 2009).
30 April 2020: Queer and Trans Communities’ Experiences with speakers Raj, A Revathi and Chayanika Shah
Raj wears more than one hat. Literally and metaphorically. Time is divided between working with animals or on mental health. Raj is a Trustee of Parcham — a collective that uses football to engage with adolescent girls.
A Revathi is a writer and activist working with sexual minorities, for women’s rights and HIV awareness. Until 2010, she worked with SANGAMA and is now involved in theatre work that has been performed nationally and internationally. She has written three books, Feelings of the Entire Body, The Truth About Meand A Life in Trans Activism, and name is featured on the walls of the Butler Library at Columbia University.
Chayanika Shah is a queer feminist activist, researcher, teacher who has been part of the autonomous feminist movements and queer organising for several years as a member of two collectives, Forum Against Oppression of Women and LABIA -A Queer Feminist LBT Collective. She has co-authored No Outlaws in the Gender Galaxy, a Zubaan publication, with Raj, Smriti Nevatia and Shals Mahajan.
A Mangai is a theatre person, translator and academician.
5 May 2020: Impact on People with Disability with speakers Nidhi Goyal, Shampa Sengupta and Bhaotina Mushahary
Nidhi Goyal is the Founder and Executive Director of Rising Flame, a Mumbai-based non-profit working for the rights of persons with disabilities, with a focus on women and youth with disabilities. She’s been appointed to the UN Women Executive Director’s Civil Society Advisory Group, she sits on the advisory board of VOICE, a grant making project of the Dutch Ministry; she is the board president of the global non-profit Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID).
Shampa Sengupta is an activist working on gender & disability issues. She is the founder of the advocacy group Sruti Disability Rights Centre, a non-funded advocacy group in Kolkata that works on disability and gender rights. Presently, her focus is on policy level changes for women with disabilities, and she has been working on making Indian laws and policies on women pertinent to the lives of women with disabilities.
Bhaotina Mushahary is a women’s rights activist based out of Assam. She is the co-Founder and Managing Trustee of the Action for Inclusion and Empowerment Trust (AIET), a voluntary non-profit NGO based in Kokrajhar which was set up to work towards the inclusion and empowerment of women living with disabilities.
Preeti Saini and Manisha Sharma are from the Association of Sign Language Interpreters
The Working Group of Women for Land Ownership (WGWLO), Gujarat
Aajeevika Bureau, Rajasthan
Sruti DisAbility Rights Centre, West Bengal
Stree Jagruti Samiti, Karnataka
Women’s Leadership Training Centre, Assam
Resident’s Welfare Association, Shahpur Jat