BENGALURU: "The Swachh Bharath motto should include clear minds and clean streets. It's not only clean streets that will make India, clean minds are equally important", says Nikitha Sridhar, as she gears up for the performance on women harassment. Nikitha, along with her two friends Shiva Kumar R and Karthik Krish, are to perform in the street play titled, 'Sthree Mulam hee dharma', which means that the root of dharma is indeed women.
As a form of protest against the rising number of rapes in the country, this performance aims at sending out hard-hitting messages around women harassment. Fitting with the theme of Mother's Day, that just went by, the play works around the bonding between the mother and her daughter. No words will be used in the entire performance - the stories will be told with the help of a song, and the emotions will be conveyed through their mime act. "Through our play, we want to send the message across, that even the woman should be socially responsible for her safety. There is a difference between freedom and independence, both ends should be working towards it," says Nikitha.
Karthik Krish says the play puts out an important message to the men out there, that women are not the weaker sex. " Most men don't respect women. They feel women should be restricted to the kitchen. I myself know so many talented people who have wasted their talent after getting married. Wherever women go, they are subjugated to different kinds of harassment. This street play talks about harassment the women go through in school, in office and even at home. We want to tell the public they are not weak, it is you who is making them weak."
Getting angered with the dilly-dallying of judgements on the recent rape cases, Nikitha demands that the Prime Minister looks into making stringent laws against the rapists. "There are many laws that the government has brought about, the GST for example. When they can look at other kinds of laws, why can't they look at this issue? When they can take such a big step such as demonetisation, why can't they look at this? Right now there is no law to protect us, but that can be changed. I'm not asking for the ultimatum of death but as law-abiding citizens, all we ask is for laws to protect us," says Nilkitha.
Nikitha further adds by saying that providing for seats in elections and reservation in buses are not what we are limited to. She says, "We want something beyond all of this, we just want safety."
Nikitha, Shiva and Karthik have formed a group called 'life'. They work towards spreading awareness on various issues, including menstruation, sanitary pads and women harassment. "The three of us were very passionate about doing something for the society. Though we are not from rich families, with whatever pocket money we got, we went to blind schools. Those interested have joined and now we have not registered for anything. It's only the three of us that generate the funds. Since we are earning now, we can do it. We expect moral support. We also met street beggars in the market. We also tried to talk to them. We distributed food packets. We have a lot of aspirations and dreams, but it should be channelised in a proper way and with good support."