Woman and her strength

KATHMANDU: While entire world celebrated the 100th International Women’s Day on March 8, Alliance Francaise in Kathmandu (AFK) made it a week-long occasion. Calling it ‘Week of the Women’, AFK organised several programmes from March 8-14 with and for women from different walks of life.

Women’s day celebrated by Nepali women artists on March 12 was one of a kind celebration. Ashmina Ranjit executed a thought provoking artistic performance and message oriented installation to celebrate womanhood. Ranjit had donned an outfit with sanitary pads on it and a thin pipe wound round her waist symbolically showcasing the menstrual process by removing the pads one-by-one after pouring a little amount of red colour (symbolising blood) on it. Along with the bold performance, she also set up ‘Installation: Restroom’ on similar theme.

She said her performance is a protest against male domination and also a celebration of womanhood. “Women are dominated by men and are isolated during the menstruation period as if they have committed a crime. The fact

is that menstruation is a natural phenomenon without which creation would come to a standstill… a full stop.”

The Dattatraya Cultural Group (DCG), a women’s band from Bhaktapur, enthralled the audience with their rocking performances. The band of eight young women, all attired in clothes designed out of Haku Patasi (typical Newari black sari with red border), performed some typical, improvised, remixed and fusion Newari tunes.

“Women in Bhaktapur were previously not allowed to play any kind

of musical instruments. So, challenging the social taboos, I took

an initiation and not only learned

to play but also formed an all women’s band,” said vocalist Indira Lachhimashyu.

Shree Tara, another women’s band, also entertained the audiences with numbers like Lekali, Hey mera bhai and their original number Maiti among others.

Earlier on March 10, women from different sectors of society shared the joys and pathos of their lives and career. Jeena Lindgren shared how she became a pilot despite facing troubles in her schooldays, family and marriage. Similarly, Poonam Pathak shared how she led a new life after her husband’s demise when their child was just three weeks old. Sharing her professional experiences, film-maker and journalist Subina Shrestha said, “Being vocal on women issues alone is not enough to empower them. We need to understand the ground reality of women in society and be committed to empowering them.”