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Pinch of pride

Guwahati marked its fifth consecutive Pride march on February 11, 2018. Processions, demonstrations and cultural rallies have always been part of youth events in Assam. To be able to include people from diverse students groups, women’s groups, media groups, children and adults has been a great achievement of Guwahati Pride march. This year the participation from youths from various institutions has been unprecedented. Xukia is a queer collective whose initiatives in creating awareness, association and activism around the issues related to Pride has been exceptional. Glaring shutters, curious bystanders, blank stares of commuters in buses and private vehicles couldn’t stop the enthusiasm of the Pride participants. Groups and individuals from across North Eastern States, Indian states and other parts of the world like Australia also participated in this year’s Pride. More than 500 people walked together from Dighalipukhuri towards Pan Bazaar and then around the High Court and reassembled back near Dighalipukhuri. Mobile, video, audio and camera shots kept reminding the Pride participants as the subjects of social solidarity. 

History of Pride dates back to 1969 in New York to protest against the stonewall riots. In fact June 28, 1969 is the dark moment of the riots which led to the Pride month of June in the west. It marks the dissent against normative structures which limit human aspirations and expression of sexual diversity. In the current context Pride has become a platform to resist injustice, inequality, exploitation, domination and discrimination of any form. In the pan Indian context, Dalit rights activism has also strengthened the Pride movement. Merging of the blue flag with the rainbow flag marks the convergence of such movements. Pride is a moment of protest but in Guwahati particularly, it has been a moment of celebration of diversity and differences which seems to give space to invisibility and visibility both for diverse people and groups. It brings people, causes, professionals, researchers, communities together. 

Young people with masks, some without masks, people in traditional wear, some walked with modern outfits and many walked in gender neutral attires. Diversity was displayed through the flags, placards, slogan shouting and drum beats. What seemed like a peaceful joyride was indeed a demonstration of social solidarity towards democracy, social inclusion, diversity and dignity as a human being on the street without any layers or label of stigma and discrimination. In fact academia has opened up diverse perspectives on the understanding of the entire discourse on queering and human sexuality. Pride walk also is a way to share one’s struggles, stories of hope and resistance which adds value to human endeavours. I was very happy to see the participation of diverse young professionals, students, social scientists and social workers from across the state of Assam. At the same time, I saw media persons hounding people walking in the Pride march for photographs, stories, profiles and special bytes. Some cautious onlookers were walking outside the centre of the Pride march almost highlighting their ‘safe-distance’ from the participants. I received some messages and calls prior to the Pride whether people can join or not? Some also enquired if they can get their kids to the Pride march or not. A few of them came and participated throughout the programme both with and without their children. While walking along the route, organisers made sure that people walked on a particular side of the road without blocking traffic. Even such minor restrictions seemed very linear for a queer Pride march. Safety of the participants was very crucial for the organisers but every person who joined the Pride march must be aware of the consequences in a protest march. In a world of digital media, one must ensure right to privacy for each and every Pride participant. Not every closet has a key, not every mind is open and not every Pride is joyful. 

 

Samhita Barooah

Queer Rights Researcher

 

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Forget anti incumbency we will win: Gogoi

22 Jan 2016 - 2:08pm | AT News

Three months before the Assam assembly polls Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi exuded his confidence that no anti incumbency factor would be working this time like the two other terms. Addressing a press conference at the Press Club of India in New Delhi on Friday, Gogoi said anti incumbency factors would have worked had we failed to live up to the expectations of the people.

 "We have been trying our level best to keep the poll promises during the last several years. We have achieved success. That's why, I won't agree that any anti incumbency factor would work unlike the earlier two terms," said Gogoi.

Coming down heavily on Narendra Modi, the Assam Chief Minister called the current prime minister a great departure from his predecessors which include BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. "I have not seen such Prime Minister who blames his own predecessors. Who gave NIT, Gas cracker, TISS and others? Actually he is shaky and that's why he has said that nothing has been done to Assam during the last fifteen years. Had it been so how would he have been to open the gas cracker?' said Gogoi.

Sharpening his attack on the Prime Minister, Gogoi said that Modi only wants the non resident Indians and Chief Executive Officers who are rich. Gogoi addressed the press conference a day after he met Rahul Gandhi to discuss the poll preparations along with Anjan Dutta and Dr CP Joshi.      

Health Camp for Flood Victims by Cottonian82

20 Aug 2017 - 9:25pm | Mowsam Hazarika

A health camp was organised by "Cottonian82" , an organisation of the alumni of Cotton College of 1982 batch, in association with KGMT Hospital, under Kuntal Goswami Memorial Trust, Mother Teresa Road, Guwahati,  at Mayong on 20th August, 2017 for flood affected people.  

The camp get response from around 300 villagers from Mayong and nearby villages. 

Specialist from different field gave counselling to the villagers along with free medicines. Doctors rendering their services in the camp are: Dr Nivedita Goswami, Paediatricians ; Dr Bandana Baruah, Paediatrician ;  Dr Nabanita Deka, Gynecologist ; Dr Pranab Das, Surgery and Dr Manashi K Bhagawati, Eye specialist.

Rape & murder rerun in Hojai

30 Dec 2017 - 11:26am | AT News

Hojai: Yet another incident of rape and murder sends no less shock and sensation in Hojai where the perpetrator was believed to have committed suicide. The bizarre incident took place when police dug out the body of a lady teacher on Friday who went missing on December 2. The body of the lady who taught in Matikola Harijan School was a resident of Purv Dhanirampathar went traceless as she was going to take assignment paper.

 

 During investigation, the police team came to learn the missing of the principal of Anand Marg School Udita Nanda. Then the investigation took a new turn. Initially, the principal was traced in Jagiroad. But he managed to vanish as the policemen reached the spot. On December 12, the lifeless principal was found at the rail tracks of Adraa Station in West Bengal. The policemen probing the case are confident that Nanda who raped the lady teacher and murdered her later committed suicide. Further investigation is going on.