Ride for Gender Freedom at Kovalam

Last night, Rakesh left Chennai and rode 40 kms to Covelong Point at Kovalam.

“Staying in a hut on the beach, where Murthi anna runs his surfing school. Olya, a Russian surfing enthusiast and Vicky and Dharani, surfing trainers are also here. This is going to be the base camp of the Ride for the next two days. Thanks Collectives and all the Chennai friends for your kind support and love to the Ride. You will always be a big strength to the Ride.” – Rakesh

Vicky also introduced Rakesh to Chandrashekar. His tailoring team has made a beautiful multi-coloured patchwork flag for the ride. The ride has been generously supported by many volunteers who have painted the cycle, made flags and puppets, offered transit points, and so on. The rider plans to stay in some community every twenty to thirty kilometres and travel using that as a base camp. He would like to use a variety of mediums to engage with the people he meets on this journey. So, here’s one more wonderful way you can support this ride – If you’re a filmmaker or if you have watched some interesting films that can be used in conversations about gender, please get in touch with the rider to organize on-the-road screenings. Call +91 8939592991.to take your film out on the streets. 

Ride for Gender Freedom at IIT, Madras

04:45 p.m. Rakesh reached the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. The students gathered at the Taramani gate to begin their ride inside the campus. They plan to break for conversations with staff and students on their way. This morning Pooja, John, and Nihal helped us paint the Ride for Gender Freedom cycle. Thank you so much guys for volunteering so readily and figuring out how to make new colours with me. Here’s a shot of the Gender Bender –

shared by sam pc. 

Ride for Gender Freedom Tambaram – Wrap Up

Today, on 19th March 2014, Bharathi Kannan, a filmmaker, had organised four meetings in Tambaram for the Ride for Gender Freedom campaign. Rakesh rode via East Coast Road, Kalaignar Salai, Shozhinganallur, and Medavakkam to Tambaram. He lost his way for three kilometres, but eventually found Madras Christian College by 9:30 a.m. There he had some valuable conversations with NSS, English department, and Social Work department students. Some students have expressed their interest in joining the ride when it reaches their home towns and a professor saw the possibility of making the ride an internship project. After two meetings and some conversations in the canteen, Rakesh rode to West Tambaram and had an open conversation with the women and young girls and boys from that locality. Later, Bharathi Kannan joined him as a rider and both of them rode around Tambaram for an hour or so before stopping for tea. Rakesh had planned a trip back to the East Coast Road, but it has been a really long day. So, Bharathi has kindly invited Rakesh to stay at his place for the night. Thank you Bharathi for all the help today. We hope to see the cycle back on the beaches tomorrow.

Rakesh will be thrilled if you join him for a small or a big part of his journey. To coordinate with the rider follow the Ride for Gender Freedom on this blog or this facebook page.

Good night.

Ride for Gender Freedom meetings with students of Madras Christian College

03:30 p.m. Bharathi Kannan had organised two meetings with students at Madras Christian College. Rakesh said he had a wonderful time interacting with the NSS and Social Work Department students. He even got to chat with some students at the canteen. The rider having finished a very eventful day in the college, has now begun cycling out to interact in two more meetings at Tambaram West and MEPZ SEZ. Thank you Bharathi Kannan and students of Madras Christian College for your enthusiasm and support. Call 08939592991 or 9940220091 to coordinate with the riders.

Ride for Gender Freedom entering Madras Christian College

09:30 a.m. Rakesh rode three kilometres in the wrong direction, but managed to reach Madras Christian College in Tambaram on time. Bharathi Kannan has planned a day full of interactions and cycling in Tambaram. From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with students of MCC -> Bharathi Padippakam at 5:00 p.m. -> MEPZ SEZ at 6:00 p.m. -> Gandhi Park at 7:00 p.m. -> CSP Illam at 7.30 p.m. Call 08939592991 or 9940220091 to coordinate with the riders.

RGF: Birds and Buildings at Medavakkam

08:30 a.m. Rakesh spots a stretch of the Medavakkam marsh surrounded by construction.

More Riders for Gender Freedom at Fourth Seaward Road Beach

06:00 p.m. Some riders joined Rakesh and Sudharshan next to the 4th seaward road beach in Valmiki Nagar. Thank you so much to each one of you for pedalling your evening away with them. Amidst some phone network problems, and power cuts, the updates of the ride continues. 🙂 Photos from Rakesh.

Ride for Gender Freedom on ECR

(Join the ride on Facebook)

“Riding upon a dream. A dream of a society that does not discriminate among various gender.”

Today, on 18th March 2014, Rakesh continues the Ride for Gender Freedom, accompanied by Sudharshan, beginning at 3:30 p.m. from Neelankarai Police Station -> Tiruvanmiyur Vegetable Market -> Tiruvanmiyur temple tank -> Tiruvanmiyur fish market -> Tiruvanmiyur kuppam (fishing village) -> Fourth Seaward Road Beach -> New Beach Road -> Kottivakkam Kuppam Road -> Palavakkam beach -> Chinna Neelangarai Kuppam -> Casuarina Drive (a CCTV trip) -> Neelankarai Kuppam -> Blue Beach Road -> Vettuvankeni ECR -> Cholamandal -> Injambakkam Kuppam -> via ECR back to Neelankarai Police Station.

We’d be very happy if you join us at the Fourth Seaward Road beach by 4.30 p.m. Call 09962609709 or 08939592991 to contact the riders. 

Live blogging of the ride will happen on Chai Kadai and Ride for Gender Freedom Facebook Page

Rakesh and Sudharshan forced to pose with coffee as they get ready for today's Ride for Gender Freedom around ECR

Rakesh and Sudharshan forced to pose with coffee as they get ready for today’s Ride for Gender Freedom around ECR

The idea behind ‘Ride for Gender Freedom: Pedalling against acid attacks’:

The list of acid attacks survivors is long and more names are being added continuously. What we have understood at the ‘Stop Acid Attacks’ campaign is that the problem is deeper than the easy availability of a chemical weapon like acid. It has to do with the parenting and upbringing, and other institutions and structures, which generally encourage children to treat women as objects. 

It is this attitude which is responsible for many crimes against women- from female infanticide to dowry deaths and from rapes to acid attacks – that go on unabated across the country.

While the information space, including TV, radio and print medium, are abuzz with pro-feminist voices, screaming out the need to stop the rising abuse of women across the sub-continent, there is hardly any ground work that is being done towards this issue.

This is an effort to take this cause to villages and towns, at present solely manifested by Rakesh Kumar Singh, an eminent Hindi author, journalist, creative writer and a formal corporate communication professional. He intends to convey this message through various media forms including puppets, colors, posters, photographs, films to the masses in Indian villages which has not yet migrated to urban towns. While there is no fixed time for his pedalling, he will be on wheels for 2 years in the first phase of his ride. This journey’s worth, impact and duration depend on you to a large extent.

While Rakesh starts his ride as a lonely crusader, he will be elated if you join him for a small or a big part of his journey. There are no plans regarding the time-limit of this ride which is completely crowd-funded.

The Ride for Gender Freedom was flagged of by Kanmanipriya, a 40 year old acid victim, who was forced to drink acid, by her husband 10 years back. She is presently staying with her ailing mother and a son, awaiting some miracle to happen so that she could live her remaining life without any pain.

Your participation will certainly be a great support to the on-going struggle against gender based violence, including the heinous Acid Attacks on women.