Performing Dhyan Se!

| December 24 , 2017 , 12:16 IST

This year India slipped 21 places on the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap index to rank 108 out of 144 countries. The report that published the index explained that India’s greatest challenges lie in the economic participation and opportunity pillar where the country is ranked 139 as well as health and survival pillar where the country is ranked 141.

Time and again there have been initiatives taken by Indian women to improve their status quo in the society or to at least draw attention to the issues that most affect them. Often the arts are a powerful means to raise emotions and sensitise people about critical issues. Performance artist Mallika Taneja, for example, has chosen a novel way to sensitise her audience to issues she believes hold women in India back. 

Since the past four years Mallika has been solo-performing in the play ‘ThodaDhyan Se’ (be a little careful) which is meant to provoke people into thinking about whether women's clothing really has any correlation with sexual violence.

Image result for Mallika Taneja

Starting out stark naked on stage, for a total of eight minutes, 33-year-old Mallika puts on layer after layer of clothes, including headgear and a helmet. Each time she explains to her audience that as a woman, she needs to "be a little careful". In this way she highlights how women are often asked to be a little careful if they are out at night, alone with men, or are dressed in a certain way. It is as if any sexual harassment that were to occur to the woman was partially because “she was not careful”. 

Mallika believes that the body is the most powerful tool in the battle for women's equality.