Muslim Women’s Movement Now: People’s Film Collective Program, Kolkata, Dec 13

December 11, 2016


People’s Film Collective is organising a public meeting – the last one in
its “Monthly Film Screenings and Conversations” series for the year 2016 –
on 13th December 2016, at 5 pm, at Muktangan Rangalaya (123, S. P.
Mukherjee Road, Kalighat). The co-founder of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila
Andolan, Noorjehan Safia Niaz, will be the main speaker along with Khadija
Banu, founder of the Rokeya Nari Unnayan Samiti. Scholar and activist
Miratun Nahar will chair the talks. The talks will be followed by the
screening of Deepa Dhanraj’s documentary film, Invoking Justice, which
portrays the grassroots level work done by the inspiring women of the Tamil
Nadu Muslim Women’s Jamaat.


Muslim women’s long-standing movement for personal law reform has
intensified once again post the Shayara Bano case. Muslim women have
demanded codification of the Muslim personal law and feminist reforms
including abolition of one-sided arbitrary instant divorce (and replacing
it with a fair and democratic process) and the halala system. Many women
have demanded abolition of polygamy, fixing of a minimum age of marriage,
equal inheritance rights, and other changes. Muslim women demand full
constitutional rights for women within the ambit of the personal law.

The women have been fighting a double-edged struggle against a patriarchal
communal fascist state headed by the BJP and also patriarchal hegemonic
forces (like the AIMPLB and other) within the community itself. As the
latter oppose all feminist reforms, the Hindutva-run government attempts to
dilute the momentum of the andolan by bringing in the UCC debate. The
government seems to proclaim “either UCC or nothing” to the women’s demands
for just reforms which are long due. However, the government and Law
Commission’s insistence on introducing the UCC in response to the demands
for gender justice in Muslim Personal law is a mischievous attempt to
browbeat the minority communities at large by framing the debate with the
notion that personal laws are gender unjust only for the minority
communities and hence a majoritarian uniform code must be slapped to bring
the minorities in line. Apart from the fact that this move is in utter
disregard of the tapestry of socio-cultural plurality and diverseness of
India, the notion itself is far from the truth, and the fact of the matter
is, women of all communities are victims of heavily gender-unjust and
patriarchal personal laws.

We think that the state and community patriarchs compliment each other, as
they both stand as obstacles to women’s right to legal and societal
equality. People’s Film Collective feels the need of the hour is to
foreground the grassroots-level feminist discourses coming from Muslim
women’s voices. To know about the diverse and multiple ways in which the
Muslim women’s collectives are putting up a bulwark of resistance. To
listen to these views, to amplify them, support them to win this long
standing battle.

Hence we invite you to attend and cover this programme – to listen, ask
questions, build solidarities!

Secretary, People’s Film Collective

Kolkata Monthly Documentary Screening and Conversations | People’s Film

Discourse around Personal Law Reform

13 December 2016 (Tuesday)
5-9 pm
Muktangan Rangalaya
Rashbehari Crossing (Kalighat Metro)

*NOORJEHAN SAFIA NIAZ* | Co-founder, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan
*KHADIJA BANU* | Founder, Rokeya Nari Unnayan Samiti
*MIRATUN NAHAR (CHAIR)* | Scholar & Activist

*INVOKING JUSTICE*/ *Dir: Deepa Dhanraj/ 85 mins/Tamil with English


Organised by: People’s Film Collective
Contact: 9163736863,

*Facebook Event Page*:
Please invite yourself and invite other friends too!

*Synopsis of Documentary Film ‘Invoking Justice’:* In Southern India,
family disputes are settled by Jamaats—all male bodies which apply
Islamic Sharia law to cases without allowing women to be present, even to
defend themselves. Recognizing this fundamental inequity, a group of women
in 2004 established a women’s Jamaat, which soon became a network of 12,000
members spread over 12 districts. Despite enormous resistance, they have
been able to settle more than 8,000 cases to date, ranging from divorce to
wife beating to brutal murders and more. Award-winning filmmaker Deepa
Dhanraj follows several cases, shining a light on how the women’s Jamaat
has acquired power through both communal education and the
leaders’ persistent, tenacious and compassionate investigation of the
crimes. In astonishing scenes we watch the Jamaat meetings, where women
often shout over each other about the most difficult facets of their
personal lives. Above all, the women’s Jamaat exists to hold their male
counterparts and local police to account, and to reform a profoundly
corrupt system which allows men to take refuge in the most extreme
interpretation of the Qur’an to justify violence towards women.



Press Release issued by
People’s Film Collective

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People’s Film Collective is an independent, autonomous, people-funded
cultural-political collective based in West Bengal. Formed in 2013, it believes in the power
of films as a weapon of pedagogy of the oppressed as well as alternative
media for people. PFC organises monthly film screenings in Kolkata. It
travels in Bengal with films & movemental videos. It’s members document
movements and make political documentaries. PFC organises an annual film
festival, called ‘Kolkata People’s Film Festival’ and brings out a magazine
‘Pratirodher Cinema’. PFC is interested in collaborating with like-minded
collectives of the working class and people’s movements.

Kolkata Monthly Documentary Screenings and Conversations
Kolkata People’s Film Festival
Little Cinema campaign
Travelling Cinema campaign
People’s Media – Documentary Collective
*Pratirodher Cinema* – film and counterculture magazine