To Nirbhaya and others between the headlines

Aug 28, 2013, 08:10 IST | Kanika Sharma

It's time to rise against heinous crimes targetting women. To fight out deaf ears, apathy and doors that tell women to stay shut behind. Photographer Chandan Gomes resuscitates the struggle, that got triggered with the December 16 episode of Nirbhaya, through his lens capturing the rebellious and never-say-die soul of those who took to the streets. While the young and budding photographer's Photo Essay is exhibited as Confronting Rape in New Delhi (in association with the NGO

“I headed for a get-together with my lady friend (seen in the first photograph on the left). We took a nearly empty bus from Lado Sarai to Mehrauli. On our way to Mehrauli, I took a photo of my friend. Next day in the morning I woke up to the news of the gang-rape incident. But it failed to register with me, because most of us are so attuned to the news of such incidents. It is only when I reached home and saw the photograph in my camera that the gravity of the situation struck me -- I realised that it could have been me and my friend, as a matter of fact anyone! I was overcome by guilt. At that point I decided, that I will be a part of the protests. I started to document the movement not as a photojournalist or a documentary photographer; but as a protestor,” relates the 24-year-old Delhi based Gomes. 

We pledged not to remain silent; we pledged to reclaim our lives, our freedom. We pledged to raise our voice against all forms of sexual violence.

The poster reads ‘We are ashamed’. She passed away on December 29, 2012. We knew we had let her down. We knew she, like many others before her, had fallen victim to our apathy.

To Jyoti, to Nilofar, to Aasiya, to Manorama.
To you, to him, to her, to us.
To empathy, to compassion, to liberty.
To a brave new country!
Let us not forget, let us not rest in peace.

Pics Courtsey/ Chandan Gomes

Raat mein bhi Azaadi. Din mein bhi Azaadi.
Pyaar karne ki Azaadi. Dosti ki Azaadi.
Moral Policing se Azaadi. Pehnave ki Azaadi.
‘Denting-Painting’ ki Azaadi.
Is rape culture se Azaadi. In gaaliyon se Azaadi.

Behind the lens
Chandan Gomes, a talented photographer has been endeavouring to spearhead many movements through his lens. He has been leading The Open Library initiative that involves creating a meeting point for budding photographers and photography enthusiasts who exchange notes along with poring over scores of photography books, some bought and others donated by the likes of Dayanita Singh, Raghu Rai, Pablo Bartholomew, Ram Rahman and others. Regarding his spectral project, he shares, “On December 16, 2012, we celebrated the first anniversary of the library. As part of the anniversary session, we had organised a talk with artist Dayanita Singh. Post the talk, I headed for a get-together with my lady friend (first on top left).” Regarding his ongoing Confronting Rape exhibition, he opines, “The purpose of the exhibit is to keep the memory of the incident and what followed alive. Public memory is short and all of us forget things too quickly. We are nearing the first anniversary of the incident and still nothing much has changed. Through the exhibition, we wish to remind the people that our movement is very much alive!” 

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