Actor Farhan Akhtar Launches Movement Against Female Discrimination In India

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Most of the reports coming out from India over the past few years concerning women have been about brutal gang rapes, hanging, murders, and much much worse. Sure they have just elected a new Prime Minister who declared he will be dedicated efforts to empower women in the country, but it will take more than just a legislative mandate to instill into the culture that treating women as equals shouldn’t be a choice.

It is an issue that everyone needs to raise their voice about.

Bollywood is a big part of the Indian and Asian culture, so when prominent stars speak up about injustice and implore their fans to get on board with human rights issues, the world tends to listen.

Actor Farhan Akhtar has put his on-screen talents to a noble use off-screen. He is the founder of MARD, which stands for men against rape and discrimination. Can we just say any time we see a man of a group of men stand up alongside women to champion the cause of equality, it is a truly wonderful thing!

MARD is a progressive movement for a more gender equal world. MARD initiative focuses on creating awareness against the increasing number of crimes against women. It is an effort targeted at men to re-think their own value system and be the catalyst for change.

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They have teamed up with Google India for their Helping Women Get Online campaign to empower them by using the internet. In India, only 30% of online users are women, but Google believes that if more had access to online resources, it would have a very positive impact on their lives and that of their surrounding community.

The initiative aims to help 50 million women in India have access to the internet by the end of 2014. Aside from equipping women with online access, they have created specific resource portals which give them step-by-step basic instructions on using their computers, as well as a tonne of videos covering a range of lifestyle topics such as cooking, designing, family issues, communities, leadership and much more.

Farhan has released a song as part of the campaign called ‘Chulein Aasman’ which roughly translates to reach for the sky. The song’s lyrics discuss how women are forced to live in gender stereotyped roles and aren’t given the freedom to live their best life.

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“Chulein Aasman is a song about female emancipation, a song about freeing women from the roles that they have been coerced into playing for centuries. It highlights the importance of equal opportunity, possibilities and the impact it can have on women,” says the description below the Youtube video.

Farhan is using his voice to talk about an issue that is getting increased attention from around the world: discrimination against women. Although change is often difficult and slow, he believes it is possible.

“All of us have become more aware of how acute the problem is and are openly talking about it,” he explained.

“Earlier, only a few sections of the society would talk about harassment, that too in a hush-hush tone. When you have to treat a problem, you have to diagnose it and understand how it needs treatment,” said the 40 year old.

“I will do my best and contribute to create awareness. I am happy that I am part of this change. The issues that MARD addresses – gender equality and respect for women – need every possible avenue and platform.”

Check out the video below, it will give you goosebumps and also make you want to shut your computer or device and go make a difference in the world. Be sure to click the closed captioning for English translation for the full effect, for all you non-Hindi speaking readers that is.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Bollywood Star Farhan Akhtar On Being UN Women's First Male Ambassador

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