Stories of Girls’ Resistance

South Asia

From Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Malvides, Nepal, Pakistan, to Sri Lanka, the South Asia series documents 16 stories of resistance across the region.

South Asia is the southern subregion of Asia, which is defined in both geographical and ethno-cultural terms. It is generally understood to be compromised of the following countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and The Maldives. It houses around one-fourth of world’s population and is rich in the diversity of languages, religions, cultures and identities. For example South Asia accounts for 98.47% of Hindus, 90.5% of Sikhs, and 31% of Muslims worldwide and houses the world’s largest populations of Sikhs, Jains, and Zoroastrians. There are numerous languages in South Asia and the spoken languages of the region are largely based on geography and shared across religious boundaries.

India has been the dominant geopolitical power in the region and alone accounts for most part of the landmass, population, economy, and military expenditure in the region. It is also a major economy and exerts strong cultural and political influence over the region. Each country however has a unique history, culture, and socio-political identity which also includes several tribes of indigenous people and some of the oldest recorded cultures in the world.

South Asia in its modern history has seen a great deal of colonial rule – primarily from the Dutch, Portuguese, French and British. In 1947 the partition of British India divided the region into two independent States, India and Pakistan and the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War created the state of Bangladesh. Through all this the region has struggled with many armed conflicts and internal civil wars (such as in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan) which have resulted in large portions of the population being refugees and IDP’s. Parts of South Asia have also faced the impact of conflicts in other parts of Asia as well – for example the largest refugee camp in the world – Cox’s Bazar – is found in Bangladesh housing thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution from Myanmar.

Storytellers

Acknowledgements

The South Asia stories of resistance was curated by Everystory Sri Lanka, a young feminist collective founded in 2018 by Sharanya Sekaram and Widya Kumarasinghe. Their work primarily centers on story-telling and knowledge creation and sharing, done in a myriad of ways. Everystory Sri Lanka uses creative practices, mixed media, panel discussions, and more. They believe that stories and knowledge come in all shapes and forms, and it is within this complexity and potential for creativity that we engage. For them, feminism goes beyond equality and equity – it is about challenging and dismantling systems, structures, and institutions of oppression. It is with this ethos at the core that Everystory Sri Lanka views and navigates their work. Everystory Sri Lanka’s current mission is to create this space in Sri Lanka and South Asia, rooted in our histories, traditions, cultures, and practices – without compromising on the principles of questioning and evolution.

This project team included: Sharnaya Sekaram, Project Lead; Gayatri Ganju, Curatorial Advisor; Sareena Hussain, Varsha Sekaram, and Ibraheem Wazil, Co-Curators; and Rachithra Sandanayake, Abilesha Segar, and Bhagya Wickramage, Finance and Administrative team.

The portraits were illustrated by Dilushi Prasanna, and the videos where brought to life by Archraphix, Bhagya Wickramage, Hansathi Pallewatte, Heshanthi Munasinha, Ishrat Jahan Shaeera, J.Wiknesh Balanayagam, Jithendri Gomes, Kiran Chandiram, Nida Admani, Sakina Aliakbar, Shahdia Jamaldeen, Sharanya Sekaram, Shrat Jahan Shaeera, Shruthi Mathews, Shyama Basanayake, Suresh Madurasinghe, Tamal Ahmed, Toshi Singh, and Umna Afeef. The portraits were illustrated by Dilushi Prasanna, and the videos where brought to life by Archraphix, Bhagya Wickramage, Hansathi Pallewatte, Heshanthi Munasinha, Ishrat Jahan Shaira, J. Wiknesh Balanayagam, Jithendri Gomes, Kiran Chandiram, Nida Admani, Sakina Aliakbar, Shahdia Jamaldeen, Shruthi Mathews, Shyama Basanayake, Suresh Madurasinghe, Tamal Ahmed, Toshi Singh, and Umna Afeef.

Music Copyright Details: Manizah – Copyright Free Music, www.youtube.com; Sadia – Creators Allowed, www.youtube.com.