Several individuals contributed their time and expertise to the campaign by serving as resource persons, by facilitating programmes, by performing, by teaching and by addressing participants. We could not have organised the 2009 campaign without them. Prajnya thanks them and in order to share our list of resource people with others in the community, we are posting their profiles on this blog.
Ammu Joseph is an independent journalist and author based in Bangalore, writing primarily on issues relating to gender, human development and the media. She is on the international editorial board of Feminist Media Studies (Routledge), has authored and co-authored five books relating to women and media, besides contributing chapters to several other books. She is a recipient of the UNFPA-LAADLI Media Award for Gender Sensitivity 2007. She is a founder-member of the Network of Women in Media, India, and co-editor of its website. She has been on the visiting faculty of colleges in Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.
One of the most accomplished vocalists of today, S. Sowmya learnt from the late Sangitha Kalanidhi Dr. S. Ramanathan and Smt. T. Mukta of the legendary Brinda-Muktha duo. An artiste blessed with a very good voice and a sizeable repertoire, Sowmya has performed extensively in many parts of the world. Along with K.N. Shashikiran, another popular young vocalist, she produced the first ever CD-ROM and VCD on Carnatic music. The web portal of her institution Carnatica, again founded along with Mr. Shasikiran, has become a popular destination for music-related information, products, courses and discussions.
NEYVELI R. NARAYANAN
Hailing from a family of music connoisseurs at Neyveli, R. Narayanan was initiated into the art of Mrudangam playing at the young age of seven, under the guidance of Sri S.K. Ganesa Pillai. He made his debut at the age of 11 and ever since, he has been making a mark in the field of carnatic music. Narayanan has been blessed with the rare opportunity of being one of the favourite disciples of the Mrudangam Legend Padmabushan Umayalpuram Sri K. Sivaraman. This influence has brought in a great amount of clarity, precision and perfection in Narayanan's style.
B.U. GANESH PRASAD
He had his initial training under G. Nataraj of Bangalore and S. Shankar, a famous vocalist who helped shape his style. It was under the tutorage of violin maestro V.V. Subramanyam that Ganesh Prasad acquired perfect violin technique. Ganesh’s style is basically faithful to the VVS bani and he supplements this with his knowledge gained from learning vocal music from Shri P.S. Narayanaswamy. Tonal purity, good fingering technique and fluid style of presentation are his assets. He is a recipient of many youth awards for music and is a graded artist of radio and television.
Dr. K. Srilata is Associate Professor of English at the Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras. A poet, fiction writer and translator, her debut novel Table for Four was long listed recently for the Man Asian literary prize. Her books include The Other Half of the Coconut: Women Writing Self-Respect History and an anthology of poetry titled Seablue Child. Srilata won the first prize in the All India Poetry competition 1998 organised by the British Council and the Poetry Society, India for her poem “In Santa Cruz, Diagnosed Homesick”, while her reviews have appeared in The Hindu’s Literary Review as well as in The Indian Review of Books. She has just started to blog and can be accessed at: http://srilatawriting.blogspot.com
Kutti Revathi, as a contemporary poet of first rank, has been an important Tamil voice, dealing with the politics of the female body through poetry, her chosen literary form. Some of her poems, such as ‘Mulaigal’ (Breasts), have achieved iconic status both within and outside Tamil Nadu. A serious practitioner of her art, she has explored many zones of the female condition with verve, honesty and with a remarkable inventiveness in language and expression. As an engaged and committed person, she has also contributed through founding and editing a feminist journal, Panikkudam, as well as through helping younger women poets to publish their work.
Sivakami Velliangiri, writer-poet, has been writing from the age of 12 and has been publishing regularly since her college days. Her poems have been published in several journals like Youth Times, The Indian P.E.N, and The Literary Endeavour. She co-ordinates The British Council Poetry Circle, is the Secretary of the Chennai Poet’s Circle, and was an active member of the Madras English Association. She also moderates ‘Soulflash’, an online poetry group.
Susan Hawthorne is currently an Asialink Literature Resident at the University of Madras. She is a poet, aerialist and publisher and has taught creative writing for many years. Her books include gender-related fiction and non-fiction, besides five collections of poetry, including The Butterfly Effect (2005) and Earth’s Breath (2009). She has been involved in feminist activism for more than thirty years and is co-founder of the feminist press, Spinifex.
DR. PRASANNA POORNACHANDRA, PCVC
She is the Chief Executive Officer at the International foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care, an organisation that has been in existence for the last 7 years providing services to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
A. Mangai is the pseudonym of Dr. V. Padma, who teaches English at Stella Maris College, Chennai. She has been actively engaged in Tamil theatre as an actor, director and playwright for over two decades. She has directed over fifteen plays so far, all women-centric. Her passion is to concentrate on community theatre – to make theatre the voice of the voiceless, or the marginalised. She has been one of the founder- members of Chennai Kalai Kuzhu, Shakthi, Palkalai Arangam, Voicing Silence and Marappachi. She was given the Rockefeller-Bellagio Residency for four weeks to work on her monograph on Gender and Theatre in India during March- April, 2009. She hopes that her academic, activist and artistic selves can find a vibrant intersection.
DR. T. SUMATHI
Also known as “Tamizhachi” Thangapandian, Dr. Sumathi is a poet and performer, active in politics today. She was a faculty of the English dept. of Queen Mary's college earlier.
Srijith is a cinematographer, who has taken up theatre seriously and works with many organisations and colleges.
DR. SHANTHA KAMATH
Dr. Shantha is the Additional Director of Scarf. She is in charge of the Clinical Services and the residential rehabilitation centre for women. Her main interests are in rehabilitation and women’s problems.
DR. P. NALINI RAO
Dr. Nalini teaches mental health and psychiatric social work, among other subjects, at the Madras School of Social Work. She has undertaken several research studies for government and corporates, presented papers at and organised several national and international seminars. She is interested in research, working with marginalised groups and the rural sector.
DR. SHUBA KUMAR
Dr. Shuba completed her masters in Social Work from the Delhi School of Social Work and then went on to complete her training in social science and epidemiology under the International Clinical Epidemiology Network (INCLEN) at the University of Newcastle, Australia. While working for the India Clinical Epidemiology Network (IndiaCLEN), she undertook research on various behavioural and care and support aspects of the HIV/AIDS programme in Tamil Nadu. She is also the founder member of a non-government organisation, Samarth, focused on social science research and training.
DR. ANITA RAO
Dr. Anita is the Director of Medical Services at the TTK Hospital and is responsible for the administrative management of the medical unit of the hospital. She has been a resource person for various training programmes held at TTK Hospital as well as other organisations such as UNODC and Colombo Plan for various groups such as doctors, medical students, nurses, psychologists, social workers, etc. On July 19, 2009, she was awarded the Dr. K.S. Sanjeevi Award for the year 2009 for outstanding service to the poor and needy by CIOSA & Udavum Ullangal. Apart from various pamphlets on addiction for physicians, she has also been a contributing author for manuals produced by TTK.
Sujata Mody is a labour rights activist who has been working with women's groups and trade unions from her early student days. She is President of Penn Thozhilalargal Sangam, working with women workers in Greater Chennai, including domestic workers, tailors and workers from other informal sectors. Besides helping women to get their entitlements through the Labour Boards set up by the TN Government, they also works to empower women and build their capacities to deal with challenges in everyday life - be it violence in the family, at work, in the community or anti-women state policies that make women vulnerable and weak. They also seek to increase wages of women workers and secure right to permanent housing and to basic health care.
Dr. Xavier is a senior lecturer in the Department of Social Work, Loyola College. He has also been practicing Social Work and Conflict transformation at the national and the international level, in the areas of forced migration, community development and conflict transformation. Since 1997, he has been working with the Organization for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation, a refugee self-help organisation that works in all the Sri Lankan Refugee camps in Tamil Nadu. His peace building work has been in the North and East of Sri Lanka, where his training since 2003 of civil society leaders, NGO staff and other community volunteers has resulted in formulating a community-based peace building model. In India, he has facilitated dialogue between conflicting churches in Nagaland and among staff of various organisations in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Ms. Usha works as program Co-oordinator at Hengasara Hakkina Sangha, a women's rights organisation working on gender and law in Karnataka. She designs and conducts capacity building workshops and activities on Gender and Law for various groups and is also involved in conducting advocacy work with the State on laws related to women. She has also presented papers and written on women’s rights issues, besides making a documentary film, along with Sanjana C.B., on acid attacks on women in Karnataka for the campaign and struggle against acid attacks on women in Karnataka.
Ms. Indhu is executive director of Hengasara Hakkina Sangha. She has worked in the area of gender and rights for the past 13 years. She conducted a study on Sexual harassment at the workplace and since has been engaged with the issue and is the external expert in sexual harassment complaints committees in different work sectors. She has co-authored a paper on the issue of sexual harassment for the Indian association of women’s studies conference in 2008. She is part of the International network ‘DAWN’ of Southern feminist activists, researchers and campaigners.
DR. JAYA ARUNACHALAM
Dr. Jaya Arunachalam is the President of Working Women's Forum (India), initiated in 1978 as a platform to benefit the poorest of women in the informal sector by promoting self-participation and leadership. When Dr. Arunachalam took it over, her alternative development model - pro-poor and pro-women in its approach, spearheaded a social movement that continues to inspire numerous women even today. Dr. Arunachalam is considered the pioneer of micro-credit and building leadership skills among thousands of poor working women throughout India. She is the president of the National Union of Working Women, a grassroots trade union of poor working class women in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, and the Indian Co-operative Network for Women, conceptualised by her as an informal banking system for poor women.
Dr. Arunachalam was honoured with the Jamnalal Bajaj Award, 2009 for her outstanding contribution for the development and welfare of women and children on Nov 6, 2009 in Mumbai. She was awarded the Padma Sri in 1987 for her distinguished services among the poorest women in urban and rural areas. In 2002, Dr. Arunachalam received the ‘Stree Shakthi Puraskar’ from the Government of Tamil Nadu for her outstanding services to poor working women. Dr. Arunachalam is the recipient of many national and international awards, notable amongst them the International Activists Award and an Honorary Doctorate of the University of Lunenburg in Germany. She was the first South Asian woman member to be elected to the Governing Council of the Society for International Development, Rome. Academy of Grassroots Studies and Research of India and Rajiv Rural Development Foundation, Tirupathi presented her with Bharat Ratna Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Shakthi Award 2009 on August 20, 2009, in recognition of outstanding accomplishment in the field of women’s empowerment and sustainable development and for the services rendered to the nation and humanity at large.