INDIACSR News Network
RAIGARH: OP Jindal Community College (OPJCC), Punjipathra, marked the first steps of a historic movement. The college joined a global campaign, launched on 14th February, called “One Billion Rising”. The campaign was held in 200 countries including massive support from India. One thrilling moment was when hundreds of OPJCC students and staff members collectively pledged that they won’t be a silent spectator of violence against woman. They rallied together committed to stop the violence.
India is very familiar with protests, demonstrations, and social campaigns across urban centers; however, there is a silent disconnect with rural India, the “real” India where over 70 percent of the population lives. What happened at OP Jindal Community College was palpable transformation of rural youth, new voices on the horizon. Mr. Vipin Agrawal, driver education training manager at OPJCC danced with students as they shouted in accord with one billion others for a world where women are free and safe and cherished and equal.
Along with a local village musical group, OPJCC students also performed a poignant and funny guerrilla street play to punctuate the message. Ms. Miriam J. Carter, director of OPJCC said, “We rise up today for freedom for all women – sisters, mothers, aunties, daughters, grandmothers, and friends. We celebrate justice, equality, and opportunities for girls and women to contribute to a prosperous India”. She continued, “OPJCC aims to be a leader in training young women in technical trades and their male counterparts who respect women in the workplace and ensure their safety.”
OPJCC is a major CSR initiative of the Naveen Jindal, chairman of Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. The college is a place where rural youth, many of whom are school drop-outs, come to learn in order to earn. The not-for-profit technical colleges, located in Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Jharkhand not only impart marketable skills in the construction, mechanical, and allied health sectors, but teach values for building stronger communities; a productive, competent workforce; and educational, economic, and social mobility.
OPJCC students registered their solid and unified calls to put an end to the continuing violence against women. Student Ajit Bhoi remarked, “It is as important for men to ‘rise up’ as it is for women; both are affected by the issue of violence. We all must rise up to stop violence”. Mahesh Kumar, another OPJCC student said that “Men and boys have a role to play in this movement too. They can be models and teachers on how to love and support the women and girls in their lives. And every man should speak up and take action when a woman is being harassed, threatened or abused”.
The message is, “Enough”! The time for change has come. Whether in India, USA, South Africa, or anywhere, we can’t survive, let alone thrive, in a world where more than 50 percent of our global population doesn’t feel safe. It’s time not to ignore but to challenge those who make this a women’s issue. It is not about gender, but a matter of principle, remarked Mr. Prabal Bhardwaj, national student recruitment and placement manager at OPJCC.