Rina Di versus Statesman

By Subajit Dasbhaumik

It took ten years for Rina Di (Rina Mukherjee) to get her share of Justice! Ten years ago, we (Suvendu Chatterjee and me) sat in the 10ft by 10ft ground floor room of what was then the only office-space of a one-year-old Drik India, facing Rina Di, listening to her ordeal at The Statesman House, through one of the senior officials of the reputed Daily.
She narrated the aftermath of her allegation of sexual harassment at workplace, against the senior official, as a result of which she had to quit her job as a writing journalist at The Statesman. There was no facebook at that time, but we circulated her narration through our Gmail friends? list ? that was the least and probably all that we could do to express our support and solidarity for her, as we watched a solitary woman, even as empowered as a journalist that she was, fight her battle against the odds. To our surprise, even the so-called feminist groups did not stand by her and, on the contrary, rebuked her for reasons beyond our understanding. Even our e-posting was challenged by many. Today, at ten in the morning Rina Di called me to say that she was on her way to the labour court to receive her compensation! SHE HAD FINALLY WON THE CASE! It is a feeling of joy rare to come-by these days. It?s not just about getting to know that justice has finally been done. It is also about the reassurance that not all that we believe in and strive for, has been tossed away to oblivion. ?Violence against women? is a term of no little significance, anywhere in the world, and yet it is so difficult an issue to get over with! We salute Rina Mukherjee for her courage to stand against it ? a feat easy to conceive but herculean to come up against, in all its practicalities.

Author: Shahidul Alam

Time Magazine Person of the Year 2018. A photographer, writer, curator and activist, Shahidul Alam obtained a PhD in chemistry before switching to photography. His seminal work “The Struggle for Democracy” contributed to the removal of General Ershad. Former president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society, Alam set up the Drik agency, Chobi Mela festival and Pathshala, South Asian Media Institute, considered one of the finest schools of photography in the world. Shown in MOMA New York, Centre Georges Pompidou, Royal Albert Hall and Tate Modern, Alam has been guest curator of Whitechapel Gallery, Winterthur Gallery and Musee de Quai Branly. His awards include Mother Jones, Shilpakala Award and Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dali International Festival of Photography. Speaker at Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Oxford and Cambridge universities, TEDx, POPTech and National Geographic, Alam chaired the international jury of the prestigious World Press Photo contest. Honorary Fellow of Royal Photographic Society, Alam is visiting professor of Sunderland University in UK and advisory board member of National Geographic Society. John Morris, the former picture editor of Life Magazine describes his book “My journey as a witness”, (listed in “Best Photo Books of 2011” by American Photo), as “The most important book ever written by a photographer.”

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