Kygo listens to Dalit women activists

MUMBAI: On Sunday 26 November Kygo met with four Dalit women activists, where  he learned about how they are subject to heinous cast crimes  including sexual violence  and how the systematic failure of the State causes severe barriers to access justice. He also learnt that Dalit women are not simply victims, but also important actors for change. 

"The combination of being a Dalit, a woman and a an activist make us especially vulnerable to violence and intimidation"

Asha, General Secretary of AIDMAM

Photos: Johannes Lovund/Kygomusic

From 2016, the world famous DJ from Norway, Kygo, became a Rafto Ambassador and supports the work of the Rafto Foundation and its laureates. During his India tour where his fan base is growing and he wanted to meet with and learn more about the challenges faced by the Dalit women.

A great personal risk
Activism is associated with great personal risk.  Anju, Kajal, Suman Devathiya are all Dalits and activists and part of a countrywide network of female Dalit activists,  All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar March, AIDMAM.  All three activists are working the field with documentation of crimes of rape, threats and murder, and support the victims and file cases to the courts. These determined activists counter physical threats as well as digital trolling. 
“The combination of being a Dalit, a woman and a an activist make us especially vulnerable to violence and intimidation. Being able to sustain ones own confidence, security and wellbeing in this context is critical”, says Asha, General Secretary of AIDMAM.

The work and experiences of the four Dalit activitst made a strong impression on Kygo.
The work and experiences of the four Dalit activitst made a strong impression on Kygo.

The “downtrodden” 

The AIDMAM network is part of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR). In 2007 the organization was awarded the Rafto Prize for Human Rights for their work to address the discrimination and the oppression that results from caste prejudice still and which is very much alive in India today.

Of India’s 1,3 billion citizens,  around 250 million belong in the category of Dalits, and are by many considered  ‘impure’ or ‘untouchable’. Dalits are born into a social and cultural system which fundamentally conflicts with the notion that all human beings are born free and with equal rights. Many Dalits work as bonded labour or in forms of modern day slavery. When Dalits organize and raise their voice to claim their rights as granted by the law, or merely to walk and work with their head held high among members of higher castes, they often suffer violent reprisals.  Such violence often blends with sexism, and particularly affects Dalit women. 

Kygo supports the Rafto Foundation 

Kygo is known globally for his music that has been streamed more than 6 billion times on Spotify. In India he played at packed arenas in Hyderabad and Mumbai.  He is a strong supporter of the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights. Through the foundation he supports the work of Sexual Minorities of Uganda, SMUG and the Dalit women activists in India. Link kygomusic.com