Trafalgar Square echoed with poems, pleas, instrumental music, songs, stories from across the globe and dance which were presented by women from different walks of life at the rally of Million Women Rise. Countless women, children and numerous women’s organisations have marched from Oxford Street with the finale rally reaching the Square. The 11 year old movement is considered largest women’s march in Europe. They represented Kurdish Movement in the UK, Imkaan, Women’s Resource Centre, Common Cause UK and Samba Sisters Collective and others, and included Brooke Law, Khadijatou Doyneh, Maman Maguy, Marai Larasi, Seyi Akiwowo, Tolu Agbelusi, Vanessa Freeman, Vivien Hayes and a world-record holder and associate lecturer at the University of Sunderland in London Ragasudha Vinjamuri. It was very interesting to have a classical dance depiction of women’s intense story of empowerment as well as suffering befitting to the theme of the rally.
In a mood and atmosphere that were quite charged, Ragasudha with her impactful movements and expressions demonstrated that abuse against women comes in many forms, not just physical or mental, but also administrative and social. She performed on an oral legend of hard working women being subjected to outrageous treatment, and degrading taxation. It took one daring step by one courageous woman through one brave action that has sparked a big protest, a revolt that ended in abolishing the systemic exploitation.
Ragasudha is known to have been presenting Indian classical dance on niche topics. Her name recently entered the prestigious Limca Book of Records 2018 in the Performing Arts chapter. She has been empowering women through arts, through Sanskruti Centre and Sur Bharti Women’s Collective, increasing their self-esteem and confidence. She was instrumental in bringing different forms of Indian dancing to a variety of audiences including carnivals, community celebrations, formal settings such as different auditoria and the Houses of Parliament. She has been recently conferred title of Natyakala Sudha in Chennai at the hands of legendary singer Mrs P. Susheela. With the launch of dance classes at the Indian Gymkhana Club at Osterley of late, she hopes to train and shape another generation of performers who carry the baton of Indian culture and heritage in the UK.
Million Women Rise movement campaigns for ending violence against women and works with international women’s movements for different campaigns.