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Published on 11 Mar 2014 | over 2 years ago

Pothonatoker Dol celebrates International Women's Day 2014
(For viewers who do not understand Bangla, please switch on subtitles/closed caption CC)

What you see in the video is taken from three performances on three different public buses on March 08, 2014 celebrating International Women's Day. Fellow passengers were unaware that it was a performance until the end, when it was announced to them and leaflets were distributed.

It was a public intervention project based around the flash mob concept. For practical reasons to keep the performance “real”, its video documentation does not capture all aspects of the project.

The government of Bangladesh a few years ago has made it mandatory for all public busses to have first nine seats reserved for “Women, children, and disabled”. This is to ensure ease of journey for women. However, the way women have been identified along with children and disabled people, is another debate, which is not the subject of this project.

This project addresses sexual and other forms of gender harassments women face everyday on public transportation in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh. Majority of the manual labour workforce comprise of women. Office work and corporate jobs are seeing an increasing number of women too. Majority of these female workers use public transport to commute. The message in this project is about upholding equal rights, which in Bangladesh still remains on paper only. Even though our heads of state for past 25 years have been women, in everyday social situations we have a far way to go.

With concept and direction from Zaid Islam, Pothonatoker Dol improvised a number of different scenarios played out on public buses, in collaboration with a diverse group of artists-
Shashanko Saha and Parvin Sultana of Prachyanat, Salauddin Adhar of Dhaka Theatre, independent artist Shaheed Ahmed Mithu, fashion designer Shama Kun, rocker Tanvyr Chowdhury, and artists Mujtaba Zubair, Sagnik Sutradhar Nirjhar, Tarannum Nibir. Photonatoker Dol performers were Rakib Ahmed Baabu, Samir Ahsan, Mamur Akter, Tanay Biswas, Iftekhar Kabir, Asaduzzaman Noor, and Raka Tabassum. Thanks to Rakib Ahmed Baabu, the "curious passenger" for making the video.

Special thanks to all the passengers of the three buses, and to Dhaka Metropolitan Police.

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