With mixed feelings it is time for me to leave Mumbai. I have been here for almost a year including my 5 months internship with Vacha, travel and now the 10 weeks of MFS. So I have quite made myself a second home here.
As a last event with Men Against Violenca and Abuse (MAVA) I was invited to come to their arranged film fest in Goa called Sambhav, meaning possibility in Hindi. The fest is a two-day film festival on gender, masculinity, sexuality and relationships in 8 cities and 4 districts.
Attending the first day of the festival was the Swedish ambassador in Mumbai, Ulrika Sundberg. I had the pleasure of talking and discussing with her on some of the topics above.
A few documentaries and short film that was screened included:
And of course the documentary that has been made on MAVAs work.
Happy new year everyone!
I seem to be following this trend of delayed updates, but life here takes way too much of my attention.
Even though I was told that going abroad for MFS will not always be as smooth as you want it to be, it is rather more likely that the opposite happens, I am a little disappointed on how slow the work has turned out to be. There have been times where the stress got hold of me with a strong feeling I don’t have enough time to finish it.
Due to different things, almost already from start, difficulties arranging interviews, delays in getting the interviews translated and transcribed, holidays and being sick I have decided to submit my study on a later date in March instead of next week. This decision I made together with my supervisor. She believed that I should give my study the time it needs rather than try to hurry up just for the sake of submitting.
This certainly gave me some peace of mind and I have been able to systematically go through the material. This is my last week in Mumbai. I will try to get some final questions answered from MAVA before I leave. Meet with my translator and some other people I have been in contact with for this study as it is easier while here rather than back in Malmö
I also took some time off to travel for the new years weekend to the countryside outside Pune. The landscape was amazingly beautiful and the sky was clear and full of stars at night. A peaceful New Year’s Eve without the hazzle of fancy dinner and fireworks. The Indian countryside is something completely else from the intense city of Mumbai and it was wonderful to get a break.
So it finally happened.. in the middle of trying to analyze my material and finally getting somewhere… I got a cold making my brain work the slowest possible. Then, as a trip to India is not ever complete without it, a wonderful case of stomach problems hit me. As if a normal stresstummy is not enough. This left me weak for several days and I am still not feeling 100%. It was after all doomed to happened so I soldier on!!
Therefore I dont have any pictures from this week but I share the results of my saffronbun making mentioned in my last post
In a way I am almost glad I am not home in Sweden to celebrate christmas. Now I can just lock myself in my room and study not having to stress about meeting family and friends while doing so.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
So I have finally completed all my interviews. I had aimed for 10 but with some difficulties of getting students to agree for interviews I ended up with 8. I am starting to stress a little about finishing it all in time and working hard analysing my material and writing. (So hard I forget to do my updates here haha).
Today is Lucia and I’mm both struck with a cold, making my brain work all slow, and homesickness. Since I have been away from home over Christmas a few times before I came prepared. Other times I have been able to go to IKEA for my homesickness treatment, but India only have one store in the country hahah. So, this time, to save some time trying to search for ingredients I brought dry yeast and “pärlsocker”. I am planning to do some cinnamonbuns and saffronbuns (lussebullar). Hopefully it turns out okey. The house where I stay doesn’t have a proper oven though. Which is not a common thing to have in India. They usually make do with just a gas stove. Wish me luck!
One great thing (among many) about doing my thesis here in India is the marvelous option of ordering food through an app. It is cheap and I can pretty much chose from whatever restaurang in the area. This saves me great time. Like instead of cocking I can 100% focus on writing…. or watch youtube videos…. or sit for 40 mins deciding what I want to order and then wait another 40 mins for delivery… you all know how it goes. And did I mention dessert.
Anyways! It is for sure time to pick up some speed to finish this in time.
Christmas is around the corner and so is deadline!!
Time is flying by! It is easy to forget to update! A lot has been going on.. I had my birthday and went out of town for some celebrations. I have managed to complete five interviews all of a sudden. I am also getting more and more comfortable going on the local trains even if the train as such is not a one of comfort. If you are unlucky with the timing in the mornings and evenings when all of Mumbai also want to go on the trains.. yeah.. well, then you do your best to even manage to get onboard. Put your bag in the front, tackle the door from the side, try to get hold of the doorhandle and squeez your way up. And don’t be afraid to use them elbows your mother gave you cos you need them. At least I am a little taller compared to the majority which is an advantage. This week however I didn’t even make it further in the train than just to stand by the door. And here in India the door does not close.. Exciting to say the least… I wanted to take a picture but then it would have been for the price of losing my phone. Anyways, I try to avoid peakhours as much as possible. It is just not worth the bruises and the sweating and the stares I get from looking like the lost tourist that I am. However, I feel pretty proud about managing this good haha!
So as I said.. I have now conducted five interviews and have five left to go. It has been a little difficult to get hold of students and still trying to get the remaining interviews confirmed. I have transcribed two of them and it takes sooo much time. 50 min becomes 11 pages of text and about 4-5 hours of work. The other three interviews have been in hindi where I have had the help of an interpreter. So waiting for her to give me a more detailed translation for the interviews before I can transcribe them aswell. But part from this tedious transcribing all this is fun. To meet people and learn new things. I am so thankfull to be able to do all this!
Last week was Diwali, the Hindu festival of light. Diwali symbolises the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. Homes and buildings are decorated with lights, firecrackers are being set on fire in almost every street corner and it is not only cute little *pops* and *cracks* but rather the sounds of tiny bombs. Everyone is laughing at me for jumping of my chair from being startled. It feels like even the cats who lives in my apartment are looking at me weirdly after my little jerking dancemoves.
As promised in my last post I will give you a short introduction to the organisation I will be working with and what my study will be about.
The Mumbai based NGO Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA) is the first men’s organization in India directly intervening against gender-based violence towards women. For the past 25 years MAVA has been working on engaging men and boys in India on gender issues and equality. Over the years, they have developed several methods for involving young people through interactive workshops, street-plays, newspapers, poetry reading sessions, talks and discussions.
I will be doing a qualitative study on one of MAVA’s programs. A one year mentor-training program engaging male college students in conversations addressing issues related to gender based discrimination and violence. The growing demand of involving men and boys to achieve gender equality has led to an increased number of organisations and programs around the world to answer this demand. Where MAVA is one of them. With the theory that gender norms and social values are socialised from an early age, leading to the unequal power relation, MAVA tries to break gender stereotypes and change men’s and boys’ views on patriarchal society. I intend to interview 10 college students who have recently completed MAVAs one-year mentor training to investigate how they describe their experiences of the program. Focus will be on the training program seen from the participating students’ perspective ending in a report for MAVA to use in developing their approaches and programs.
My overall research question aims to cover:How do the interviewed participants of MAVA’s mentoring training describe the programs content and the impact it has had on how they perceive gender-based discriminations, equality and patriarchal norms in society after completing the one-year program?
One last exciting thing before I end this post is that I yesterday met with Priya, my translator for this project. She is herself studying a master in Social Work at Tata Institute of Social Sciences here in Mumbai. It was great to meet her to discuss the best way to go about the interviews which I hope we can start with next week!
As part of my Bachelor degree in Social Work at Malmö University I spent five months earlier this year in Mumbai to carry out my field placement (Verksamhetsförlagd utbildning). The internship was with a non-governmental organisation called Vacha which focuses on girls’ and young women’s empowerment and education. Vacha is a term in several Indian languages meaning speech, articulation and self-expression and the organisation work to give the girls a voice and a platform to be able to speak up in their communities and public spaces. If you want to read more about their work in their community centres in and around Mumbai you can follow the link below: www.vacha.org.in
I am now back in Mumbai for a MFS and looking forward to further experience this fast paced and intense life that this city, with a population of about 22 million, has to offer. The people, the food, the sounds and the smells. The culture, the colours and celebrations. The luxury and the poverty. The traffic… well maybe not so much the traffic but at least you always have something interesting to look at while you are stuck in an auto rikshaw. Surrounded by hundreds of other “riks”, cars, motorbikes, trucks, dogs, goats, street sellers, all while in 36 degrees, breathing in the heavenly smell of pollution. How can one not I love it?
India is the fastest growing economy in the world. However, not everyone seems to be onboard the fast moving train of progress. The Indian middle class might be growing but there is, for example, a gaping rural-urban divide as well as a gender discriminations when it comes to economic progress and development. So yes there is a whole bunch of inequalities in this country. Not only economic, but also when it comes to social rights and opportunities. But there is also good things happening:
The above links are just two examples of big top-level decisions. However, on grassroot level great things are happening every day. I have seen this during my internship and I get motivated by these hardworking people that want to see positive change in their communities and country.
So follow me on my two months minor field study to see where it takes me. In my next post I will introduce you to my project and the organisation I will be working with – Men Against Violence and Abuse.