The 2020 drastic lockdowns in India resulted in the closure of schools. In Nagaland, the logistics of mobilizing care and protection for vulnerable children from violent homes became a rallying point for frontline community workers and grassroots advocacy groups. The image represents how existing inequalities and gender violence exacerbated globally.
The sharp increase in gender-based violence witnessed a flow of battered partners and children in rehabilitation homes. New networks of community workers and legal teams emerged to provide support structures. Shifting between the police station, legal office, and the rehabilitation homes, children from violent homes were unable to attend online classes due to the prevailing situation, and also for the lack of logistical support like mobile phones, data services and computers. Consequently, rates of dropout increased during the pandemic.
Completed in October 2020, the artwork titled “Police man came dad in jail”, is sketched by a 7 year old child living in a rehabilitation home in Dimapur (Nagaland). The image is a manifestation of the personal nightmares of a small child. Yet, it was also emblematic of the larger tragedies experienced by millions of vulnerable and precarious migrants forced to undertake a long march back home from jobs, workplaces that disappeared overnight in India.
The above image is part of a photo/video exhibition titled, “During the Pandemic” that showcases the logistics of advocacy to gender violence during the pandemic. (http://www.dollykikon.com/engagements/during-the-pandemic)
Dolly Kikon is an anthropologist. She teaches at the Anthropology and Development Studies Program at the University of Melbourne.