Logo SAVE - Sisters against violent extremism

10. February 2009

participants SAVE Delhi © WwB

Participants in the SAVE launch in Delhi at the Insitute for Social Sciences

Shantanu Saikia © WwB

Shantanu Saikia, a Delhi based journalist who lost his wife in the attacks in the Taj hotel in Mumbai

DPS school choir © WwB

The DPS school choir in Delhi

SAVE group Lucknow © WwB

The participants in the SAVE launch in Lucknow

Edit Schlaffer & Archana Kapoor, SAVE © WwB

Edit Schlaffer and Archana Kapoor at the SAVE launch at the University of Lucknow

Nurses Mumbai © WwB

Nurses at the Cama Albless Hospital in Mumbai who saved the lives of the mothers and their babies

SAVE India

26/11: Never Again? Bombay, Kabul, and Cairo in just 20 Days

SAVE – Sisters Against Violent Extremism – is a new movement to equip women for the challenges posed by political and religious radical efforts. These are problems not only for societies in the midst of crisis or upheaval, but are also present in Europe. When women are self-confident enough to perceive dangers in their immediate surroundings, in their families and in their religious societies, latent extremist currents can be directly confronted.

The international SAVE conference in Vienna was an unorthodox meeting. No working papers were read, no positions were defended. Everyone was too busy actualizing the dream of a common, secure territory. Women are practical and modest, so no grand projects were designed. Instead, the idea of SAVE support bases, “local SAVE spaces,” was developed. And the first SAVE spaces are already emerging in India and England.

Just before the Vienna Conference, Bombay was overrun by a singular wave of terror that cost the lives of more than 170 people. SAVE was determined to show solidarity with the victims. Archana Kapoor, who has worked with Women without Borders for many years, immediatey suggested making a film with the Bombay victims. “The human tragedies here do not let go of me,” she wrote in a short message after the first day of filming.

SAVE Spaces in Delhi, Lucknow, and Bombay

Archana mobilised teachers, university deans, civil society representatives, journalists, and NGO activists to start SAVE India. The echo in the press was enormous, in English language as well as Hindi newspapers (see links below).

In Delhi we made contact with the Delhi Public School, R K Puram, which is one of the leading secondary schools with 10,000 students in Delhi alone and 60,000 youths in other location (including in the Middle East). Shyama Chona, the school’s principal, organized a meeting with the 25 top students for a SAVE workshop. The children were enthusiastic about SAVE and immediately decided to start a weekly after-school SAVE club with the motto “Schools Against Violent Extremism.” In these clubs press articles are written, Facebook groups are founded, and the members are already working on opinion pieces for the region’s largest newspapers. In camera statements, the children explained: “Mahatma Gandhi’s children are mobilizing against violent extremism.” A student suggested writing a letter to the sole surviving terrorist from Mumbai, Kasab. The school choir presented a song against terrorism:“Stop, throw away your weapons,” which is the prelude to a series of songs with themes of violence and extremism.

In Lucknow, a city in the north of the country that has already witnessed much violence in its history, SAVE India will cooperate with the local university and its 40,000 students. The dean, Professor Nishi Pandey, is already mobiising to start SAVE programs on campus. The female students are, like everywhere in the world, in the majority very ambitious and idealistic. They very much want to be active and to organize themselves for SAVE.
The training program “Girls Fit for Politics!,” which Women without Borders developed and implemented in various regions, will also be included in the university curriculum. Violence is a big problem on the campus and can only be balanced by the consistent implementation of diversity strategies. Young women can thus be won over to mobilize bravely and resolutely against extremism and violence with the appropriate expertise.

In Mumbai, victims, survivors, and relatives of the November terror attacks had the opportunity to share their trauma, loss, anger and pain for the first time in a SAVE workshop. It was a unique meeting that touched us all deeply.
SAVE India will now develop a campaign together with this group: these people do not want our pity, but our pledge to make sure that they will not be forgotten.
Farid Khan, General Secretary of Majis-e-Shoora, presented an idea over the course of the workshop that was immediately seized upon: he will invite the nurses who saved the lives of over 400 mothers and babies in the Cama Albless hospital during the November 26 attacks to his mosque in a Muslim quarter to show their faces, to honor their bravery and their dedication, and to thus build a bridge between the Muslim and the Hindu populations.

Please click here to read more about SAVE in Mumbai:

Please click on the follwing links to read some of the press articles on the SAVE launches in India:


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