IN LOVING MEMORY OF NALINIBEN TRIVEDI…. (1 March 1951 – 9 July 2018)

Naliniben was a Joint Secretary at AWAG. She had been a part of AWAG’s journey since the organisation came into existence in 1981.

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Naliniben’s Story

Naliniben was from Saurashtra. She explained that the society there was extremely conservative and people were entrenched into social customs. Right since childhood, she excelled in her studies and was a toper in the class. Even so, Naliniben always thought that she would be a housewife. It was her husband who pushed her into teaching and her students who gradually built up her confidence in teaching.

Naliniben was a sociology professor at HK Arts College where she met Dr. Ila Pathak (AWAG founder). Naliniben said, ‘I had so many questions in my mind while I was growing up and nobody could give me an answer. It was only after interacting with Ilaben that my questions were answered. She answered all my questions about life and then we became friends…In 1980’s when I was pregnant with my daughter, Ilaben always discussed with me the idea of AWAG. I remember we discussed the name, the concept and then in 1981 it was started.’

Naliniben’s most memorable event at AWAG

‘In 1994, Ilaben phoned me and said, ‘Nalini, would you like to come to Bhavnagar for police training?’ I instantly jumped into it and in one of the sessions; one male police officer stood up and said, ‘there is no need of a counsellor in the police station.’ Ilaben then explained that the role of a counsellor and the role of a police man is very different. “The way that police counsel here is in the same way that neighbours, relatives and friends do.” Then a female officer stood up and said to the male officer ‘”remember that time you counselled a girl and went home, you were bragging about how you had helped her, and then she committed suicide after 10 days”. Ilaben again repeated “that is why the counsellor’s role is different, so please I urge to refrain from counselling any ladies coming into the police station.” The female police officer then went on to recall another two or three incidents when the same thing had happened, whilst the male police officer began crying and accepted responsibility for the incidents. I remember that day as if it was yesterday. I remember Ilaben’s strength in delivering her point, how there was so much emotion in that room, and how the whole room shifted their views about the topic of counselling.’

Recent Work

‘I have been working on a research project with the University of Lincoln. We have been looking at the type of invisible violence that occurs when women are abandoned after marriage by non-residential Indian men. We have theorised this as a “new type of violence”. When women get injured through domestic violence, it is possible to complain and show bruises, but when women are abandoned and cannot fulfil their marital rights, they are left hopeless. There is also no law at present to stop this transnational marriage abandonment.  Alongside AWAG’s goal, and my own research expertise, I took this project on board. It was published shortly.

Empowerment

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