‘Speak out’, a campaign against bullying and sexual abuse, initiated by a fifteen year old school boy from Bengaluru, Maharshi Sanket, is going live this Saturday, May 19, at Dialogues cafe, Koramangala.
A stream of events that range from an art exhibition, live painting, music, conversations and a workshop on gender empowerment and personal safety for preteens, teens and parents, are scheduled from 10am - 2pm. It’s a free event and open to all.
The exhibition will feature artworks by Sanket, and there will be a live painting session with senior artists like Sukant Panigrahy, Shan Re, MG Doddamani and Shomi Banerjee. The anthem of the campaign is to make its debut; it is composed by Chris Avinash, sung by Ankita Kundu and the lyrics are by Sadhu Nityanand.
Sameera Fernandes, marketing and communications advisor will anchor a discussion with Deepak Thimaya, TV personality and filmmaker, Sandhya Mendonca, author and cultural evangelist, Roopamouli Mysore, philanthropist and the artists.
The events in Dialogues cafe are just the start. Sanket plans on going on a Bhuyatra to spread awareness about bullying and sexual abuse in as many cities between Bengaluru and Mumbai. With stops in Tumakuru, Sira, Davangere, Pune, Lonavala and Navi Mumbai, his 14 day journey will have him cover over 1000 kms.
Sanket was already well acquainted with colours by the time he was three. His inspirations range from renowned artists like Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, Tagore, Amrita Shergil and Ramkinkar Baij. Senior artists like Shan Re, MG Doddamani and Shomi Banerjee have also been instrumental in his growth as an artist.
Exploring the city on his cycle is something Sanket really enjoys. His interest got him short listed for the Bengaluru Bicycle Mayorship, an initiative of the Dutch organisation ByCS and ESAF, an NGO based in Kerala. Passionate about the society he lives in, Sanket has been working with people and organisations who are involved in social and environmental causes, like the ‘Siddharth Village’ which promotes tribal welfare in Odisha and is associated with FLOW school for children with special needs.
This young boy is taking his passion one step forward with this campaign. Disturbed by the silent distress of people around him, he wants to give these victims a voice. He believes that if the full extent of the victim’s suffering is brought to light, it will make the perpetrator think twice before committing the act. “ I want to let them know that they are not lonely in their suffering. And that they can reach out, take help and that they don't need to suffer alone”, he expresses. His want to give these victims a platform to tell their side of the story is what has driven him to initiate this campaign.
His reason behind a cycling campaign is that it is easier to reach out to people, especially people living in towns and villages and interact with them. He believes that his cycle gives him a more direct way to spread his message wherever he goes.
Why they support the campaign:
Sukant Panigrahy, “We all get bullied some time or the other, in schools, homes, online. We need to raise these issues and raise awareness and find a solution”.
Shan Re, “Breaking the silence is the only way we can change society for the better. I am here to support Sanket in his effort to make a difference”.
Sandhya Mendonca, “Sanket is addressing an issue that is of increasing concern. Awareness will help prevent abuse and will also help avert long term trauma to the victims through the creation of an enabling support system”.
Come be a part of the ‘Speak Out’ campaign this Saturday. Sanket’s Bhuyatra will set off on Monday, May 21 at 7 am from State Central Library, Cubbon Park. Ride with him at least part of the way to support the cause.
By Minnal Paranan