Letter from an Unborn Child: Thotkata’s act of protest | The Daily Star
01:56 PM, February 21, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:44 PM, February 22, 2021


Letter from an Unborn Child: Thotkata’s act of protest

"[Off] Limits", a group exhibition currently underway in "Chobi Mela Shunno" at DrikPath Bhobon, features projects by fourteen South Asian artistes. In a corner of the basement at DrikPath Bhobon, a series of letters are displayed for everyone to read. 'Letter from an Unborn Child' by Thotkata, reflects the anguish and pain of an unborn child, as the kid addresses these letters to the readers, shoppers, and authorities related to the Tazreen factory fire in 2012. 

On November 24, 2012, more than 119 garment workers died when a fire broke out in Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia's Nischintapur. Mimi, a five- months pregnant worker, was among the unidentified victims of the tragedy. The letters portray Mimi's unborn child's anger and plea to the ones present in the world today.

The main project that Thotkata has worked on to present at "Chobi Mela" is a performative audio programme called 'Gabhir rate, moner kotha', produced by Baba Betar. Several people shared and talked about the issues they face, experience or struggle with, at this programme.

Thotkata's journey as a group started in 2011 when they came together as a collective, with a vibrant and diverse blog site. Thotkata started working on feminism, gender-based violence, and content that challenged the systematic sexism in our society.

"The blogs helped me out immensely, as I was able to get regular feedback from our readers," shares Samari Chakma, a member of Thotkata. "They helped me to finally publish my book in 2018 as well."

Created by a group of friends, who met each other at political rallies, addas, or in academia, Thotkata, in its very small way, has been trying to include online and offline feminist debates. Thotkata, which translates to 'Cut lip', indicates someone who is not careful of his or her speech.

"In most cases, marginalised communities do not get any space or platform to talk about their issues, there is limited space to discuss critical subjects," shares Nasrin Siraj, a member of Thotkata.

Over the years, Thotkata participated in various protests and worked on events of violence and different industrial accidents. They have been actively participating in various protests and their installation at this year's Chobi Mela Shunno is an act of protest against the authorities responsible for the Tazreen Factory fire.

"We feel that there is a growing need to discuss these issues, generate intellectual debates, and develop a different perspective on feminism, out of the mainstream age-old ideas," shares Nasrin Siraj.

"We see the Thotkata blog as a space for debate, dissent, and discussion in order to build solidarity and comradeship for women's liberation," says Saydia Gulrukh, a member of Thotkata.

With the motto, 'No compromise with the question of women's liberation', Thotkata works with the objective to talk straightforwardly, and raise questions.

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