The Story of Rashmi Anand

| Tagged in: Real & Uncommon Heroes, Victims of the System

A lady of joyous energy and bubbly enthusiasm, not to forget the evergreen smile which never fades away every time she meets us. It is her who we are proud to have on Our Advisory Board to share the same space of seeking justice with us and empower and awaken those who need it the most.

Rashmi Anand re-started her life at 35. After leaving a 10 year long traumatising and fearful marriage,she was left with 2 children, a daughter, then 9 and a son, then 5. The trauma didnt only effect her but also to the extent that her daughter became withdrawn and the son, quiet and in a shell. Struggling mentally, physically, emotionally and financially, she managed to hold her children and herself together with some fearlessness and balance.

“We have come a long way, my children and I. Our lives are finally peaceful. Life has been a struggle, and in many ways still is. But no problem detracts from the amount we have received, and receive every day.”

She works today with issues of gender and Domestic Violence, having voluntarily counseled hundreds of women at the Crime against women Cell of Delhi Police at Nanakpura New Delhi, over a period of 5 years, as well as at a personal level. In fact, the Delhi Police 2010 calendar was based on her first book and on my life. She has prepared 2 widely acclaimed ready-reference booklets for the Special Police Unit for Women and Children, New Delhi, which are on Women and Child Laws and their rights as well as the duties of society towards them. These are entitled “Stop Violence against Women” and “Stop Violence against Children”. A special edition of her book Room 103, Nanakpura Thana was published by Delhi Police and distributed by them to various stakeholders of society – Judges, Bureaucrats, Decision makers, NGOs amongst others.

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Recipient of the CNN-IBN Zindagi Live award and Doordarshan’s Woman Achiever award of Aadhi Abaadi, baat Naari ki, the Bharat Excellence Award, the Karmaveer Puraskaar, the Neerja Bhanot Award and the Naari Shakti Puraskaar from the President of India, she has also been felicitated by the Chinmaya Mission as a Karamyogi at the discourse of Karam Yoga of the Bhagvad Gita by their worldwide head Swami Tejomayananda. She works with the Regional Bishops Conference of the Church on women’s issues.

Also on the Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence, the other members of which include the Representatives of UN Women, National Commission for Women, US Aid, Special Branch of Delhi Police and the International Center for Research on Women, Rashmi is an advisor to our very iDishoom.com as her cause comes from deep resentment for the system and society. She even  co-ordinates with Shelter homes, most especially the All India Women’s Conference to rehabilitate women – get them a roof and food – help them develop skills through vocational training.

She has been on social awareness shows of CNN IBN, NDTV’s Salaam Zindagi, Doordarshan, Lok Sabha TV and on Satyamev Jayate, amongst many others. Articles/Documentaries have been done with across the world – Mexico, Sweden, France and New Zealand. The latest issue Chicken Soup for the Soul inspirational series of books carries the story of her life, entitled Awakening.

She gives talks and lectures to schools and colleges and students at the university level – on the human spirit, on courage, choices and strength, also a resource person for Gender issues and human values for the National Indian Open Schooling Board, she gives talks and lectures at Corporate Houses on the human spirit and positivity, and also on the Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Law, with the wider perspective of Decorum, Dignity and Decency.

Rashmi runs a Trust, the Woman of the Elements Trust, which provides free legal aid to women and child victims of violence who are below the earning capacity of Rs. 5,000 a month. Legal and emotional Counseling are free for women across earning capacities. The long-term objective of the Trust is to establish shelter homes for women and child victims of violence not only to give them a roof and food, but also give them means through education and vocation so that they may become financially self-sufficient. The Woman of the Elements Trust is a registered Trust and all donations are eligible for 50% tax exemption under section 80G of Income Tax Act 1961. We are not lawyers but we know how imperative it is for women to receive legal help for free – survival is hard enough. Nobody knows that better than her.

We take proud to announce that Rashmi has just initiated a project with the West District of Delhi Police called “Bandhu” which works to cement relationships between Police and Community, most especially the marginalised – women, and children from lower income areas. This program is unusual for it works at internal awakening and fortification – of the police and the community – so as to build bridges and initiate closeness between them.

“We need a shift in thinking to make this world a better place for our children, and I wish to do workshops based on my books to first of all create that place of positivity in the minds of one and all.”

 

The following are the books written by her-

Woman of the Elements: A search for identity which reveals the different aspects of the elements of Air, Water, Fire and Earth in every woman. Each page is an affirmation of self, and each page is a song. The 2010 Delhi Police Calendar was based upon this book, and upon my life.

Journey of the Goddess: :This book sings of the journey of every woman through the four stages of her life: The beginning of her journey wherein she enters this world as hope; The journey into her prime wherein she becomes the lover, wife, mother, soul mate and friend; The journey into her self wherein she turns inward; and the final stage wherein she transcends her journey – when she becomes all-knowing and all-wise.

A heart that honours: This book speaks of the different things we honour in our life, Love, Joy, Truth, Courage of Conviction, Roots, Freedom… About 78 topics are covered in all, and each page is a song.

Night of Eternity: This book speaks of the 3 stages of the soul’s journey through Death. It is an acceptance and understanding of Death, leading up to the true understanding of Life. Each page is again, a song.

As I Walk : This is a series of learnings – from experiences of joy, sorrow, happiness, anguish – through smiles and tears and hopes and fears. Each page is a consequence of a different experience, and each page is a song.

The Confused Octopus and other such things… : This delightfully lime-green book is an illustrated collection of short poems for children – mostly humorous, some deep, some teaching, some simply observing.

The Snigglefadoo and other such things… : This is the second in the children’s series, and bright lemon yellow!

Room 103, Nanakpura Thana (a Times of India publication): I counsel women going through violence at the Delhi Police Crime against Women Cell at Nanakpura, Moti Bagh, New Delhi. This book has stories of 9 women counseled at the Cell, and touches upon the mindset, psychology, social norms and issues, and the law of domestic violence. My co-author, Suman Nalwa, Additional DCP at the Cell gives legal and police perspectives, and includes the systems and the role of the Police to help in such cases.

Shelter (a Times of India publication): :My dream is to establish Shelter Homes for abandoned, destitute and abused women wherein they can build skills and fortify themselves emotionally to make themselves and their children financially self-sufficient. This book has stories of 11 women counseled, their lives pertaining to the issue of shelter. This book also has a blueprint of the shelter homes which are as yet only a dream, but I have no doubt will one day be a reality. My co-author Dr Manorama Bawa who shares this dream with me is the erstwhile President of All India Womens Conference and the Chief Patron of the AIWC Old-age homes and has given her own perspectives on the issue of shelter.

Haunted (a Times of India publication): :Haunted is a collection of 5 stories on issues pertaining to children _ especially those children who have seen Domestic Violence. It deals with the mind, the environment, the consequences faced by victims and the mindset of evil that lies within the perpetrator of such violence as well. What makes Haunted a truly haunting book is the way it gives a chilling account of the way domestic violence can lead to the twisted mindsets of the people involved – from the perpetrator of violence himself to the victims& which leads to the percolation of that evil into society. This book is a wake-up call to us as a society to stem violence in the home, so that our children, our future, may be secure. Charu WaliKhanna, Member, National Commission for Women, Social Activist and Lawyer, gives her own perspectives and the laws relating to the issues touched upon.

Out Of Tune (a Times of India publication): Written with my daughter Sonakshi Chaudhry, this is a humorous book on the lighter side of our own lives. It is this book, truly, that we, as a little family of three can look at as a wonderful and joyous place in our journey where we can look at ourselves and our lives and laugh!

 

Rashmi isnt a normal woman but a superb lady to be around. In her words-

“Life, I never sought of thee     To give grand name or riches to me.
Some hope I had    Some small dream,
That now so distant seems.    Yet life, for all the sorrow that you brought
So great is the learning that you wrought.    For every obstacle I’ve faced
I’ve learnt my own path to trace.    For every sigh of anguish or pain,
I’ve learnt to laugh again.    With every fall I’ve learned to rise above
And I have truly learned to love.    For every tear that from me you’ve wrung
More joyous has been the song I’ve sung.    So greatly you’ve taught, you’ve moulded me
Life, how can I not honour thee?”

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