📣 Exploring Brown Bodies Workshops

Issue 6 of our zine on 'Brown Bodies' is out now and to celebrate the launch, we're excited to host a mini-workshop! Read on for highlights from Dalit History Month, and new blog posts

Hi folks, we hope you are all keeping well and taking care as we continue to navigate the tricky terrain we have found ourselves in. We wanted to check in and say hi and share some updates on our work. April was Dalit History Month - the team is committed to unlearning the ways in which we uphold caste oppression and amplifying Dalit voices. Read on to find the summary of our ‘Caste & Food"‘ reading circle as well as a blog with activist, Jyotsna Siddharth.

We’re also excited to present our much awaited ‘Brown Bodies’ zine which is available to download on our website. We want to express our gratitude to all the people who submitted and have engaged with it since the launch - we received an amazing response. To celebrate our launch and delve deeper into exploring our relationships with our bodies, we’re excited to offer a mini course on Brown Bodies facilitated by Ameira Sikand. More information below.

As always, in solidarity.

The Rights Collective

Exploring Brown Bodies Workshops

We're very excited to be hosting a mini course on brown bodies in order to create space for deeper and nuanced conversations around this topic - to learn more about what our bodies mean to us, how they are politicised and oppressed for profit and the ways in which we might resist in our own lives.

Register here

Issue 6 Zine: BROWN BODIES

Issue 6 of our zine on Brown Bodies is now live on our website to download! We have an amazing selection of personal essays, poems, and beautiful art pieces capturing the varied experiences of our community.

We wanted our contributors to lean into the broadness of this topic and they most definitely delivered. Each of us knows the beautiful complexity of being a brown person in a world that doesn’t entirely understand us. Whether it’s how we are judged within spaces that should be safe or the unsolicited advice about how we should dress, sit, be. Sometimes this brings us to tears and sometimes it makes us laugh. The bountiful and visible hair on our heads, bodies and faces. How we manage our health or food. Our longing to connect. The joy we feel in our culture and clothing. The proud moments we share with our families. The frustration and disappointment when the way the world expects us to be doesn’t match our love for ourselves.

While reading this issue, we invite you to listen to this playlist curated by each of the featured writers in the Zine. If you want to learn more from the contributors and listen to some readings, you can catch up on the IG Live conversation here.

Anti-Caste Reading Circle: Caste and Food

Session 4 of our reading circle looking at Caste and Food is now available to view! We had a great session looking at the politics of food and discussing the associations of different food whether that be religious or caste based whilst growing up.

We've included reflection questions put together by our facilitators Jyotsna Siddharth and Varun Khanna, and a snippet of an ice-breaker exercise participants did during the session where we attempted to deconstruct daal.

TRC Podcast Season 1 - FINAL EPISODE

Our final episode of season 1 of our podcast is out now on Spotify and Apple! This week, Habiba spoke with Tasnima Uddin - writer, organiser and campaigner working across race, gender, abolition and citizenship. She is the co-founder of Nijjor Manush - an advocacy group for Bangladeshis in the UK - and project lead at Restless Beings.

Tasnima and Habiba discuss navigating faith & identity through Islamophobia and racism, the need for community-focused organising and the importance of recognising difference in order to strengthen solidarity between campaigning groups. Read the show notes here.

Watch this space for season 2 - coming soon!


India’s devastating second COVID-19 wave undoubtedly took place within the context of a global healthcare inequality, where richer countries tend to get first dibs and hoard access to vaccine advancements.

Articles & Blogs

  • With the recent proposed hijab ban by the French government, team member Habiba traces the trajectory of colonial though that informed this to French Algeria. Read Gendered Islamophobia here.

  • How does one assert their identity and navigate being asexual in India? تحریر // Tehreer participant Sivakami Prasanna writes about her experiences in ‘Reframing Desires’.

  • Tamil’s Healing Journey is a short story taking us through an account of healing through yoga, meditation, and journaling. Written by Tehreer participant Sorubiha Kamalanathan.

  • This Dalit History Month, The Rights Collective interviewed Dalit activists working within Dalit liberation and rights movements. This conversation takes place between Inaya Hussain and Jyotsna Siddharth - actor, intersectional artist, activist and founder of online platform Project Anti-Caste, Love, who is currently based in India. Jyotsna shares her thoughts on Dalit History Month, her journey into activism and her hopes for the future of Dalit communities. Read here.

  • The Battle for Brick Lane - Dr. Fatima Rajina and Sotez Chowdhury from campaigning group Nijjor Manush spork to Taj Ali at Tribune Mag as to why proposals for a new shopping mall at the site of the Old Truman Brewery is disastrous for the local community.

  • The Asian Youth Movements were set up in the 70’s to organise against racism in the streets of Brittan- read about the trial of the Bradford 12 and the activist who demanded their acquittal.


The Police Will Not Save Us, تحریر // Tehreer 2021 cohort & recommendations from the team.

Hi folks, we hope you are all keeping well and taking care as we continue to navigate the onslaught of many systems of oppression. It’s been a while since we checked in so we wanted to say hi and share some of our work and resources you may find helpful.

It’s been a tough couple of weeks in the U.K. All of us here have been reeling from the sudden, and tragic loss of Sarah Everard, who was killed by a serving Metropolitan Police Officer. We know these state apparatuses will not protest us, particularly marginalised people who continue to be systematically discriminated against. We recently published an article written by one of our ‎تحریر // Tehreer participants; Hajera Begum who distills the main points about the expansion of police powers. Read on for the link to the full article.

Watch this space for our much awaited ‘Brown Bodies’ zine too - we can’t wait for you all to see it! We want to express our gratitude and extend a thank you to all the people who submitted, we loved reading all the beautiful essays, personal stories, and seeing your artwork.

As always, in solidarity.

The Rights Collective

We’re so honoured to introduce our wonderful Tehreer Cohort 2021! We are excited to launch this project and have the opportunity to work with individuals from a range of backgrounds and locations that span from North America to U.K. to the subcontinent! Meet the participants; Fabliha Anbar, Hajera Begum, Abarna Selvajara, Niharika Pore, Sivakami Prasanna, and Sorubiha Kamalanathan!

The Rights Collective Podcast 📣 NEW EPISODE ALERT!

This week, Inaya spoke with Pritt Music, a rising R&B star from South London, who uses her Tamil heritage to influence her art both lyrically and musically. Pritt and Inaya speak candidly about navigating identity within the diaspora, how this has manifested in Pritt’s experience in the music industry - including the limitations of representation politics - and the importance of intergenerational dialogue & understanding.

If you missed episode 6, you can listen here. We sat down with Meera Ghani, a community builder who works in the environmental justice space.

Checking Our Privilege

We noticed our posts on the Brown Women [Un]Learn Reading Circle always get more engagement than our other posts, and we wanted to take a moment to bring attention to our positionality as a diaspora collective working in the anti-caste movement and acknowledge the ways we exercise our privilege within this context.

We want to emphasise again is that this work is NOT new, we are not inventing or even leading it. We are simply trying to unlearn the ways in which we ourselves have benefited from, perpetuated and enacted casteism in our lives. In doing that work, we are being led by and learning from caste-oppressed individuals and communities who have done the difficult work of thinking through, analysing and sharing their lived experiences through books, articles, videos and more.

We have put together a short list of Dalit-led organisations / accounts doing important anti-caste work, from whom we are constantly learning. See image below to check these out. This is a non-exhaustive list and we know there are many more organisations doing important work. If you know of any other accounts doing work in this space then please let us know.

You can read our the summary of the second meet up of the reading circle here.

The Police Will Not Save Us

It is important to remember the police are often the direct perpetrators of harm and directly uphold systems that do the same, it is also important to remember that myth that the police keep us safe only harms us.

Hajera adeptly outlines the functions of the police, the dangers of the current legislation being passed, and encourages us to work for and imagine a better future without policing.

Read Now

The History of South Asian Women in the U.K.

Having entered Britain without prior experience in the workplace, dealing with institutionalised racism and unprepared for the hostile environment that awaited them, South Asian women faced many challenges.

Check our our article about the history of South Asian women in the U.K. for Women’s History Month.

Read now

Recommendations from the team

  • Syma Tariq in collaboration with Sri-Lankan based interdisciplinary platform Colomboscope 2021: Language is Migrant has launched an exciting series of radio episodes exploring language in the subcontinent. From the Urdu speaking communities in Bangladesh to U.K. Desi dancefoor DJ’s, she combines sonic sounds with poetic melodies to take listeners through a journey.

  • Abolitionist Futures are hosting a series of online events this week on #KillTheBill; Priti Patel’s policing bill with speakers including Dr. Sita Balani and Asad Rehman (War on Want).

We’ve added a number of new resources and articles on our Brown Women [Un]Learn Resource Hub to expand our collective knowledge. Check it out now!

Brown Bodies

Launching تحریر // Tehreer writing group and call for proposals for 'Brown Bodies' zine!

Well, it’s 2021 and many things feel the same., don’t they? We know it’s been a slow and challenging start but we hope you were able to rest, recharge and reflect as we moved into a new year.

At The Rights Collective, we took some well-deserved time off and are still in the middle of a reflective couple of months as we look at what we’ve contributed since we first came together in 2018, where we can grow and how to move forward with intentionality for our communities. Please feel free to get in touch with us if you want to discuss ideas or collaborations.

We were lucky enough to get a small bit of funding at the end of next year and so are excited to offer some paid opportunities as part of next Zine and our new writing group. Read on to find out more.

Finally, you’ll see we’ve made a move over to Substack for these monthly newsletters. We hope this will allow us to communicate with you more meaningfully and share resources and tools as well as updates. We hope to slowly move away from social media as our only/primary way of being in relationship with you all and cultivate more intimate ways of being together online - if that is possible!

As always, if you’d like to get in touch, please drop us a message.

In Solidarity

The Rights Collective

تحریر // Tehreer - apply now

We’re pleased to announce that تحریر // Tehreer, a writing group housed within The Rights Collective, is open for applications! Deadline: 6 February.

‎تحریر // Tehreer is a 6-month writing group which supports writers who identify as South Asian to develop their own voices in writing about social justice. We encourage new writers from the South Asian diaspora who want to develop their writing on areas of social justice and oppression and gender inequality to apply regardless of their backgrounds.

Apply Now

Brown Bodies Zine - call for proposals

For our upcoming Zine we are looking to dive deeper into the idea of BROWN BODIES. What does living in a brown body mean to you? A site of growth and pain, often without our knowing. A place of comfort, home and care. Our bodies hold us, move us, sustain us.​

Open to anyone who identifies as part of the South Asian diaspora or wider South Asian community, including those from the Global South. We know “South Asian” is a category that can never capture who we are but we use these categories for lack of something better. Open to all genders.

We are looking for contributions in any form that can be captured in an online zine format - this may be short stories, poetry, posters, illustrations, short comics, non-fiction prose, social/cultural/political commentary, opinion pieces and other forms of creative expression. We welcome your expressions in whatever forms you feel called to create - fiction, non-fiction, angry, hopeful, love-filled, anxious, grounded, light, grey.

Deadlines for proposals are 6th February. We’re pleased to be able offer a £30 stipend for all accepted contributors. Good luck!

Find Out More

Anti-Caste Reading Circle

The Brown Womxn [Un]Learn Reading Circle provides a space for us to explore and unpack various topics from an intersectional and critical lens. At the moment, we are hosting a circle to learn and unlearn around the topic of caste with co-facilitators; Varun Khanna, and Jyotsna Siddharth.

In case you were unable to join us, the readings and reflection questions from our first meet-up can be found on our website. Click here to access.

International Day of Education

For International Day of Education last week, we handed over our platform to teacher Shalina Patel last week to learn of the different experiences around education - whether that be knowledge building, awareness & consciousness raising, teaching, facilitation, co-learning, praxis or other elements of learning/unlearning.

Shalina spoke about decolonisation, the importance of South Asian history, and diversity in schools. Watch her takeover in our highlights here!

New Podcast Episode- Meet Taimour Fazlani

We’re so excited to present episode three of season 1 of our podcast.

“I made myself so palatable to the point I didn’t know who I was, an identity crisis”

We sat down with mental health advocate Taimour Fazlani of Expert by Experience and discussed his experiences as a British-Pakistani working-class immigrant, dispelling mental health myths in South Asian spaces, and his goals with activism. Find out more about what we discussed and click the button below to list to the full conversation.

Listen Now

Things we’re reading this month

  • The Subtle Linguistics of Polite White Supremacy gives a great and clear breakdown on how power structures like White Supremacy is upheld via comfort, control, and confidentiality.

  • An outrageous judgment coming out of India last week claiming groping without removing clothes does not constitute sexual assault. Read more on Judge Pushpa Ganediwala’s judgment here.

  • A helpful explainer on Ableism and how unlearning Ableism is a constant process and should be interrogated daily. Read here.

Rest, resilience and revolution

End of year round up and new things to come!

Hello friends. We're wrapping up this year by bringing you highlights from our 'Another World Is Possible' event series, our Year in Review, and a teaser to 'تحریر / Tehreer', our exciting new writing group! We hope you enjoy watching and reading.

Wishing you the joy, rest and resilience you need for the rest of the year and a powerful start to 2021!

In Solidarity,
The Rights Collective

Year in Review

2020 has been a tough year for all of us. It's been disappointing, challenging, and also really weird. As we approach the end of this year, and look towards 2021 with renewed hope and optimism, we wanted to show our year in review with you all. It has been rewarding in many ways, as we were able to collaborate with some of our favourite organisations and individuals. We hope you enjoy reading!

16 Days: Another World Is Possible

This year, for 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, The Rights Collective hosted a series of conversations along the theme of ‘Another World Is Possible’. where we explored and imagined possibilities for our future beyond the current interlocking systems of oppression in which we live.

The recording for the events are now available:

The Rights Collective Podcast

We're so excited to finally launch The Rights Collective Podcast with you all! Join us on our journey as we navigate the world of socially distanced audio recording. We hope for this to be a space to share our anti-oppression analysis, amplify voices, and collaborate with other British South Asians. We are taking ownership of our realities and narratives, encouraging honesty and publicizing issues that are often kept private through fear of judgment, marginalization, or dishonor.

Our first season, The Identity Series, will feature a guest from the British South Asian diaspora in each episode. We explore how our guests' identities have been shaped by their culture, religion, gender, sexuality, upbringing, family, and more. In the process of sharing these lived experiences, we hope to subvert conventional narratives and challenge stereotypes that exist about our communities, reclaiming identity in a multifaceted and more truthful way

Massive thank you to @kakikasi for the bomb podcast art! 😋 And to @substeppers for letting us use their powerful music! Be sure to go check out both their other works.

Solidarity Circle - The Blue Club

The Blue Club is an India-based non-profit organisation led by Dalit women who work with the most marginalised in the community, women who are caste-oppressed. They are seeking funds to help the continued running of their work and support services for the next year. This includes harbouring safe spaces for victims of gender-based violence and supporting women's integration into the work-force.

We know how deadly the pandemic has been to those in the Global South, especially those who are already at the frontlines of our communities. We are choosing to support The Blue Club this December and we invite you to also donate what you can! Click the link in our bio to send anything you can manage - every pound and penny means something!

To Our Community

Dear community - we've been slowing down for the holidays and reflecting upon our work over the past year. The Rights Collective has moved in ways we did not expect or predict but we are blown away by all your support and involvement. We have had the privilege of getting to know such amazing folx and our hope for 2021 is to show up in even better ways for you all.

For this, we need your help! While we have many things in the works for 2021, we would like to hear from you, our community, about what you need and want from us. Click below to tell us your thoughts!

New Reads

Check out our latest blog on The Challenges of being a Muslim Woman by our team member, Huma Khan. She explores the 'triple threat' of gendered Islamophobia on Muslim women.

We also trace the history of South Asian women in Britain, written by Avi. Read here.

Lastly, if you missed our 'Caste In The Diaspora' Teach-In during October, you can read the write up here.

Team Updates

Our co-founder Nishma Jethwa was a guest episode on 'What Is This Behaviour?' discussing South Asian activism, organizing, and our work in The Rights Collective.

Become a Mentor for تحریر // Tehreer

تحریر // Tehreer is a 6-month writing group housed within The Rights Collective which supports writers who identify as South Asian to develop their own voices in writing about gender, identity and culture. It endeavours to create a community space where participants can support one another, access mentoring and guidance with their writing, which will be published by The Rights Collective on our blog.

We are currently looking for mentors with experience as social justice writers for a minimum commitment of six months. You will provide ongoing mentorship and support the creative growth of young writers as they develop their skills writing about various social justice issues.

Find out more about becoming a mentor by clicking here. If you'd like to apply to be part of the program, watch this space for the application details in the new year.

What We're Reading

Heres a round-up of articles the team read this month ranging from the landmark protests happening in India right now, to the legacies of the Asian Youth Movements in the U.K. We recommend you read these!

  • Inquilaab Zindabaad: Why are Punjabi Farmers protesting in India?, Mandeep Sidhu writes for Gal-dem magazine on the historic protests against a series of farming laws.

  • A proposed new development in the heart of Brick Lane by the Truman Brewery is threatening local communities already hit hard by COVID-91. Tasnima Uddin explains how gentrification is ruining the East End.

  • 'Come What May, We're Here to Stay'- We loved this piece by Taj Ali for Tribune Mag on the Asian Youth Movements of the '70s and 80's.

  • The Brown in Black Power - another great article highlighting the joint organizing and solidarity between brown and black folks in Britain. Read Arsalans piece for Jamhoor here.

We've updated our website!

To find out more about out work, you can browse our website to discover our projects and get access to resources! We've made our digital teach-ins available to watch and you can catch up on our Ikhatta events!

Resilience ✊

Exploring Resilience in the South Asian Community!

Hello friends. We hope you have all been keeping well. We're very excited to launch our fifth zine in collaboration with South Asian Sisters Speak; Resilience and the South Asian Community. We hope you enjoy reading it!

Check out some of our previous events, new blogs and updated website below too. Don't forget to sign up for our upcoming #16DaysOfActivism series. 'Another World Is Possible'.

In Solidarity,
The Rights Collective

Resilience in the South Asian Community: 5th Edition Zine Out Now

The year 2020 will be remembered as a tipping point for many, one of the most taxing years in world history – a global pandemic took the entire world by surprise, forcing us to look at the way in which we have been living our lives. World leaders have gaslit us only to gain more power and further oppress the marginalised. The Black Lives Matters movement gained popular recognition and momentum and changed the conversation around racism forever. Many of us have had to come to terms with what white supremacy actually looks like and confront our own role in upholding it. ​

It is within this context that we at the Rights Collective, together with guest editors South Asian Sisters Speak (SASS), wanted to showcase how our community views and embodies ‘Resilience’. As something brown womxn are all too familiar with, we wanted to share some of the perspectives that are often otherwise hidden in private conversations between friends and we received such beautiful pieces.

We're excited to share the final zine with you to enjoy while you listen to this playlist curated by each of the featured writers in the Zine.

VIDEO: Caste In The Diaspora Teach-In

The recording for 'Caste in the Diaspora' teach-in is now available to view. We explored what caste is and how it has been perpetuated over the years among the diaspora, the social movements fighting caste oppression and discrimination in the U.K., and how non-Hindus/non-Asians can be better allies.

Speakers included: Santosh Dass, Jyotsna Siddharth, and Meena Varma, Dalit Solidarity Network UK. Chaired by The Rights Collective Advisor Varun Khanna.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

This year, for 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, The Rights Collective are hosting a series of conversations along the theme of ‘Another World Is Possible’. We will be exploring and imagining possibilities for our future beyond the current interlocking systems of oppression in which we live.

As part of this conversation series, will be hosting 3 dialogues over the coming months exploring:

  • Abolition and Justice in the South Asian Community on 3 December 2020, 6pm GMT

  • Healing and the South Asian Diaspora on 10 December 2020, 5pm GMT

  • South Asian Diasporic Organising on TBC

New Reads

Check out our latest blog on The Challenges of being a Muslim Woman by our team member, Huma Khan.

What We're Reading

"I think back to the time when our neighbour stopped stealing our milk packet after she discovered its Dalitness." Vijeta Kumar chronicles a personal story about growing up in Bengaluru.

New York-based musician Sonny Singh's new single ‘Koi Bol Ram’ looks at the anti-CAA protests in India and calls for religious unity. Watch the music video here.

"I didn’t know how to tell this white woman about my daily lived experiences as a Black woman." - On the importance of BAME accessing therapists of colour. Read here.

We've updated our website!

To find out more about out work, you can browse our website to discover our projects and get access to resources! We've made our digital teach-ins available to watch and you can catch up on our Ikhatta events!

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