Here is the official report of the Gujarat Pride held at Surat.
Gujarat witnessed its first successful pride march in Surat.
Day & Date: Sunday, 6th’ October 2013 Time: 9. 15 am – 12.15 pm
The first pride march of Gujarat went off super successfully and exceedingly smooth in Surat. This pride march was organized by GLGBTPF (Gujarat LGBT Pride Festival) and supported by Foram Foundation, Baroda. Around 150 people walked the distance of 3 kms from New Civil Court to Kargil Chowk. People joined the march from various cities like Ahmedabad, Baroda, Mumbai and several places to show their solidarity towards this historical event of Gujarat.
Organizers and volunteers reached at starting point – New Civil Court at 9.15 am. When they reached there, it was raining and thundering. All were in pride fever and nobody bothered about weather conditions.
People, police, media and spectators started gathering at New Civil Court. Masks were distributed there by the volunteers. Rainbow flags were flying high in the pleasant air of Surat. Police van joined to provide police protection to all the people who participated in the march. Official documents were signed by Swagat M. Shah, one of the organizers of the Gujarat LGBT Pride Festival.
Some people started dancing on traditional Garba of Bahuchar Mata. It followed by photo session for the media and welcome speech by Nakshatra Bagwe, one of the organizers of the Gujarat LGBT Pride Festival. Agendas, route of the pride and other important aspects of the pride were explained by Nakshatra.
Actual pride march started at 10.20 am, people walked with various posters featuring slogans in Gujarati, Hindi & English. People were dancing on the music of dhols but their happiness reached on the cloud nine when the DJ played Garba music. The spectators were surprised by seeing sudden Garba happening on the streets.
This march was joined by various queer community related NGOs and support groups from different places of India. Humsafar Trust of Ahmedabad, Swavalambi Chuwal Mandal of Ahmedabad, Panah Foundation of Patan, Shakhya Foundation of Kalol, Yaariyan of Mumbai, Gay Bombay, etc.
Pride march was finished at Kargil Chowk around 12 noon by crossing important locations of Surat including Parle Point, Sargam Shopping center and SVNIT College. At the end of the march, water and apples were distributed to the marchers. Post pride march time was dedicated to the press, where representative of queer community raised their voices to demand equal rights.
The police department has been really cooperative since permission process to the actual pride march. People who participated in this march surely looked proud and happy.
Some distinctive features of the Gujarat pride:-
a) The first pride march of Gujarat.
b) With the walking distance of 3 kms, it became one of the lengthiest pride marches of India.
c) Only pride march of South Asia which was fully broadcasted on air, thanks to QRadio.
d) The only pride march featuring Garba.
Gujarat’s first pride march surely grabbed the attention of the media and the general public regarding existence and demands of the queer community in the state. It seems this event in Surat also inspired other cities of India to host pride marches and one of such cities is Ahmedabad which is getting ready for its first pride march at the end of this year.
Congratulations to the organizers of Gujarat Pride for a successful event. Yaay for Pride!