Update:

I have written an opinion column for In.com on the Slut Walk Delhi, titled ‘Slut Walk? We need a Tawaif Walk

I also recently joined The Global Voices as a writer. And the post on Slut Walk is my first post for GV.

I was quoted on today’s Mid-Day Mumbai Edition talking about the relevance of the word slut in the latest campaign ‘Slut Walk Delhi.’ You can read the online version of the article written by Sowmya Rajaram here.

I had already made my discomfort with the word slut clear in my previous post. While giving my opinion to Mid-day I reiterated the fact that this word alone makes a huge difference. That it will create class conflict within the feminist movement, if at all we consider this campaign as a part of the Indian feminist movement. I also predicted that if you replace the word slut with a Hindi word, there will be very few takers for the campaign.  These very girls who are now so happy to walk down the lane wearing the label slut wouldn’t want to come out if asked to wear a desi label like Randi. Slut is a slang alright but a western slang and we love everything about the white people.

To quote myself from the article,

“This campaign will create a class divide within the feminist movement, because it is not inclusive. It is meant for a niche group of urban, English speaking upper class girls. Call this same campaign a Randi Morcha and very few girls would join it. If it’s about reclaiming a word, let’s reclaim the more common words”

“You take a message to the streets so that the common people get it. If you carry posters about something they don’t understand, they simply will not get any message.”

And this prediction just came true when I got a glimpse of the ongoing conversations on the Slut Walk Delhi’s Facebook Page. They asked their fans:

Is Besharmi Morcha the right word to use on behalf of Slut Walk Delhi?

And here are some of the answers:

  • “Besharmi Morcha is for ‘illiterate’ people who don’t know the meaning of slut. Slut walk is appropriate and sophisticated”
  • “Not at all. It is absolutely inappropriate…Don’t degrade the level of the parade”
  • “This punch line is not appropriate this will actually lower down the standards…”
  • “Slut walk is so ‘cool,’ besharmi whatever sounds gay!”

The responses clearly tell that this is a campaign initiated and embraced by a bunch of naive misguided youth. They don’t have a proper understanding of either feminism or violence against woman or activism. They don’t know the ground realities, they don’t care about making a real change. They just jumped the wagon because Slut Walk sounded like the next cool import from the west after MTV.  besharmi morcha recations to name

You see my point?

besharmi morcha recations to name 2

This is not how you bring serious change. Change makers do not bring in class divide, literacy level, high or low standards of the people they are supposed to fight for. They do no care if the campaign is cool or not. They do not care if its sophisticated or not. They know that bringing change is not always going to be about having fun.

This campaign is simply about coolness and awesomeness. Had it been for a real cause these immature kids would have welcomed the contextualizing of the name for better suiting the average Delhiwalas vocabulary, because it is him who has to get the message. He who has to know that even if we are ‘besharam’ we are NOT asking for rape.

In my previous post I wrote how in no time these flash campaigns become larger than the cause itself. What becomes more important is how quickly can we spread the word, gather crowd, gain popularity, how many people Liked the campaign’s Facebook page, how many followers on Twitter, the poster, the logo, the t-shirt and the ‘awesomeness.’ Here’s to prove this point, the other day they announced they will be making a promotional video soon, and requested people of all sexes to send in their videos to be included in the final edit. What did I say? It becomes a field day for photographers, film makers, fun day out for participants and a street tamasha for the onlookers. In the end the campaign fades out leaving the public often unmoved and sometimes confused.

I am following the campaign closely and will keep updating this space with more information. Meanwhile, please give your opinion on what do you think of the new name?

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