besharmi morcha

Slut Walk Delhi is now Besharmi Morcha: A desi name has less takers, said to be for illiterates and of low standard

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?

12 thoughts on “Slut Walk Delhi is now Besharmi Morcha: A desi name has less takers, said to be for illiterates and of low standard

  1. Protests happen in many different ways. The Slut Walk or Take Back the Night or Mend the Gap. None of us are ever sure of what the response will be and whether we will achieve any “real” change. We know that the protest happened, people joined in and there were some forms of discussion. Why does everything have to be done in only one way and by always by a set of people who feel, think and behave like activists? We need to have spaces for multiplicities of approaches and one does not necessarily negate the other. The more the merrier, the more people who question and get angry the better!

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  2. I second your thoughts, Sanju. I really have my doubts that such marching up and down with ‘cool’ texts written on placards, t-shirts and body will ever make any serious impact on anybody, leave alone the society. And, what a point you’ve brought up about no takers if ‘slut’ is translated into hindi.

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  3. I second your thoughts as well. First of all I simply do not understand the concept, how could you bring in awareness by doing this?? We often protest without even knowing what we are protesting for (disgusting and ridiculous)- that goes for every other protest that I have seen in the recent past. I firmly believe that given the sexual abuse rate and the population in our country we need strict (strict- in the truest sense of the word) laws to control it and not some farcical protest/morcha/movement- whatever. This is going to go absolutely nowhere.

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  4. i did not think much of it when i read about the whole concept…if one wants to really make a difference in terms of prevention of rape and domestic violence towards women..there are more serious and effective ways to do so than “slut” walk…and i totally agree with you on the hindi thing, it was kewl to walk the walk when it was slut walk..to be dresses in outrageous costumes and walk for a cause, get clicked,& put it put in their FB profiles…but its suddenly in hindi..its not so cool!!!….
    i wont be joining either slutwalk or besharmi morcha…..coz i dont either will make any real difference to women’s movements…..yes i do strongly the “gulabi gang” i think they are doing wonderful work in the rural areas.

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  5. see i m thinking that besharmi word is not good, not sounds gooooooood,,it should be ……..slut walk in India .

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  6. sanjukta i will not argue with you on your academic dissertation of the “SLUT WALK”. however to call the campaign as initiated and embraced by a bunch of naive misguided youth i feel sounds like a phrase not to your class of academia.

    These youth might be naive(though i believe they are very smart) using a word like misguided is weird as most of these youth have actually no guides, they are very much left to their own devices. This is coz we fuddy-duddy’s are too busy spewing out do’s/don’t, that we forget this is the new globalized aspirational generation. They don’t care about white or black concepts(as you seem to imply from the word slut), what they care for is their space, their fun and the belief that they need to make a difference.

    my suggestion is, do meet these guys and talk to them. the very fact that you have devoted so much time and web space to the slut walk cause makes me believe these “naive and misguided” youth have already achieved something in their campaign.

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  7. hi im yasin im verry ugly boy ‘n d world becoz i dnt hve family but my own try i must be
    still good person ‘n the world but im leave my country 12yrs go until now i finding 4 me permanent life ‘n life partner but until now i cannt findit so i feel everydy think about dz’n my life
    so i cannot find place & life partner still i good but my feeling only now i want married
    i want suuccess how maney day i control my feelings im alon ‘n dz world what can i do ?
    i dont understnd everymoment my feeling only dz

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  8. आदमी आदमी जैसा रहे औरत औरत जैसा अगर किसी औरत को लगता है मुझसे पैदा होने वाली औलाद बेसरम होगी तो पैदा नहीं करो औरत बेसरम है.

    तो औलाद भी बेसरम होगी अब औरते फैसला करे की बेसरम पैदा करना है
    है या नहीं क्या इरादा है कुछ दिनों पहले पूनम पण्डे निबस्तर होने कका फैसला किया था क्या पूनम चोली के पिच्छे क्या है
    घुनारी के नीचे क्या क्या है दीखाना चाहती थी या कुछ और आप का क्या इरादा हैबेसरम बेसरममोर्चा आप क्या क्या दीखाना चाहती है

    Note from the blog owner:
    I have no clue what is this anonymous person trying to say, I would usually not publish anonymous comment, but making an exception in this case.

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  9. How would u women react to what this gentleman is saying:


    Note from blog editor
    I have not seen this video but have published this comment. If it is objectionable, or hurtful let me know.

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