New Delhi: The India chapter of SlutWalk that was supposed to kick off in Delhi – finally took to the streets on a sunny Sunday morning.
The Delhi chapter was supposed to be the first of its lot in India, but Bhopal took out its own version on July 17th. But when Delhi finally took the show to the road after months of speculation, the ‘SlutWalk’ was rather impressive.
SlutWalk or Besharmi Morcha as the India chapter choose to call it – had intense media coverage and ample police protection. The morning papers announced the tentative route but participants were also told mildly that a ‘walk’ would not be allowed since the police feared for the safety of the participants.
The India chapter of SlutWalk that was supposed to kick off in Delhi - finally took to the streets on a sunny Sunday morning.
Despite the sun and the humidity, an impressive crowd gathered at Jantar Mantar at 10:30 waiting for the action to begin. Students with their teachers, parents, friends, media personnel, performers, volunteers and heavy security amidst a million cameras made it look like the biggest thing on a Sunday morning. No one seemed to mind the discomfort of the crowds or the innumerable camera wires all over the place. The fact that there were so many men participating was quite interesting; they carried posters condemning the sex crimes, the sexism and the indifference.
The India chapter had decided that dress codes would not be a vital concern, what would be in focus is the fact that sexual harassment needs to stop. Amidst tight security and a million cameras – Besharmi Morcha was ready to start.
The march kicked off at 11:10 with bright neon posters declaring – "Ladki tere baap ki jagiir nahin"; "Believe it or not, my short skirt has nothing to do with you!"; "Mujhe bus mein safar karna hai, english wala suffer nahin"…and more. "Enough" was the most pertinent slogan on everyone’s mind. The sexual harassment, the derogatory comments, the insults need to stop and Delhi was serious.
Before the march started, organisers informed the crowd that things were to be kept peaceful. The huge group of enthusiasts took a quite walk around the block to return to the site where the march started. As the crowds grew, the Delhi Drum Circle took up the rhythm and set things in motion. Amidst cheers and drum beats – the slogans were shouted out loud- "Besharam kaun? Teri aage teri soch!"
The people gathered there were vocal about the fact that they did not support harassment of any sort and that it was time to take matters in our own hands. Social activist and Actor, Nafisa Ali, was the only celebrity present at the march. She pointed out that every day was struggle for the woman and this had to stop, and thus she supported the movement strongly.
The theatre group Asmeeta took the centre stage for their street play and the crowds cheered on. They brought out the troubles women faced everyday – while traveling, on the streets; from sexually derogatory comments to sinister matters of rape, acid and razor attacks. It was not only about what was being said to the women – but also what was being done to them.
The basic mantra was – "What ever I wear, what ever I do – Don’t touch me! How dare you?"
Age, sex, nationality aside, the huge group of people who got together on the Sunday morning had one clear agenda in mind – stop harassing women. Some posters declared – "Gentlemen don’t get provoked, Sexual offenders don’t need provocation." And hopefully the message that would make it all clear –"Real men don’t rape".
The excitement was high and with the hundreds of participants, volunteers and security – SlutWalk arthaat Besharmi Morcha – the Delhi chapter was a success.<iframe width="100%" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/QolRnxjo0Bc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Do you think such initiatives can change the way men look at women in Indian societies?