Friday, 25 May 2012


Gariahat, the vibrating shopping hotspot of the city witnessed people from the cross-sections of life come together to protest against the prevalent practise of victim blaming in cases of sexual harassment. It was a day of rejoice, of revolution – men, women, transgenders, students, mothers, fathers and children joined ranks to uphold basic human dignity.
What started as a protest against a Toronto police official, who irked the women fraternity in Canada by his statement to dress properly to avoid sexual harassment, has also inspired Jadavpur University (JU) students to bring issues related to women injustices before Kolkatans.
Anek bhalo sheje dekhechhi, ja porecchi besh korechhi “ (we are done with dressing up correctly, now we shall wear what we want) were the words echoing on the busy lanes passing the Gariahat market on the sultry Thursday evening as a sign of revolt against the shadow rules dictating women wardrobe. 
The Kolkata edition of SlutWalk marked its debut from JU premises, and though it was meant for the women fraternity it included people from various sections. The protest march, an entirely apolitical one, was unique because it was attended by men, women, girls, homosexuals and transgenders.
Though Kolkata’s response to SlutWalk took a year after it was started on 3 April 2011 in Canada, it attracted good attendance despite its low profile campaign. On being asked what he feels regarding such late response of Kolkata, Sayak, one of the many male participants of the rally replies, “Better late than never. We were late in responding but I think ours is the most unique walk because participants from all walk of life have joined the cause. The turnout is more than what we had expected. As you can see, around 400 people have joined us. Doesn’t that reflect the awakening of the city towards such injustices?”
“I am participating in the rally because I am against any sort of harassment upon any person, irrespective of gender,” continues Sayak. He adds, “It is not the age, not the dress nor the gender that actually provokes sexual harassment. It’s always the approach of the molester that leads to such incidents. We are not against any community, gender or political party. We are protesting against the indecent approach of people, who feel they can take the esteem of any person for granted. It is a show of solidarity for all-the victim, the oppressed. It’s for every other victim who happens to be harassed almost every day on the streets, at home, work or school.”
Encouraging participants while distributing pamphlets, Dona Dey another young girl proudly explains the basic goals of the rally to an old passerby.  “I am wearing a dress which I am comfortable in and I love to put it on, but that doesn’t mean I am provoking you to put your hands on me,” she adds while moving forward to join the crowd.
Taking a break from shouting slogans, “Neiko haya nei pobitro,esho haanto dushchoritro (we are beyond the pales of shame and purity, the fallen walk together)”  to gulp some cold water, one of the participants, a transgender says, “It’s not only the women who are targeted. Haven’t you heard of transgenders being molested? I am such a victim. I am a transgender and that’s not a shame. But it’s a shame when the person feels that I am easily approachable.”
One of the chief organisers Shreya Sen, says: “I came to know about the walk through Facebook, I knew that this is the day when I can openly voice my protest against such injustices in the society. Every day and night, we are being harassed in different ways and I wanted to protest against it. It’s our fault also that we never fight back due to societal constraints. I contacted the students of JU and the next moment I was preparing the strategy for the rally.”
On being asked why they did not publicize it much, she replied “We never wanted any publicity stunt. Therefore you can see there are exactly no celebrities attached with the rally. It’s an outcry for the common man. It’s for one and all. It’s for the teenage girl who is being sexually harassed by her uncle, it’s for the kid who is being molested by his tutor, it’s for the boy who loves boys and not girls, and it’s for me for I am also a victim of eve teasing.”
“Sensationalising the topic would just gain us mileage but our ultimate goal would never be fulfilled. We could have invited some high profile feminists to join us for a good publicity stunt, but even I am a feminist. You are a feminist. Because I think every woman who fights for her own rights, raises her voice against injustices to her and is vocal regarding her choices in life is a feminist,” she continues.
“We want to change the attitude of people towards the word slut. It’s not any particular incident that has fuelled us but yes, I think this was the need of the hour. We want to hold more such rallies in the near future. Just an hour of Slutwalk won’t change the stereotype thinking of people that has been prevalent since decades but we are still optimistic regarding the attitude towards victims of sexual harassment. We know we can bring that change. And that would be the real poriborton.  Isn’t it?” she adds.
The fact that a mother and her daughter skipped their shopping to join the rally clearly indicates that the message has struck the right chord.
An old man, who preferred not to reveal his identity said, “Seeing these people do such a good work, I approached the volunteers in hope of getting some help from them for my daughter who is being physically tortured at her in-laws. I was taken to the members of a NGO participating in the rally.”
Though the change may not come in a day, with just one piece of rally yet the organisers believe such events will give another platform to create the awakening and bring the awareness among people regarding the social injustice towards women in our society.
The volunteers had ‘no entry’ specially written over body parts that attract male glare. The bold step mirrors the confident mood of the participants, who have joined the war path singing we shall overcome.

Friday, 18 May 2012



Old is Gold or obsolete??Which is one is more preferred real or the remix??
Let it be any aspect, different people have got their own distinct opinions. While some people feel that the old and classical songs have their own heart caressing nature whereas some say that the brand new renditions are far more refreshing!
Before going further, first of all we need to question ourselves, why this sudden concept of old vs. new has bumped into our minds. One may promptly answer “Generation gap”.
Our parents, forefathers have their eardrums attached to renditions by Madanmohan, Pancham da or even Pt. Jasraj. Most of them are simple annoyed when they listen to music of the present days. Even they hardly show any interest in the present day culture. Whereas on the other hand the present day generations have very little interest in the music and movies of the yesteryears.
This difference in opinion, shall never have a vanishing point and shall continue endlessly.
But, as the old saying goes that every matter, big or small has its own dignity. Hence, old or new, real or the remix, whatever it may be, we first need to understand the significance of each of them.
For example, when a newly married bride enters her in laws home, don’t the people arise questions regarding her adjustments in the new environment?  But the same girl, after a couple of years becomes the breathe of the house. Russian vodka or wine, isn’t it that the people prefer the one that is the oldest??
“OLD IS GOLD”-But why??
Analytically speaking, for today’s generation the old is precious. Yes! And that’s because the cultural and social life in the yesteryears was quite different from today’s date. There were birth of certain ethics and values that have been carried out till today but some were lost in the evolution of time and space. And speaking of music and movies, everything was mostly subtle, soul soothing and meaningful.
And what is actually old?? Something that does not belong to our present age. The rocking remixes tomorrow shall become old for the next generation. A matter can be considered old only for its future generation and not for the time when its born. Things, taking birth now, are as per today’s time and taste. It shall remain static and on high demand as long as it caters to the mood and tastes of the people. The day it loses its much gained popularity, it becomes old.
But anything that is old has witnessed a certain time and space. Old matter is the greatest evidence of the past days. So how come it’s obsolete??it helps us rejuvenate the lost times and tastes. And that makes it as precious as Gold.
But does that mean that new is vulgar?? Not at all.
The basic fact is, whenever a new culture or matter pops up, people are a bit apprehensive regarding accepting it as a validated property. People remain in suspicion regarding its longevity. It does take time to get absorbed by replacing the old.
 New is never bad. The society makes it such. When the great philosopher and social reformer, Raja Rammohun Roy fought against Sati system and raised voice for women education and widow remarriage, the society didn’t accept it at one go. When women from the Tagore family started riding horses, going to school and long voyages, the society condemned their acts as filthy. But later, history is evidence to how the same society made the same people their idols and joined hands in reforming further the Indian society.
Yet the society is not to be blamed. Anything new can never be accepted at once until and unless it proves its validity, its actual worth and when it gets adapted to time and becomes capable to stand up to the expectations of the people, it gets easily accepted.
Now coming to music, these days remix versions are always a hit. But that doesn’t mean that the old day songs are obsolete!
The fact is that originality is in itself always unique as it has come up as something new at some point of time has been accepted by the people for its newness and anything new is unique. Once reformed and changed at some beats, it becomes a remix. And considering the varied tastes of the present generations, fast, upbeat tracks are always a hit list. It shall not be considered a nuisance until and unless, it, in any ways tends to tamper the dignity of the original rendition. And what can one expect more of it when it is catering to the needs of the people without destroying the beauty of the original rendition??
And as already mentioned above, real, the original is always unique and distinct. And as a unique piece, when it becomes old, it’s considered gold. The concept of remix has now been readily accepted by the people. The society is no more apprehensive regarding acceptance of such remix matters. And when these get soaked with time, it’s quite obvious for tomorrow’s generation to consider the same remix renditions as gold.
Ultimately, for the time being we can state that the old or the new, the real or the remix-all of them coexist with each other. These are very much interlaced and interdependent upon one another where the essence of one cannot be understood with the absence of the other.
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