Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Charge Of The Pink Brigade

My mail boxes are clogged.
With ladies underwear.
With, Pink Ladies Underwear, to be more precise!
And, horror of horrors, I hear, there may be pink saris on their way.
Perhaps, pink condoms too!!!

If that happens, I know my mail boxes are going to back up on me, leaving me stranded in the middle of a pink lake of cyber-debris, with bits of flotspam merrily bobbing around me!!!

I wouldn't have minded floundering about in a pink cesspool, had I believed in the cause. But, as much as I believe in human rights and personal freedom, especially for women, I am afraid
the pink chaddi campaign is not quite to my taste.

The Campaign offends my notion of womanliness.
And, it challenges my beliefs about being an agent of change without conforming to stereotypes.

Call me old fashioned.
But, I believe undergarments, be it bras, chaddis, thongs, knickers, bloomers or plain panties, belong in the lingerie cupboard. In the laundry basket. Or, on one's person.
NOT, in anyone's mail-box. Snail or E.

Call me idealistic.
But, I would rather be known as a woman who believes in personal freedom for herself, and all humanity, rather than be typecast as a pub-going, loose and forward woman.

I enjoy my wine.
I work odd hours.
I socialise with the male species.
And, I live my life by my dictates.
But, that does not make me loose or forward.
It only makes me, ME!

This probably explains my vehement objection to being typecast, even in jest. Because I am a human being and, not a commodity to be labelled and consigned into a water-tight category for the rest of her life.

But, truth be told, these are personal considerations.
Unique to me, and not binding on any other woman in this country.

My skepticism about the pink chaddis in Muthalik's post-box stems from the fact that I do not perceive it as a real, sustainable effort. It is neither deep nor comprehensive in its approach, and therefore, cannot have lasting effect.

Flinging one's undergarments at a belligerent bully is not going to deter him, or any other like him. I doubt it will even make an iota of difference to Muthalik or his rogue band.

Thronging pubs on a designated day, as a sign of solidarity, will not erase the trauma from the minds of the real victims. Nor, will it instill courage in an Indian woman, and enable her to fearlessly frequent pubs when SHE wants to.

Attempts to redefine Indian culture through audio and video representations of the perceptions of a narrow segment of the female population, will not change the core beliefs of the vast majority. It will not even dent the popular perception of an Indian woman as a second-class citizen, worthy of existence, at best, under the protective male wing, and at worst, in abject and servile bondage.

The Muthaliks and Ram Senas of our country are merely symptomatic of the cancers that gnaw at our society from within. Of control & subjugation. Of lies, deceit and greed. All of which, are so closely entwined, that no outward symptom can ever be fully treated in isolation.

Which is why, my friends, I feel that the Pink Chaddi Campaign is more about high-decibel fluff and glitz than real substance and action.
Quite tragic, really.
Especially, when one considers the momentum that it has gathered.

I wish the Pink Chaddi Campaign had more to do with Public Interest Litigation, sustained protests & strong petitions that harnessed the might of our legislature and judiciary to decapitate organisations, and rogue leaders, who violate human rights.

I wish the Pink Chaddi Campaign was working towards cleaner politics. Towards helping the powers that be in finding their teeth and claws. And, at making politicians, elected leaders & public servants accountable.

I wish the Pink Chaddi Campaign had more to do with the humanising of our media. And, with offering them much needed pointers in moral, responsible journalism.

And, how I wish the Pink Chaddi Campaign had everything to do with the cleaning up of mind-sets and attitudes towards women. More to do with educating women about the rights they were born with. And, in making them believe, that they are an integral part of the human race.

I wish the Pink Chaddi Campaign had more to do with the institution of support groups for victims of bullying & abuse. The victims in the Mangalore pub probably might have welcomed emotional support and access to resources in their battle for justice. I know I would have.

Above all, I wish the Pink Chaddi Campaign could motivate the general populace into shaking off their apathy when faced with a crime, and do the right thing by a victim of abuse.

This, my friends, is what I think the Indian women's backlash needs to be about.
And, not about throwing our panties after the bras!
But then, it wouldn't be the Pink Chaddi Campaign, would it?
The Pink Jhadoo* Campaign would, perhaps, be a more appropriate name then. Wouldn't it?

* Jhadoo - Broom


Abhilash Suryan said...


Ganga Dhanesh said...

Agree, Rekz. But I also feel that this is probably the first time the otherwise indifferent Indian "middle-class" urban crowd has responded as a group, and that too by harnessing the power of online communities. Typically folks who would have kept quiet spoke up and acted...and that is something. The objects they used for protest or the way they protested might be debatable, but protest they did, for once...and hopefully it won't be the last. This crowd has discovered their voice and one that can be harnessed through a medium they know best...that's a powerful discovery and I am sure folks can better their act as they go along.

Roopa said...

Hey, you have come back with style girl :)! Well thought, well said. But I would say pink chaddis are better than nothing at all. A little step even in a slightly wayward direction is better than staying still, if you know what I mean.

Miaow!!! said...

Ganga, Roopa, I am in no way undermining the fact that a section of the female population has found their voice. I am happy that there are people speaking up. And I really would like to see concrete action resulting. But the pink chaddis are not going yield the results that are really needed.

My disappointment stems from the fact that there is a vast section of thinking women who are keeping away from the protest because of the terminology and objects used. My disappointment also stems from the fact that the campaign lacks teeth. It could have achieved much but has fallen flat.
Maybe it is that living in India and particularly in Bangalore,has invoked stronger reactions from me.
And Roopa, thank you...u made my day!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you in principle, Rekz. Even I found the campaign a little embarassing and distasteful.

But then, when we see cases of men showing their assets (?!) to girls on the road and making them feel dirty (when really, the men are the ones who must be hanged!), then why can't women do something outrageous like this, if it manages to get some attention to the cause or the goal?

I wish they had chosen to send Pink Bangles instead. Anyway, I also believe goons and molestors like Muthalik tribe deserve no decency!

Debatable of course, but I am, in some way, in awe of the women who dared to send a pink chaddi.

Miaow!!! said...

I dunno Pal. My thinking is that one does not have to sink down to the same level of one's oppressors to make our points. I hate the exhibitionists as much as any other woman on the street. And men like Muthalik make me angry. But, I still feel that reciprocating in kind is not the solution.

What would be the point of drawing attention to the cause if it does not result in action? Attention does not make the pubs or the roads safer places for women to be in, does it? I am afraid I belong to the ilk which wants to see change, and less talk. I am writing a piece on the Gulabi Gang which is a real eye opener. Will post in sometime. Would love to know what you ladies think about it.