Hail Pink Chaddis
For those who are not Indian and don’t know what a Chaddi is, it is a underwear and yes, the Pink Chaddi Campaign is a rather odd name for a protest, but that is, until you hear how it came about.
A little more than a couple of weeks back, right wing Hindu fundamentalist known as the Shri Ram Sena barged into a little pub in Mangalore, a coastal town in Karnataka, dragged out the girls there and beat them up. All in full media glare. The group led by its chief Pramod Muthalik, were arrested and released on bail shortly thereafter.
Since the media was present at the beating up, the violent scenes of women being hit, flung to the ground and chased were run on numerous television channels for days on end. This highlighted and polarized the issue adequately.
Having hogged the limelight for days and strengthened by their experience the Shri Ram Sena went on to threaten that they would carry out similar protests for Valentines Day and get couples married should they be found together in public!
Drinking, wearing skimpy clothes, dancing, and unmarried young couples moving around in public, according to the Shri Ram Sena is just not Indian Culture. (gosh, do these guys need a reality check and paradigm shift in perspective)
While for some women this hooliganism was a terrifying reminder of the consequences of living ones life in relative independence, for others it brought indignation at the patriarchy and hegemony that still sort and fought for place in this time and age!.
The event itself is highly political and richly layered, allowing for numerous interpretations and analysis along caste, religious, class, patriarchal and economic lines. But keeping that aside, most women understood the event and the Shri Ram Senas agenda for what it was worth, the need to use the primordial controlling mechanism ‘fear’ to regiment society. And they decided to have none of it.
If the Shri Ram Sena could embarrass women by beating them up in public, the women of India know how to embarrass the Shri Ram Sena and so some of them got together and launched a nationwide Pink Chaddis Campaign.
So what’s this campaign about? Well its simple. Those who support the Pink Chaddis Campaign can either courier a pink underwear to Mr Pramod Muthaliks house, no he’s not running out of underwear 😉 its a potent mark of protest or they can drop one of at the various collection centres in the top cities of India and hurray, on 14th February Valentines Day, the Shri Ram Sena will receive a consignment of pink underwear of all sizes, shapes and designs. How cooler can it get.
So don’t loose this opportunity to thump your nose at these right wing fundamentalist who want to determine how the billion people of this country ought to live their life, and what a women’s place should be, men and women please send a signed pink underwear