Tuesday, February 10, 2009

VALENTINE'S DAY: IT'S CHADDI VS LANGOT!

This is imagination going wild pink. A fast growing group of urban women have decided to send their 'chaddis' (panties), only pink ones if you please, to Pramod Muthalik's Ram Sainiks (Soldiers of Ram) in Bangalore. This is their idea of sending 'love' to the self-proclaimed protectors of Indian culture on Valentine's Day!

Do you send 'love' when you take off and send your panties, even if their colour is pink? May be the idea is actually to get the Brahmachari (celibate) followers of Ram to forget about their boring 'morals', loosen their langots (loin cloths) and discover fun! Will the Ram Sainiks get the exciting message being sent by "The Consortium of Pubgoing Loose and Forward Women" or will they actually claim that it vindicates their stand that Valentine's Day celebrations are part of a 'Christian conspiracy' to destroy Indian values and turn all 'chaste' Indian girls into 'loose' women who frequent pubs? Much to their joy, even the author of the facebook listed consortium's blog is Susan!

This is a country where more than 80% of women do not wear panties at all. This is not because they are ready to 'lose it' but because their saris, salwars, ghagras, mekhlas, kiras, lehngas etc leave little possibilities of upskirt accidents that necessitate wearing of panties.It is obvious that this consortium is not aware that there is nothing beneath the over garments worn by chaste Indian women in the country side, and that they don't really need to take anything off for love! Madhuri Dixit's efforts to educate people through that famous song 'Choli ke peechhe kya hai' (What is beneath the blouse) have all gone waste, it seems.

May be the consortium has been sponsored by a lingerie manufacturing company which wants more and more Indian women to start wearing functionally redundant panties in the heat and dust of rural India. May be the co-sponsor manufactures products specifically designed to cure itches in the loins - those caused by skin diseases that are caused by a combination of friction and sweat.

What next? An all-women political party with a pink chaddi as its election symbol?! Or are the langot-wearing mascots of the Sangh Parivar going to take the gifted pink panties to every nook and corner of the country to tell people that this is the 'low' that Valentine's Day is actually about, and ask them for their vote to protect their, well, 'high' morals?!

UPDATE

This 'itsy bitsy' pink chaddi group has powerful media tentacles. Its campaign is one of the lead three-column front page stories stories in the Times of India and Hindustan Times of February 10, 2009. It has also been covered by other publications/TV channels including Outlook , NDTV, DNA, Times Now, The Hindu and Mint. More coverage will certainly follow in the coming days, with pink panties flying around everywhere! They are even calling it 'Gandhigiri'. Mahatma Gandhi would never have dreamt that this would happen to him; his celibacy is being tested 61 years after his death!

The target clearly is not the Ram Sene but a Western audience, may be even donors. In the sixties, American feminists had burnt their bras in protest. This group probably wants to outdo them but in a completely different cultural setting and context. There is obviously a total social disconnect somewhere...but who cares as long you create shock and awe in Westernised urban India and the global media. Pramod Muthalik must be pleased pink. This is probably just the 'pink slip' his gang needs to 'uplift' their sagging morale!

P.S. A protest is being planned in New Delhi on Valentine's Day. This is a balanced and civilised way of voicing opposition to uncivilised and unacceptable behaviour. I am sure many of you who read this and are in Delhi will join the protest and make your voice heard. For further details, visit this blog

P.P.S. Sagarika Ghose, a member of the Facebook group 'A Consortium of Pubgoing Loose and Forward Women' has written a column in today's (February 11) Hindustan Times on this underwear flinging campaign. It is worth a read.
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