The Stand Up to Moral Policing protest in Delhi was worth a visit. 🙂 Well, I was not a visiter, I travelled half the Delhi (not to mention sacrificing my morning sleep on weekend :P) to be there to protest against moral policing. And I was not alone. There were others who too had traversed the whole length of the city on the Valentine day’s eve for the same cause. 😀
Namrata, the lady who started it, had come prepared. She came armed with several placards and her sweet parents (imagine, how many parents would do that? ). She had chosen a nice spot, where we were easily detected by passers-bys, who lingered to absorb what our protest was about. It was not a protest by pub-going girls. In fact, several of us had never been to a pub in our whole lives so far. They all came to make a point. Most heartening thing about this meet were the few righteous men, who too chose to be part of the protest. We need more men like them today.
I met bloggers like Indyeah, Aneesha, Jasdeep. We had come to amke our protest in peaceful manner. In fact, Mayank Austen Soofi from HT (I guess he’s still there) suggested that we throw our fists in air and display our angry expressions for the picture. His request was unanimously turned down. Unlike hooligans, aggression was not our thing. We came with love, for our love for freedom of expression.
Namrata’s campaign had ensured we had plenty of media attention. All of them were there: NDTV, CNBC tv 18, CNN-IBN, HT, some hindi news channels and even tabloids. I am not sure what angle they would take for their newsstory about our protest. Bytes were taken from most of us. A rambling journo from a Hindi TV channel was shamelessly sensationalising the issue. He asked Namrata, while cameraswere rolling, Aap ke saath bhi aisa hua (like Mangalore incident), aapke logon se hi humein khabar mili!! (It happened to you too (the Mangalore incident), we heard from your people). She clarified with a patient, mocking expression, “Nope, none of us who had assembled here have been victims.” I bitched in anger, “Well, should we wait for the time to come when we would be victims?” To my surprise, two similar, strong voices came up from my adjacent, echoing the same. It felt good, to be there with people who people who believed in the same thing what I did.
I must also mention the inverse snobbery going on. Some journos tried to dismiss the protest merely as a skirmish from Eng-speaking girls. Thankfully, Namrata spoke Hindi like a seasoned, suave public speaker. Mediamen and women were more concerned about having a good pic. Most insisted the girl with guitar to stand in middle. Pissed off, she later put away her guitar. Most cameramen would interrupt us to say, lower your placards, your face is not visible. Though, all girls would make sharp retorts, “Our placards are important, not our faces.” , they put up with it. It was small price for a worthy cause. Speaking of slogans on our placards, there was an interesting one:
“Girls are not cattle, stop locking us at Dusk.” 🙂
I had hearty laughs over girls holding it up with aplomb. It was apt. It was also Aneesha‘s favorite. So much that she offered to carry it in metro, all the way back home. A policemen objected, you cant carry your placards outside of this designated protest place. Aneesha slyly covered the placard with her shawl at metro checking counter (the guard there WAS suspiciously eyeing her covered-placard, but thought better of voicing anything) and displayed the placard everywhere inside metro. That’s her, Aneesha inside the metro, my last min pic: (Here’s Aneesha’s own take on that.)
My slogan for placard, which I couldn’t write, would have been:
Don’t use women to make your political debut (re-launch).
Precisely the reason why I joined the protest. We don’t want more hooligans to use women to launch their parties. We need an effective law enforcement, so that hooligans like Ram Sena don’t get away with it. Ever.
P.S: Highlight of the day was meeting two fiery, pretty girls: Indyeah and Aneesha. Hop over to Indyeah’s post to see pictures of the protest.
Cartoon courtsey Toothpastefordinner, thanks Anshul for sharing