You don’t send me flowers

17 02 2009

But how about some underwear, or, as undies are referred to in India, ‘chaddi’? Pink, please.

In response to a recent attack by Sri Ram Sena (Army of Lord Ram) on women at a tavern in Mangalore, India, the Consortium of Pubgoing, Loose and Forward Women organized the ‘Pink Chaddi’ campaign. The idea was send as many pink chaddi to Pramod Mutalik, one of the leaders of (or main inspirations for, it’s not clear to me) of Sri Ram Sena, as a way of celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day, you see, is against Hindu values. As are malls, which are havens of handholding. And, um, dating.

Yes, yet another Defender of the Faith, seeking to impose its piety on the bodies of women—literally. If you haven’t already seen it, there’s a video of the Sri Ram Sena punching and kicking women who dared to bend their elbows at a Mangalore pub.

Various politicians—with the notable exception of  women and child development minister Renuka Chaudhury—murmured about the pub attack, but otherwise found it advisable to say not much of anything.

So the women themselves stepped up. Nisha Susan, spokeswoman for the Consortium, said “It’s a choice between ignoring a group like Ram Sena or responding to its activities. We have decided to give it attention, but it is attention which it will not like.”

Hence the pink chaddi.

In addition to the delivery of the chaddi to Muktali, the Forward Women urged women to do a Pub Bharo action, i.e., to hit a tavern and raise a toast to Indian women, record the event, and send that photo or vid to SRS as well. Finally, ‘After Valentine’s Day we should get some of our elected leaders to agree that beating up women is ummm… AGAINST INDIAN CULTURE.’

Now that’s a protest. Mockery, underwear, toasts, and mass action.

FFI: Pink Chaddi Campaign on Mutiny.in, and the Consortium on Blogspot.

Note: The BBC noted that members of another group, Shiv Sena, were arrested for numerous assaults on couples:

Six arrests took place in the northern Indian city of Agra, home to the Taj Mahal – the monument built by Emperor Shah Jehan in memory of his beloved wife.

The protesters used scissors to cut the hair of overtly romantic couples in a nearby park, superintendent of police VP Ashok said.

“The six belonging to Shiv Sena group were arrested for causing a breach of the peace,” he told The Associated Press news agency.

Meanwhile, the AFP news agency reported that five members of the same group were arrested in Delhi for threatening couples in a park.

Many couples had their faces blackened in western Aurangabad and northern Bijnaur, Reuters reports.

Such disruption of Valentine’s Day by hardliners is becoming an annual event, and police this year were on high alert.

Another group vandalised a shop selling Valentine’s cards and raided a restaurant in Indian Kashmir looking for romantic couples, the AP reports.

Protestors also burnt flowers and Valentine Day cards to mark their protest.

I prefer the chaddi. Hell, I prefer pub-going, loose and forward women every time. . . .