Kolkata: The eastern
metropolis resonated with slogans of "Jaa porechi, besh korechi (I
don't care what people think of my dressing sense)" as over a
hundred women, men and children, including foreign nationals, took
to the streets as part of the Kolkata Slutwalk to protest against
any form of sexual harassment.
Eschewing any particular dress code, a procession of about 150
people -- school and college students, teachers, office goers,
slum dwellers and social workers from the US -- artistically
covered in body-art and donning a variety of dresses from saris to
shorts, began the march from Jadavpur University in the evening
amidst slogan shouting.
What started in the city as a virtual movement on Facebook by a
first year M.A. student, Sulakshana Biswas, became a reality when
eight like-minded youngsters got together and pooled in their
resources and started distributing pamphlets and spreading the
word for the walj.
Explaining her agenda, Biswas said: "Sexual harassment has got
nothing to do with the clothes one wears or with gender. We are
also against victim blaming"
One of the organisers, Shreya Sen from Tata Institute of Social
Sciences at Mumbai, explained: "SLUT is expressing oneself
verbally, physically, sexually. We intend to use our bodies as
canvasses, and distribute pamphlets on the way to the citizens,
and express ourselves through slogans. Since it is gender
inclusive, there will be members from the transgender community as
The walk saw lots of men who have been victims of sexual
harassment in the city. Soumek Chowdhry, one of the victims, an
aspiring actor and Salsa dancer, said: "This is one small step,
hopefully it will make an impact, if not an immediate change".
"Statistically Kolkata ranks second after Delhi in sex crimes.
Kolkata needs awareness", said Priyardishini, an Mphil student at
the Jadavpur University.
A faculty member at the varsity's English department, Rimi
B.Chatterjee supported the cause, saying: "What remains hidden
needs to come out now. We need to take a stand and not shy away
from these issues".
Joining the Kolkatans were Hemley Gonzalez and his volunteers of
the Responsible Charity from US which has a branch in Kolkata as
well. "I respect women and have seen what they face and therefore
I am participating".
A Polish participant pitched in: "I am labeled as a slut because I
am white. I needed to do this".
Slutwalk is a global movement that started in Toronto. It came to
India last year with cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bhopal and now
Kolkata holding such rallies.