Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault

A woman, who has asked not to be named in the report, recently posted several stories on Instagram, alleging that Vaibhav, a student from Delhi University sexually assaulted and forced himself on her.

One of the stories posted by her describes the incident. It states that she met Vaibhav on 13th march, with whom she had connected with on Instagram. After meeting him, she had to go to a party to which she invited him, the party ended at 2 A.M. At that point, Vaibhav had suggested that he would book an Oyo but out of courtesy and considering safety, she invited him to spend the night at her flat.

The story goes on to say “at around 3 A.M, Vaibhav started touching me a bit sexually and I pulled away to make it clear that I am not interested. Guess he could not take a no and started forcing himself on me, I pulled away, said no a billion times, asked him to stop, begged, told him that he was making me uncomfortable and that I was scared while he pinned my hands against the bed and kept assaulting my body. When I kept saying please stop, he replied with “HOW? HOW DOES ONE EVEN STOP?” While I kept shivering under him and telling him that I am scared, he replied with ” WHAT ARE YOU SCARED OF? BACCHI THODI HAI? HAVE NOT YOU HAD A BOYFRIEND?” my body felt numb and weak and I was constantly shaking.” She also posted screenshots of the conversations with Vaibhav after the incident, both of which have been attached below.

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On reaching out to Vaibhav, he completely denied the allegations stating that while they had gotten “intimate” at the flat when she had stated that she was uncomfortable, he “stopped getting physical with her and promised we won’t be.” He further goes on to point out how he had tried several times to leave at the party from her friend’s place and had even booked a cab to go back home and later an Oyo, both times he says that she had asked him to stay and told him there was no problem with staying. He repeatedly points to him being uncomfortable and how he tried several times to leave as a sign of his innocence. He also alleges that there were four other people in the flat and she was under the influence of alcohol. He states that he has been fired from his job on the 15th after the allegations reached his employers and how he has been bombarded with messages targeting him, his friends, and his family.

When we reached out to the victim, she stated that she tried to file an FIR yesterday but didn’t do so as she didn’t want the news to reach her family. When asked about how Vaibhav had said that he had tried to leave, she told us that even though he had booked an ola, he had no intentions of leaving because even before they had met, he had informed her that he won’t be going back home because he had fought with his parents and would book an Oyo room. She says that this was preplanned as she had said that she wanted to just find a place to sleep at her friend’s party around 2 A.M but Vaibhav had said that he was “uncomfortable using someone else’s bathroom.” She points out that out of common courtesy, she had told him not to book an Oyo room and spend the night at her flat since it was already 2:30 A.M. She also alleges that when they woke up, and she had to leave around 8 A.M, Vaibhav tried to force himself on her again but she managed to call a friend and pretend that they were talking about packing and leaving.
Prabhanu Kumar Das

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Feature Image Credits: SafeCity

How often have we all heard the phrase “Bura na maano, Holi hai”? But to what extent are we not allowed to feel offended?

Holi is one of the most exhilarating festivals in the Hindu tradition which has grown in popularity all across the world. From colours and water to even gujia (sweet) and lassi, it’s a game of soiling everyone with everything. Kids run across streets splashing water on friends and strangers alike, greeting them with the standard statement – Bura na maano, Holi hai!(Don’t get offended, it’s Holi). This beautiful phrase also gives men the license to harass women and shout out foul names at them. But of course, we must not get offended, because it’s Holi after all. So what if I was thrown a water balloon at while riding a bike? So what if I could have fallen off that bike and injured myself? So what if I was abused for merely existing? It’s Holi and I…must… not…get…offended.

As children, many of us must have hung out at our balconies, throwing water balloons at pedestrians using this standard line. It’s not until we grow up when we realise how problematic this is. When the season of Holi arrives, consent becomes a joke, the streets become men’s playground and women, their toys. Those unwilling to play are tagged as “chickens” and then smeared with colour anyway.

Holi becomes an excuse to grope women publicly or to throw water balloons at their private parts. It is easy for men to get away with their actions because, well, they did say Bura na maano, Holi hai! The traditional consumption of bhang, liquid form of cannabis, on Holi, further contaminates the atmosphere with intoxicated men walking stray on the streets; predators in hunt for their prey.

Holi harassment took one of its ugliest forms in 2018 when two students from Lady Shri Ram College were attacked with semen-filled balloons in the middle of a street near campus in broad daylight. I guess I should be “thankful” that the balloons I was attacked by had only water. The campuses’ response to these attacks was merely reducing the curfew time in the girls hostels. Obviously, when the perpetrators are let loose, hiding inside our houses is the only way to stay safe.

Stop telling women to not go out on streets during Holi because “aisa toh hota hai” (these things happen). That is no better than telling us not to go out at night; not to wear revealing clothes; not to act too friendly; not to wear lipstick. Putting restrictions on women will not reduce crime. Stop the offenders, not the victims. I’m sorry, but I AM OFFENDED.

Feature Image Credits: Parag Soni Photography

Aditi Gutgutia

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Gargi College’s Fact-Finding Committee had a GBM with the college’s students on Day 7 of the demonstration against the incidents of Reverie and addressed concerns regarding the issue.

A statement released for Day 7 of the demonstration in Gargi College against the sexual harassment incident that occurred at this year’s Reverie stated that the college’s Fact-Finding Committee which was formed to gather official evidence regarding the incident had a GBM with the students.

In the meeting, various concerns were raised. The fact-finding committee found out that there was a “gross lapse in the overall security of the fest”, and that it was the fault of the administration who had underestimated the expected peep count at the event. The committee also recommended that the college’s staff be sensitised to gender issues after many students complained about the lax attitudes of the administration when the misdemeanours had first been reported.

The Committee also said that a second, more conclusive report would be constructed to address the event in its entirety, and laid emphasis on the fact that the college’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) is grossly biased and compromised. As a result, a decision has been taken to form a new ICC as per the requirements of the University Grants Commission (UGC). The committee is to be formed by the end of February.

The Committee has also stated that due to available discrepancies in the report existing on various different levels, and with the Delhi Police not having answered any of the questions posed by the committee as of now, it would take time to form and finalise a conclusive report.

Another concern made by the students was regarding the budget of Reverie, and where it was spent, with the administration having spent little to none on security. As a result, the budget was presented but not in its entirety, and students are therefore looking for alternatives to an RTI to gauge the budget.

The students also requested the resignation of the teachers and administrators who were directly responsible for the lapse of security from their posts as OC of Reverie, and this will be decided upon by the Governing Body of the College.

After the FCC came out with its findings, the student union of Gargi released a notice stating that they would now aim at redress all for student welfare.

Feature Image Credits: Sanyukta Singh

Shreya Juyal

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In the wake of alleged incidents of the Delhi police visiting college hostels and PGs, and inquiring about Kashmiri residents, Pinjra Tod has written to the Commissioner of Police, Amulya Patnaik, opposing such visits.

Pinjra Tod, an autonomous collective to ensure secure, affordable, and non-discriminatory accommodation for women students across Delhi, has written a letter to the Patnaik alleging that “the Delhi Police has been going college to college, PG to PG in the neighbourhoods of Delhi, trying to identify and mark Kashmiri women students over the past few days.”

Citing an alleged incident, the collective shared that the police went straight to the warden of Miranda House College to collect the list of the names of Kashmiris, and their local and permanent residences. It was only after the intervention of the college Principal that the police returned.

“It would be better if they issued warning to Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs)/hotels indulging in harassment of Kashmiri people instead of surveilling them”, said Pinjra Tod, describing another occurrence which reportedly took place in Jamia Nagar, where the police went to residential colonies, inquiring if women students and working professional staying there were from Jammu and Kashmir.

The collective accused that these visits made in the name of “students’ own protection” has on the contrary, “made people feel threatened and exposed in times when Kashmiri students are already facing public hostility from many corners.”

Pinjra Tod has also said that such “visits have been made in hostels and colleges across the University of Delhi and even off-campus residential areas around Jamia Milia Islamia.”

Linking these visits to the recent abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A by the centre and expressing their opposition towards the same, they said, “A mass hysteria around the triumph of Kashmir has been mobilised to polarize the country, unleashing the most Islamophobic, misogynistic, and genocidal impulses in our society” and these police visits and enquiries have “fueled fears of persecution in an atmosphere where the Indian state has acted against all its own constitutional commitments and past assurances.”

“This intimidation of Kashmiri women students has not stopped with the submission of our letter. Two days ago, Delhi police approached the Indraprastha College authorities and demanded information on Kashmiri students who lived in the hostel. In a context when Kashmiri students are being targeted, harassed and evicted out of houses, these steps taken by the Delhi Police only adds to their sense of insecurity on campus and leads to further targeting,” said Diya Davis, a member of Pinjra Tod.

They have demanded the police to be more “receptive and quick to act on any instances of harassment being reported by Kashmiri students, by landlords, neighbours and others.”

It is to be noted that on 5th August, on the day of the scrapping of the special status granted to Kashmir, Patnaik had issued directions for enhancing police presence in vulnerable areas and places frequented by Kashmiri people such as university campuses and markets in the national capital.

“Enhanced police presence will inspire confidence among the Kashmiri residents,” a senior official had said.

The veracity of the occurrences is yet to be ascertained.


Feature Image Credits: Pinjra Tod


Shreya Agrawal

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The fest season has begun and so have the stories of chaos, harassment, and safety issues at these prestigious cultural festivals. Let’s see what went down at Tempest 2019.

Tempest 2019, the three-day Annual Cultural Festival of Miranda House took place from 14th to 16th February 2019. Reports of chaos, security breach, rape threats, and harassment arose on Day 2 and Day 3 of the fest.

On 15th February, a message from the Women’s Development Cell (WDC) was circulated for the girls to be safe as allegedly, some members of the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) had barged into the college campus, and were acting very violently and threatening people with rape threats. An anonymous source from the WDC security team shared her experience, stating that on the same day she noticed something weird going on around the entrance to the barricaded women’s area. When she went to investigate, she saw a few men who were trying to intimidate volunteers into letting them enter. When she asked them to leave, they retorted, saying, Aapko pata hai hum kaun hain? Humare saath Shakti Singh hai.” (Do you know who we are? Shakti Singh, the President, DUSU, is with us.)

When these people were blocked and not allowed to enter, they retreated but only with threats like “we’ll come back soon- just wait and watch” and “aaj 20 log laaye hai, kal 500 laayenge” (Today we have brought 20 people, tomorrow we’ll bring 500). She also added- “This kind of hooliganism has increased in the campus. There were men from Hindu College who had infiltrated the crowd, asking about the people who had taken part in the V-Tree protest the previous day.”

Anoushka Sharma, a second-year student from Delhi School of Journalism and a Copy-editor at DU Beat, also shared her horror story from Day 3 at Tempest. She stated that while entering the college on the third day of the fest, she was trying to show her media pass at the entrance to enter when a guy pushed her and said in a very rude tone- “Madam ji, kya kar rahi hain?” (Madam, what are you doing?). At first, she ignored but he was persistent and kept on insisting. When she told him about the media passes, he again said in a harsh tone- “Tameez nahi hai baat karne ki? (Don’t you have any manners?). Seconds later, the guards opened the door and at that moment people started touching and groping her. She quoted, “The lady security guard had to hold me since I almost fell on the ground, and she told me to go inside through the lawns since there was less crowd there.”

Talking about the ruckus created at the gates, the Head of Security from Miranda House’s WDC told DU Beat that due to the crowd build-up at the gate, the Principal had to open the gate when 50 to 100 unidentified individuals without passes barged inside the college. She also added that men came up to her, and to the Vice-President of the Student Union to threaten them by quoting their support from DUSU. When they were refused entry, they said, “Agli baar toh fest hi nahin hoga.(We won’t let the fest happen next time.” She added- “There was a sense of fear in the environment and the girls were uncomfortable by the presence of such people.”

When DU Beat contacted the Vice-President, she denied the story, saying that she personally didn’t hear any comments; however, due to the rush outside the gates, she talked to Shakti Singh who said that none of his people were involved in any such threats and misbehaviour. She also stated, “The passes said entry till 2 P.M. and people didn’t follow that which created more ruckus but actions were taken and things went smoothly later.”

These incidents are examples which show unsafe environment at fests. Even in a fest regulated with passes, unidentified crowd entered in mobs through the front gates and created a ruckus, not only threatening the attendees but also the organisers and volunteers. These prestigious annual cultural fests are the platform of growth and inclusivity which have now unfortunately become spaces for assault and harassment.

Feature Image Credits: Namrata Randhawa

Sakshi Arora

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The University of Delhi has witnessed innumerable harassment cases in recent times, despite a greater sense of awareness. Here is a look at the unfortunate number of such incidents to shed light and much-needed awareness on the same.

Women across the world bear everyday harassment, catcalling, and heinous crimes. However, one would assume that women are relatively safer in a campus space like the University of Delhi (DU). Unfortunately, innumerable harassment and assault cases have taken place in this renowned institution. According to a Gender Study Group report of DU in 1996, “Nearly 38.1% of the women student respondents (hostellers and non-hostellers) have experienced harassment in the form of leaching, commenting, and molestation.” These numbers reflect how commonplace everyday harassment of women is.

1) Kawalpreet Kaur harassed at Satyawati College: Kawalpreet Kaur, a student activist from All India Students Association (AISA), accused of being manhandled and silenced while being present at Satyawati College for a panel discussion on women’s safety. The accused were believed to belong to Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

2) Professor harassed student at Daulat Ram College: A first-year student from Daulat Ram College accused a professor of the Political Science Department of harassing her. He was believed to have made multiple inappropriate remarks on the appearance of the student, along with making several advances to meet outside the college premises. The incident came to light when the student filed an First Information Report (FIR), following which protests broke out in the college.

3) List of sexual predators in Indian academia: Raya Sarkar, a law student, compiled a list of sexual predators in Indian Universities. She claimed to have put-together the list with inputs directly from the students themselves. The list generated intense debate on social media. Some accused it of being ineffective and baseless while others hailed it as a revolutionary idea that gave an agency to the voices of victims.

4) Sexual harassment at Ramjas College: In 2007, the Vice-President of Ramjas College, B.N. Ray, was accused of sexual harassment by male students from the college. The victims, all of whom hailed from the North-East, banded together to speak out against him. It was in 2017, approximately a decade later, that a subcommittee of the College Complaints Committee (CCC), set by the directions of the High Court, found him guilty. It is alleged that Mr. Ray continued to be on the college payroll until retirement in 2015, even though he was not allowed to step into college.

5) Priyadarshini Mattoo’s Murder: On 23rd January 1996, Priyadarshini Mattoo, a final year student of University of Delhi’s Law Centre was murdered by Santosh Kumar Singh, a graduate of the Law Centre. The accused had sexually and mentally harassed the deceased on multiple occasions following which she was provided police protection, but the accused killed her in her home with 19 injuries on her body and attempted rape.

6) Pavitra Bharadwaj suicide case: On 30th September 2013, Pavitra Bhardwaj of Bhim Rao Ambedkar College immolated herself in front of the Delhi Secretariat. She later succumbed to her injuries on 7th October. She had accused then Principal, G.K. Arora, and another colleague, Ravinder Singh, of sexual and mental harassment in her suicide note. After multiple protests by the Delhi University Teacher’s Association (DUTA), the principal was suspended. However, his suspension was later revoked; an action which generated an outcry.

7) Harassment during Crossroads 2017: A Miranda House student, Meghna Singh, was sexually harassed during KK’s concert at Crossroads 2017, the annual cultural festival of Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC). When she returned home after the concert she noticed white spots on her black trousers, that were evident semen stains. The student received a lot of flak and was trolled on social media. Meghna’s incident generated a lot of buzz and created a conversation about harassment in college fests.

8) Semen-filled balloon pelting around Holi: Students from Lady Shri Ram College for Women (LSR) and Jesus and Mary College (JMC) were pelted with balloons that were allegedly filled with semen around Holi. A woman in Amar Colony was pelted on the head with a semen-filled balloon on 28th February 2018. In response to such deeply disturbing events, the LSR Students’ Union organised a protest on 1st March, along with students of JMC.

9) Bharti College student harassment case: A final-year political science student of Bharti College wrote to the Vice-Chancellor accusing one of her professors of sexual harassment. The student did not approach the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) because of its non-functioning nature. The Committees Against Sexual Harassment (CASH) of the University which later changed to ICC, is a presence only on papers in 70% colleges of the University.

10) DRC Students harassed by Bank Employee: A first year student from Daulat Ram College was harassed by an Indian Overseas Bank employee, who worked on the campus branch of the same. The accused had earlier helped the victim when she was having trouble with funds in relation to her mother’s operation. He later offered to drive her to college, since he lived in the same area. The incident was shared with an ABVP activist within the college and an FIR was later filed against the accused.

11) Rape threats against Gurmehar Kaur: Gurmehar Kaur, a student from Lady Shri Ram College (LSR), protested against ABVP during the Ramjas controversy which took place in early 2017. In response, a year old video of her speaking for peace as a part of her “#ProfileForPeace campaign” was dug out and used to mercilessly troll her, even by known public figures. Kaur was branded as an “anti-national” and received multiple rape threats on social media. She subsequently dealt with the issue with courage and is now an activist and published author.

12) Aditi Mahavidyala Student harassed: In January of 2016, a student of Aditi Mahavidyalaya accused a visually impaired professor of harassing her by sending her inappropriate text messages. She added that he sent her inappropriate videos and called her at odd hours. The student said that the college principal, Mamta Sharma, had been unsupportive after which she decided to reach out the police. The principal dismissed these claims and said that the matter had been referred to the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) for further probing.

These cases are a handful amongst all the incidents of harassment and violence that take place on campus. A significant number of cases go unreported, unbelieved, and silenced. Most colleges lack an efficient and systematic Sexual Harassment Redressal Committee which further alienates victim’s and breeds complacence and silence towards harassment. Often authorities and friends do not believe the victims narrative or remain neutral which adds to the problem. The problem of trolling is prevalent as is obvious in the case of Gurmehar Kaur and Meghna Singh, both of whom were mercilessly shamed on social media. Mr. B.N. Ray who was found guilty by an ICC almost a decade after the accusations against him were first made; shows how time-consuming and draining such legal proceedings can be, which is something which deters a lot of victims from coming forward. With the rise of activism and awareness in students, resistance against sexism and harassment is strengthening. Hopefully, the cohesive efforts of students will lead to the University becoming a safer place.


Feature Image Credits: Nazariya

Kinjal Pandey | [email protected]

Prachi Mehra | [email protected]

Sara Sohail | [email protected]


In an enormous victory for Pinjra Tod and women across the University of Delhi (DU), hostel timings have now been given a significant extension by the Proctor.

Hostel timings in the University of Delhi (DU) were extended till midnight on Friday in order to “reclaim public spaces for women” according to the Proctor, in agreement to the demands of student activism groups like Pinjra Tod amongst others. Divya, a senior Pinjra Tod member spoke of the accomplishment, “This is a landmark move which would remove patriarchal and unconstitutional curfew from all women’s hostels”. The move came after months of lobbying with the administration undertaken by the feminist collective. Regarding the same, the Proctor announced, “We’ve agreed to one of their demands of extending the hostel deadlines till midnight, for a  trial period of 6 months. If all goes well, we’ll bring this into force permanently. ”

However, not all political circles accepted this decision. The Delhi unit of ABVP issued a statement against this “injudicious” statement of the “misguided” Proctor. The State Secretary said, “It is not our culture to allow women to stay out until odd hours of the night. We will not allow this heinous breakdown of our culture.” Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of the Vishva Hindu Parishad, has gone a step ahead and organised a hunger strike against the Proctor’s decision. The members of the wing have set up a makeshift pavilion in front of the Faculty of Arts, wherein they would hold their strike. On a phone call conversation with the correspondent, Rajat Pandey, Chief of Bajrang Dal said, “This imbecilic move of the Proctor will only lead to reckless behaviour by couples, which might have outcomes as drastic as unwanted pregnancies. Girls from respectable families shouldn’t be allowed to move around at night. We must be cautious of mindlessly imbibing Western culture.” He further asserted, “We won’t stop our hunger strike until this impetuous development is revoked.”

The All Students’ Parents’ Association (ASPA) held a press conference wherein its internal frictions surfaced. Responding to queries from the press, the Secretary said, “The association thinks that it’s a progressive step, and shall strive to ensure that the required safety measures are taken to facilitate the same.” On the other hand, when the President was questioned on the level of comfort that parents feel in respect to this resolution, he said, “To be honest, the comfort level is zero. Parents from all over the country strive to get their girls into the hostel in the hope that they’d be safe. If the administration is insensitive enough to disregard the fears of parents living thousands of miles away, we spit on that administration.”

So far, the consensus on the decision in terms of public reaction is still not out. While some people find the decision revolutionary in terms of putting women and men on equal fronts, while others see it as a deliberate attack on our culture and values.


Disclaimer: One of our most beloved features, Bazinga is our weekly column of almost believable fake news. It is only to be appreciated and not accepted!

Feature Image Credits: Women’s Web

Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak

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Protests broke out in Daulat Ram College (DRC) as students gathered in large numbers outside the Principal office to protest against the alleged harassment of a minor student by a faculty member.

On 31st January 2018, a complaint was lodged in the Maurice Nagar Police Station against an Ad-Hoc professor of the Political Science Department of Daulat Ram College (DRC), University Of Delhi for allegedly molesting and harassing a minor student.

The student, in her complaint, elucidated that the professor in question would often stare at her and wink during classes. She mentioned that he made lewd remarks and even asked her to join him for a cup of coffee alone during off-days and enquired about her relationship status. “He told me I am looking hot and sexy and then touched me inappropriately and tried to come closer to me,” the student cited in her complaint. Upon refusal from her side on his advances, he threatened to fail her in the internal examinations. The student, who was in her first year of college, was reported to be greatly aggrieved and troubled by this exchange. According to reports, the student was repeatedly told by college authorities to not pursue a legal course of action.

Soon screenshots of the text message exchange between the student and the professor were circulated online in the college groups where they went viral. The students collectively decided to protest this matter to demand immediate action from the college authorities. The student body comprising of over 700 individuals from all departments of the college assembled in front of the administration block of the college at 11:30 AM and shouted slogans in unison like “We want justice”. Several signs and posters were hoisted conveying “We stand together”, “Arrest him, fire him”, “DRC stands against harassment”.

The professor accused was present in the college during this time and quickly retired to the staffroom after a group of girls went to prevent him from taking classes. The protests then began outside the staff room and the students collectively raised slogans and chants.

The Students Union of the college was in communication with the principal of the college and ensured the students that action will be taken against the accused. The basic demand of students was for the speedy arrest and rustication of the accused. The police officials arrived and the professor was escorted to the principal’s office, after which students became a little less agitated.

The principal towards the end addressed the gathering of the students and had an open conversation with them regarding this matter where she ensured and promised the students that the professor in question will not return to the college campus again. She re-iterated that harassment will not be tolerated in the institution and that she will do her best to ensure the well-being of her students.

Nidhi Upadhyay, Vice President, Daulat Ram College congratulated the students on the successful demonstration that was carried out collectively and instructed the gathering to disperse and resume with their classes.

However, after the dispersal of the students, members of Student’s Federation of India (SFI) barged into the college baring their party flags and posters without any permission from the authorities, injuring two female guards in the process. They demanded the establishment of a “GSCASH committee” (Gender Sensitisation Committee against Sexual Harassment). They stipulated to meet with the principal of the college without any prior appointment, however, they were asked to vacate the college premises by teachers and students because of the lack of permission, and by the virtue of DRC being a Non-DUSU (Delhi University Students Union) college.

Feature Image Credits: The Hindu

Bhavya Banerjee

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Kinjal Pandey

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Bollywood films and songs are often laced with sexism, which does injustice to both women and men by turning the former into a victim and the latter into an aggressor.

“Filmi dhun pe dekh ke tujhko

Seeti roz bajaun”

“Socha hai key tumhe rasta bhulaye

Sunee jagah pe kahin chhede daraye”

The aforementioned lyrics have been taken from the songs “ and “Socha Hai”. These songs have steadily been climbing the charts and continue to be extremely popular. The concept of remixing old Bollywood songs and repackaging them to a younger audience has now become the Bollywood norm. Though these songs may evoke nostalgia, it is not the only emotion these remixes incite. With their lyrics and visuals, these songs normalise everyday sexism, stalking, and harassment.

The difficulty with highlighting sexism is that people don’t ever find it legitimate or problematic “enough”. When people, especially women, call out the casual sexism in films, they are labelled as “overtly sensitive buzz kills” or, “feminazis”. When women complain against being inappropriately touched in the metro, people around them respond with mein chala karo na (madam,then travel in the ladies’ coach).

The wage gap has been labelled a myth, and marital rape is legal in our country because as Ms. Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister for Women & Child Development, resonates, “It is considered that the concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors like level of education/illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of the society to treat the marriage as a sacrament.” Even when brutal crimes against women take place, for instance the Nirbhaya rape case, people have the audacity to blame it on the actions of the victim – her clothing, her company, her social habits, and more.

In short, there is always justification for harassment and rape. We, as a country, do not regard crime against women or even everyday sexism as a problem, we do not acknowledge our problematic mindset. And, believe it or not, our films do play a significant role in that. Our films, on a regular basis, show male characters actively pursuing their love interest by following her around, annoying her, troubling her, and refusing to take no for an answer. In a recent example, in the song “Hans Mat Pagli” from the film “Toilet – Ek Prem Katha”, Akshay Kumar pursues Bhumi Pednekar by stalking her. He sits outside her house, follows her around, climbs trees to secretly photograph her, attacks other men who so much as look at her, and more. This kind of behaviour is not new to Bollywood; this has been going around for so long that it has now been ingrained in our society and we don’t even find it odd anymore. In a country where only 30% of people live in urban areas, in a country where interaction between the sexes is discouraged, this is even more problematic.

When impressionable young men, who may not necessarily be in touch with non-familial people of the opposite gender, watch these films, their idea of romance and love gets distorted. The hero ends up dating the heroine as a result of his shameful antics. Consequentially, young men come to the conclusion that stalking a woman is perfectly normal and acceptable. The idea that this behaviour is unusual or strange never comes to their mind because nobody talks about relationships openly and only films create the idea of what love should be.


Films don’t just affect how young men choose to conduct themselves, but also affect how young women think of themselves. When films portray women as reluctant and naïve, as someone always shying from both active romantic and sexual relationships, it sets the norm of how women should act in real life. It takes away the autonomy of women and establishes that “good” women should never ever want “it”, “it” being both love and sexual contact. When we make women asexual beings, who can only be pursued but can never pursue, we make sexuality in women unacceptable and thus legitimise moral policing.

The “good” women in these films are tragically ignorant and reluctant. Despite liberalisation, greater education for women, and better employment opportunities, the narrative of the reluctant woman has remained the same. From 1972, when Jaya Bhaduri sang “Nahin Nahin, Abhi Nahin” to Randhir Kapoor, to 2017, when Kriti Sanon sang “Na Na Na Na” to Sushant Singh Rajput, the idea of a woman being passive and shy hasn’t changed. If you paid attention to the number of times women said “nahin” or “na” (no) in a Bollywood song, you would be appalled.

Even though sexuality is expressed in Bollywood through ”item songs”, the sexualisation is acceptable only as long as it caters to the male gaze. Overtly sexual Bollywood songs are only deemed acceptable when they cater to men. These songs mostly include a bunch of men (ideally consuming alcohol) leering at a skimpily clad woman. So while the “strictly chaste love” portrayal has considerably reduced, any kind of sexuality in films is limited to women being treated like objects.

Main toh tandoori murgi hun yar, gatak le mujhe alchohol se” which translates to “I am barbecued chicken, swallow me with alcohol” were the lyrics in the song “Fevicol” from the film Dabangg 2. These crass and crude lyrics are not one of a kind. In fact, the censor board continues to pass films with outright bizarre and perverse innuendos and dialogues, such as Grand Masti, as long as they objectify women. But when women try to seek autonomy and express their sexuality without catering to the male gaze, for instance in “Lipstick Under My Burkha”, the film is denied release because it is “lady-oriented”.

Some people say art imitates life, but I am of the belief that life imitates art as well. It is a symbiotic relationship, where one is dependent and influenced by the other. When people say Honey Singh’s sexist lyrics or films that objectify women do not affect and influence people, they are willingly choosing to live in an alternative reality.

Bollywood continues to be crucial in affecting our lives, and actors continue to be revered like gods. One cannot deny the influence that Bollywood has on us. These songs normalise harassment, they make women look like puppets who have little autonomy and control over their lives, they sexualise women, and only cater to the male gaze. It is high time that they are called out for the same.

The next time someone releases a song called “Tu cheez badi hai mast mast”, which clearly objectifies a woman, I hope their song does not become a chartbuster. I hope people become aware enough to recognise this kind of behaviour as deplorable and actively seek better forms of entertainment.

Feature Image Credits: Lyricsmint


Kinjal Pandey

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In another case of assault by ABVP members, Kawalpreet Kaur, the president of Delhi University All India Students Association (AISA) has alleged harassment by ABVP members as she visited Satyawati College. She alleges that the ABVP members harassed her, tried to physically restrain her and verbally abused her.

She has lodged a FIR against members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of RSS. The FIR has been registered under Section 154 of CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) along with Sections 354, 354(A), 509, 341 within the IPC 1860 Act against the ABVP activists.  The police complaint has been filed against Vikram Singh Tomar, ABVP convenor of Satyawati College, Dharamprakash, Adw-ait Sharma, Mantu Sharma and few unknown activists.

[quote]I had gone to Satyawati College in order to meet a professor there for my own academic work as well as to meet some of my friends and AISA activists. As soon I entered the college ABVP members gathered around me and started harassing me[/quote]

-Kawalpreet Kaur, AISA President, Delhi University

She alleged that the ABVP activists tried to bully her by saying  ‘tum kya kar rahi ho’, ‘show us your ID card’, ‘we shall not tolerate any anti-national activities here’, ‘Satyawati ko Ramjas nahi ban ne denge’. She resisted by saying that it was her right to visit any college. After this, the ABVP members started shooting her videos on their phones. As she resisted their action, she was abused by Dharam Prakash, whom she alleges as an outsider. “They questioned my nationality, called me a slut”, says Kawalpreet.  Meanwhile, one of the students who asked ABVP members to steer clear of her way was also roughed up by them.

Later hearing the commotion, the Principal of the college reached the scene and dispersed the crowd. “He supported me and helped me file a complaint against them”, says Kawalpreet.  She expects the police to take strict action against those who advocate for goonda-gardi in the campus.

Image Credits: News Nation

Oorja Tapan

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