Over the years, Bollywood has become an inseparable aspect of Indian culture, just the way song and dance sequences have been an integral part of Bollywood ever since its inception. However, with rising consciousness about gender equality, many of the classic Bollywood numbers fail the litmus test in presenting a respectful narrative for women. No matter how catchy the tunes or groovy the lyrics be, many of these songs promote misogyny, objectification, sexism and insensitivity at their worst.
No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank
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In her latest video, Canada-based Indian-origin comedienne Lilly Singh, who is more popular by her screen name Superwoman has given a much welcome twist to a few Bollywood songs. Venturing into the world of rap, she has coated the blunt hypocrisy in these songs with strong messages of women empowerment, gender sensitisation and mental health.
‘Choli Ke Peeche’ lies a woman who fights back
Singh’s take on the 1993 Madhuri Dixit-starring hit ‘Choli Ke Peeche’ has been widely applauded for its powerful rendition with hard-hitting lyrics. The original song which is filled with objectionable sexual innuendo has undergone a feminist makeover. Viewers are raving about lyrics like –
“Call me smart, before you call me hottie”
“I hustle hard, fight back, reject any labels
I am able to do what I please, I reject fables.
Ain’t no need to save me, keep your horse in the stable.
What position I like? Head of the table.”
She also touched upon diverse topics ranging from consent to skin colour, attire to body shaming, and rapped about common instances of casual sexism women have to endure every day.
All is finally well
In her next rap on Bollywood’s quirky anthem ‘All Izz Well’, Lilly Singh attempted to set up awareness about mental health and how endless societal demands can wreak havoc inside a person’s mind.
Singh, who recently opened up about her bisexuality, took the latest Bollywood hit ‘Aankh Maarey’ to normalise alternative sexualities and non-binary gender identities. The original song has been dubbed by many to be encouraging eve-teasing and catcalling. Lilly Singh’s interpretation is definitely a fresh breath which makes the listeners groove to it guilt-free.
The rap which broke many stereotypes, however, got embroiled in a copyright controversy with TipsMusic and had to take down her video for a while, which she later reposted replacing some of the tunes that infringed copyright norms.
Efforts For Good take
Of late, activists and conscious citizens have called out Bollywood time and again for promoting misogyny and sexism. Be it through the cringe-worthy item songs with their unabashed objectification of a woman and her body parts, or storylines which hail criminal behaviours like harassment or stalking, Bollywood has countless problems under its glamour and glitz. Lilly Singh’s rap venture is definitely a welcome relief in such a context. The immense popularity of the video among Indian viewers point out what exactly the audience seeks from Bollywood in 2019. It is high time the Indian film industry takes note and sail their ship in the right direction.
With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.
After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.
Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
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Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.
Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.
“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.
Direct Monetary and Material Transfer
Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.
Information till 10th April 2020:
Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
Reached 17,700 families
Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.
In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.
This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.