My Indian Life: A body of protest – BBC News
hello and welcome to episode 2 of kalki presents my Indian life brought you by the BBC World Service thank you for those incredibly Charming male belly dancer this is really important I need all of you to share what you think of us on social media tell us what you think and also your stories but in the meantime here is Episode II what happens when students go up to reveal a young woman standing stock naked on a stage many people look at me many people don’t look at me many people look down look your look there some people will happen dial body and be assured about the fact that they are looking to make a point I’m standing with my body something from the BBC World Service this is my Indian life the podcast about what it means to be young an Indian in the 21st century oncology Caitlin and I’m so glad you joined us for a brand new series focusing on stories of grit and determination about how we deal with some of the issues many of us face day-in-and-day-out in our lives as young people in India if you are young and Indian then this is really your podcast and this is episode to a buddy of welcome back if you haven’t listened to the first episode yet don’t worry this one will still make sense as I have a completely new story for you but do go back and listen to the first episode of you can and really was quite an interesting story and please do let me know what you think of this forecast wherever you’re listening allows you to please leave comments and radius and just at BBC World Service or go to the BBC World Service Facebook page use the hashtag my Indian life I really do want to hear your thoughts and suggestions so don’t hesitate reaction to a first podcast thanks to everyone who’s got in touch I’ll be talkin to some of you about your stories and thoughts at the end of this episode today’s story is about a clash between should no beliefs and women’s aspirations for Freedom it’s about one woman’s fight against gender inequality at the same time it’s the story of a society in turn and it has lately been in the news for stories of violence against women and not the reason why rape is reported every 15 minutes a case of domestic violence every 5 minutes and Street harassment is rampant as women most of us have our stories of when we were groped or harassed on the bus or when a man passed a loser homemade an obscene gesture at us as we walk down the street it is also happened to me countless number of times is one anecdote that happened to be very recently I was riding my motorbike in town and I got stopped by cops and so they ask for my license and my insurance and all those things and didn’t recognize me and then after some time to realize it was me but do you like madam you know how how come you wasn’t traveling like this on a bike with with sleeveless shirt and you know with the sun beating down on you some of the questions were asked by the police politicians parents and Guardians are why were you out so late why were you out with the man why were you drinking why were you showing your cleavage and such conversations almost always end up with the same advice I was given be a little careful this type of behavior has come to be known as victim shaming and it’s something that actor Mallika taneja confronts in the most direct way possible in her play for a D&C before the curtain Rises audience Shadow fills the auditorium and then suddenly this pindrop silence no one is moving on the stage under the glare of bright light stands Malaga completely naked staring at the audience a few minutes of uncomfortable silence later she smiles and then she begins to talk first slowly and then more and more animatedly like I come back home by 6 everyday every if I have to go out with my brother is my brother if you don’t give people an opportunity to say something about you as the monologue progresses she starts putting on clothes adding more and more layers even wearing a helmet at one point all the time explaining to the audience that as a woman she has to be a little careful five years ago soon after the December 2012 g******** and murder of a twenty-three-year-old physiotherapy student on a bus in Delhi & the g******** of a photojournalist in Mumbai a few months later that was quite understandably massive outrage over the Inn sex and sex crimes have long been a taboo in a society so when sex attacks and rapes become topics of living room conversations it felt like this might be a moment of meaningful change at the same time as this if I was in Delhi work shopping for physical margarita with a straw and I remember being extremely disturbed by this case extremely uncomfortable and and shocked at the violence of this case and you know it affected me he ended it made me think about what is our role as women in the society and you know how much do we all need to talk about it on a daily basis and I think that’s really the beginning of a lot of the work that I’ve done as well and I realized wasn’t alone because there was massive Outreach over the incidence for the first time it felt like that was the start of a shift in attitudes Malachi describes the first time she perform the play so the first time I really and sure what this meant I just took a risk I was prepared to feel both times I went into it saying what’s the worst that can happen it won’t work I’ll come back home Life Will Go On just said okay let’s do it in my head that I am going to do it so she did it but when she started she used to begin in her underwear that itself was unimaginable she says and it was unfathomable to go beyond that but a year-and-a-half later when the piece called invite did the Zurich Theatre Festival in Switzerland she was asked about the underwear a lot of questions were pulled off the underwear and the beginning and then I had no answers for it didn’t work anymore like it wasn’t relevant anymore the biggest question was that now that you have the freedom to be on the stage without this layer what would it be and there was absolutely no doubt like it was obvious answer that but if this piece where to find it’s real feet it had to be from nothing to everything from something to everything in that initial reaction did you feel judgment did you feel different kinds of attitudes coming out in general that are these kind of reactions that come many people look at me many people don’t look at me many people look down look your look there some people be happy to look at my Body & Beyond about s*** about the fact that they are looking which is very refreshing activity common feeling that I get from every time I do it is a very very strong sense of camaraderie in that first each Denman I don’t feel judged about my body Malika has performed Beyonce 152 but being naked on stage can still be an unnerving experience a lot she says depends on the audience I’ve never felt threatened except once in Paris where I had teenagers in the audience who and giggled and giggled and giggled and giggled oh my God it felt like half an hour and I couldn’t start the piece and they were just so embarrassed of a naked body staring at them that they didn’t know what to do they looked at play some girls just look behind and they wouldn’t let the show start and that is been the most humiliating 20 minutes of my life in the theater I have found great power in the first few minutes of the peace have had the Good Fortune of witnessing Journeys in the audience’s the moment I begin to smile after looking at everybody 4 Ryan has always been a moment of relief love comfort for a lot of people in the audience and there is this sense especially with women of yeah we know we know and there’s just this connection that kind of happens and then it flows and when the connection doesn’t happen I know the truth Tales From You know cuz that’s like my it’s like my trigger point curious about the men in the audience because I mean as a woman I completely relate to you know the first of an ability of the body on on stage and then also the you know the weight of we have to be your pretend to be your these roles that replace I wanted to know are there any distinct mail opinions that you saw come out I have a lot of men in my audience who appreciate the piece for what it’s I think the Beast has led to conversations amongst them with their female friends or whatever it is around all sorts of things like consent and safety and whatnot you know so but I do remember this one 1 discussion session after my show which I like to call it the wallet versus the vagina debate different way and there was a big debate about about how safety is also for men in order to understand where I’m coming from we need to take it a step further and say okay let’s see happens when you go to the police station when your wallet gets stolen and let’s see what happens when I go to the police station once I have been grouped and then we have to understand what what the difference is between your meaning of safety and my meaning of what do you think of the fact that some people find this element of nudity very offences do you think any part of you was worried that you are shocking your audience or trying to get a reaction through Michele kelemen I can understand discomfort I don’t think I understand defense I understand that nudity confronts you and it can make you and it does make people extremely uncomfortable as it has made me also. offense I don’t understand I’m not standing there as a body to offend so if they are taking offense then I suppose the question to be asked is why I mean I think I think there are things that we need to be offended by we need to be offended by the by the naked body that we find raped and murdered that is offencive but I’m not standing there to offend anyone I’m standing there with my body in the new to say some and my intentions very clear so I’m not there to shock people do get shocked but when you present something that is has an element of risk it brings about all sorts of the actions and because I’m aware of the reaction that can bring I also give it the time that does get a lot of people become comfortable a lot of people he’s up there not so shocked anymore Beyonce is not for the faint-hearted that are places that are squeamish about nudity and venues in theater vest that won’t allow her to perform Malachi says many Festival organizers expect to see a performance video before finalizing programs this is something she is not comfortable with she’s always worried about her video falling into the wrong hands while being leaked on the internet so the discussion generally ends there her act that says initially even Malachi had an internal debate over her motives I think one of her struggles that I but I do remember her questioning herself about am I doing this for shock value or is there a real reason to do this and it really bothered her she knew instinctively that it white was required and that it was required and the when when I see that piece I’m just the vulnerability and the socio-political statement of that naked body of course the peace country. Any other way what I love about Molly is that she constantly questions herself just questioning whether what she’s doing is really honest and true and this when she realized it really was that I think then it became relatively easy for her to do what you have to do maybe not so easy for others to accept it may not be for some but despite the nudity have family has watched it and accepted it theater is in my genes her father banwari Tunisia Ward winning actor mom sarasvati who died when America was 10 was also a theater actor in an accomplished singer her sister so how’s Annie sez Malachi was always a performer come to the house when you have dinner parties and and two and three that for an hour on the harmonium and pretend to play it and we have this book of Hindi him from school and she used to sing it page to page and everybody have to listen I mean that to something that’s always been there it’s something that she’s interested in her mind listen to her before so tired of and then and that was a drastic personality change for us she became quiet whatever pewter workshop at the national school of drama after that he says she was a different Malaga it was a lot of changing she became confident I was surprised he says starting from the time she was in college and did a play about incest bunratty Tunisia has watched everything is daughter has done he says it’s the play did not continue to teach it could have reached larger audiences but he says he’s very impressed by total D&C joman time me and Kalia chief so what are you saying is that he has been acting for 50 years and what he couldn’t do in that time she’s done in such little time because she has the conviction and guts and The Willpower he says he’s not saying this as a father but as a theater person easy and they’re to independently at 34 she’s unmarried lives on her own and travels the world with her show I had to have a similar lifestyle and I come across more and more women like us in big cities but we are still quite rare as most unmarried women continue to live in that parental homes but this Ida fiercely independent existence can we ever stop looking over our shoulders can we ever stop being a little careful not really says Malaga I’m not careful it’s not possible because I don’t think you can read yourself completely off the need to watch out for yourself cuz we need to watch out for ourselves how can I tell my mother not to tell her daughter to be careful I don’t know what it is to have I mean it’s contradictory sort of situation because on the one hand I truly believe that if we tell our daughters just be not be careful just be if we start changing the conversation want it eventually change our minds but we don’t live in a society that will allow the daughters to just be so innocent we have to be willing to actively deal with the contradiction and risk that contradiction but no parent wants to risk anything for that neither do we want to risk anything for our own bodies take precaution we are cautious we do take precautions we are cautious but things can and often do still go wrong in life can seem like a constant battle so when I was younger of course there are people will grab your breasts and touch to your internet thing it took awhile to understand that this is what happens on the news in the next few years just elbowing them and just shouting at them more covering yourself and wearing a deposit on top of your car you know all of these things that we do but recently I was at the physiotherapist and in an attempt to reduce my shoulder it is my entire breast you know I was like I can’t believe this is happening I can’t believe how shocked I am this is happening I don’t believe that too today I haven’t said anything and I know that I should I did just boss but I can’t begin to tell you how much of an effort it is seeming like to tackle the snow after all the tackling that we do I feel kind of chocolate exhausted it was working annoyed and I didn’t find the energy to take it up and I said if I can acknowledge to myself dispatch was wrong I will deal with it right now my life has to go on I’m not weak I am not not caring I am not true not to say anything it becomes even more tiring when the sense of Duty and responsibility sits on your shoulders with it because sometimes you just don’t have the time sometimes your tired we have to acknowledge that many times we also don’t care because we are people without Ebbs and flows and lives in ups and downs and abilities and lack of them and that has to be taken into account when we are King about movements are changes especially for me because my tool for it is the Arts and I feel like the artist the ability to acknowledge individuals or as political movements necessarily acknowledge and speak groups write in which the nuances of the individual I lost but that’s not where I stand you know I kind of standing a different vantage point I think anything that we do out of heavy responsibility and Duty only breaks her back eventually we have to also grow stronger you know in the journey so that we can with the Agents of change that we want to be Kinder on ourselves also so is there any hope for India Malachi says there’s no real substantial change but what is happening is that there is a change in Attitude Lisa remote conversations on subjects that until recently were regarded as to Taboo 2 address and taking control of conversation is the first step to the country becoming a better place for women thank you so much too Mullica for sharing that story with b and I’d like to hear yours too as a young woman in India or young man what are your experiences of gender stereotypes are email addresses my engine life at BBC my Indian life from the BBC World Service is all about being young and Indian and I want as many people as possible to join in and listen to my podcast I’m relying on you to help me spread the word how about that friends about us and show them how to download or stream the podcast it’s really easy to download a podcast or audio streaming app on a smartphone or tablet and then to search for my engine life so please show everybody how to if you can subscribe it’s free and it means you’ll get every episode automatically in the next episode how does a man who struggles to speak sign his voice when he sings don’t forget I hashtag my engine life tell us what you think thanksStanding stark naked – a woman fights back. Kalki Koechlin meets Mallika Taneja, who is using her own body in protest against gender inequality, sexual harassment and assault in India.
#indiasexualharassment #sexualharassment #india
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