The stage could not have been bigger and the occasion more happening. The day was 23rd December, 2013 and the stage was that of Mood Indigo, the biggest and the most happening culture fest of Asia. The crowd was enjoying the music being played out by Euphoria, one of India’s best known Rock Band with Dr. Palash Sen, the lead vocalist engaging the 10,000 strong crowd. The ensuing interaction with the crowd was enough to spark off a huge controversy.
According to the account of some who were present in the crowd, while interacting with the crowd, Dr Palash Sen made some statements like:-
“IIT mein ladkiyan hoti hi nahi hai, sirf males aur “non males”. Koi bahar ki sundar ladkiyon ko bolo ki woh padhayi kare aur IIT aaye”
“Aur agar IIT mein sundar ladkiyan nahi hoti toh aaj joh sundar ladkiyan aayi hai, woh kya bahar se mangwayi gayi hai?”
“Aur ladkiyon tum kya naaraaz ho rahi ho? Tumhe toh inhi IIT ladko ke liye rotiyan belni hai”
“aur Ladkiyon, Ladke tumhare paanv dabayenge … Tumhare paanv bhi dabayenge”
” aur agar koi ladki tumhare dil ko tod de toh uski taange tod do aur use doctor ke paas chhod do”
“bhagwan ne ladkiyon ko sundar banaya aur ladko ko intelligent banaya taaki woh ladkiyon ki sundarta ko appreciate kare”.
This lead to many in the crowd being offended and after a heated exchange with the band, Dr, Palash Sen finally came back to the stage and apologized saying that he was sorry if his remarks had offended somebody. The organizers of the fest too came out with a statement condemning the statements made by the band and promising further enquiry into the matter.
This issue has exploded on the social media with battles on ‘sexism’ being fought across Facebook and Twitter. The twitterati is divided on the issue and while some feel that he issue is being blown out of proportion for no apparent reason and that it is no big deal , others are demanding that this episode be made into an example for all other celebrities and that such sexist statement be strongly condemned in both words and action.
This episode resonates the deep rooted sexism in the Indian psyche. It is so blatant that it has we have become mortified towards such an attitude from those in public life, be it politicians, comedians or the musician in this case. Stereotyping women and saying that God has made women beautiful and man intelligent is reflection of the chauvinist thinking which is prevalent in a large section of the male population in the country. Specific to this episode, he should have thought twice before making such statements before such an impressionable crowd and coming from a man of his celebrity stature and youth following, it would have had a significant psychological impact on the crowd. This kind of thinking is also reflection of the fact that even after stepping 14 years into the 21st Century, social equality in our country is still a distant dream. To bring out about such change takes time and work at the grassroots level and it is a slow process. Such events hamper this slow change and takes the efforts several pegs back.
Having said that such episodes are really condemnable and should be made into examples for change. The dynamics and working of our society are changing and Women today stand shoulder to shoulder to men in all walks of life. They should be celebrated and lauded for their achievements and not berated the way they are. It is time for the youth to be progressive and to embrace the egalitarian principles of equality.