There's a lot to admire in the Pink Chaddi Campaign, which is the organized response to the Sri Ram Sena's vigilante crackdown on pub-going women in India. There's the graphic design, for one: just look at that big, bold poster, with that big, baggy, radiating chaddi. And then there's the name: the campaign could've called itself the pink panty campaign (as Fox News has), but that would've played into the Sena's agenda. A word like 'chaddi' is about as un-sexy or utilitarian as underwear can sound--it's a word that kids use. But finally it's the sheer, outrageous forthrightness of the campaign that makes it such a hit, at home and abroad.
The campaign was started by Nisha Susan--a journalist, at that--and is somehow affiliated with or part of the Consortium of Pubgoing, Loose and Forward Women. The CPLFW's Facebook page had 9,998 members yesterday, and over 25 thousand today.
More from the pink chaddi blog:
The Pink Chaddi Campaign kicked off on 5 February 2009 to oppose the
Sri Ram Sena. The campaign is growing exponentially (4,500 at this
point in the life of our Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward
Women) and that is not surprising. Most women in this country have
enough curbs on their lives without a whole new franchise cashing in
with their bully-boy tactics. Of course, a lot of men have joined the
group as well.
Here is we want to do with the Pink Chaddi Campaign. Join in. Be imaginative, have fun and fight back!
So far, a great many chaddis have made their way through the Indian Postal Service and to the Sri Ram Sena, who now say they just want to talk, and are sending the women pink saris in return. The Hindu American Foundation has sent out a release, calling the Sena a "gang of miscreants" and elsewhere the group is referred to as the "Hindu Taliban." Even the RSS is distancing itself. And Rediff had this parody piece, treated as a page from Sena leader Pramod Muthalik's diary:
Now, some of you might say that I don't have a nice moustache.
When you say that I don't have a nice moustache, I become very angry.
Ask the nice girl at that bar in Mangalore. She asked me to stop staring at her. She also told me that she didn't like my moustache. I then became very angry. And then, as you might have read in the newspapers, I proceeded to do a lot of crazy stuff.
From the Times of India:
campaign could turn out to be a watershed in protest movements in India. The
browser-mouse power has brought together people from all continents onto one
platform sharing angst and charting out a course that redefines peaceful but
It's also a turning point for blogs and social networking sites. When weblogs caught the fancy of the online community about seven years ago, many traditionalists saw them as trivial, often weepy, personal diaries or holier-than-thou judgemental platitudes on everything under the sun. No more.
Swat Prasad at ZDNet Asia:
I have never waited for Valentine's Day more eagerly. I really want to see whether this is just another "virtual" group, or whether its members actually will step out and fight the Sri Ram Sene. If this group is actually able to stand up against the Sri Ram Sene on Feb. 14, then I would say that social networking has really come of age.