This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Arunima Singh. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Counter Point: Why I Refuse To Be Offended By Coldplay’s ‘Hymn For The Weekend’ Video

More from Arunima Singh

By Arunima Singh:

Still from the video ‘Hymn for the Weekend’. Source: YouTube

With the whole Internet going crazy about the new Coldplay video, curiosity got the better of me as the first thing I did this morning (right after checking my phone) was watch that video.

Some people are hurt, even angry. I fail to understand why. Unlike most other videos, Coldplay isn’t making foreigners wear bindi and dance in sarees (although, how problematic that is, remains debatable), or hurting religious sentiments or making a sequel to India’s Daughter.

We have Queen B as the Rani in videos being played everywhere, and a 2-second long cameo by Sonam Kapoor, and the rest of the video is one big Holi celebration in a city that looks, sometimes like Jodhpur, and sometimes like Varanasi, and sometimes too colourful to be true to me.

Now, Beyonce on the screen is not even something I considered people could find problematic, considering how obsessed we are with foreigners in movies (Giselli Monteiro played a ‘Punjaban’ in Love Aaj Kal, as for the blonde hair, Ali Larter got a part in Marigold, granted she was playing a foreigner). A non-issue, basically.

While I agree that Coldplay has exoticised India, making it look like all we do here is chill and play Holi or pray, it’s a music video for God’s sake. Are we expecting them to stand and film the cyber city in Gurgaon? Or some fancy hotels or highways? Or do we want it to discuss Digital India campaign or India’s foreign policy? Art is a personal expression, and if what they found interesting is that we play Holi or how the uncountable sadhus in our countries dress and live and pray, they are going to put that in their video. While we live inside buildings and work from our offices, there are actually taxis and half-naked children running around the roads. It is not something they made up.

They are not making a documentary about Indian lives. They are artists and in a video that they made, they have all the right to portray things that they wish to, as long as they are not untrue. And it is not. We do play Holi. Cities like Varanasi are a tourist destination across the world because of our traditions and rituals.

If you feel uncomfortable looking at all the naked children running around, I doubt you live in this country. They are everywhere. In every city. Every region. Maybe we should be uncomfortable enough to change that. Artistic freedom is something that should be respected, especially when the artists aren’t spreading lies or depicting us in a way that is harmful to our country.

We are a beautiful country. And a colourful one. And like every other country in the world, there are some things about us that people find more interesting than others. A great part of our nation is still very much about those godmen and the half-naked children and narrow lanes and just too many festivals to count.

While we are developing, competing with the rest of the world in business, technology and science, why is it so shocking if people are intrigued by things that are unique to us? I am sorry, but I refuse to be offended.

Also read: ‘The New Coldplay Video With Beyonce And Sonam Kapoor, Just Made Me Go ‘Why’!

You must be to comment.
  1. Saem Hashmi

    Finally, I see someone talk sense about art. Well, in the present environment and atmosphere that we are residing in, nationalistic feelings cannot be hurt and the video fails to show the progressive India (As put).

    Rather, I find this video to depict the true essence of India i.e. diversity, happiness and the correct ethnicity (If that is what has hurt people). Ethnicity to modern society is 'LPG', modernism, development and so on. Bollywood does a hollywood and shoots abroad or mis-represents states in their movies and yet we clap and shower sms for someone to win an award.

    Grow up… Art is imagination..! We are lucky that they shot in India finally..!

  2. Nayantara

    Thank you!
    Geez, the amount people are over-reacting about this video is out of hand! How about the fact the Fair and Lovely still blatantly advertises for fairer skin? Or that when Indian celebrities represent India at Cannes or the Oscars you rarely see them in saris/Indian garb? Or the fact that numerous Indian music videos are shot in other countries with caucasian dancers in the background. Why is all that fine? If the world has to see us as an economic power, then we should pull up our socks and do our stuff. It's not for Coldplay or Beyonce to portray us as something great, it's for us to do it ourselves!

  3. Trisha Puniani

    Quite surprising to see a positive article about this debate on youthkiawaaz after one was released quite recently talking about how the video made that writer go 'why'.

    Regardless, it's refreshing to see someone bring more balance to the debate. I second you entirely and agree that we should let it be the amazing song and video that it was intended to be.

  4. Rizwana Ahmed

    I agree with it there’s nothing new that could play has shown that we have not seen earlier as a depiction of india and there is nothing that is problematic not even the boyonce depiction.but I think there is nothing wrong in daughters of India too its just as true and I did not see any false or insulting comment its just a commentary on something horrific troublesome but albait true.

More from Arunima Singh

Similar Posts

By Rapti Mukherjee

By varun pratap

By Rohit Prashar

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below