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

How Ashamed Will The Future Generations Be When They Listen To Our Songs?

More from Aishwarya Chouhan

By Aishwarya Chouhan

Songs. Well, songs, I believe, are expressions of one’s feelings, emotions, desires, ideas, passions, aspirations and ambitions. These are synchronised rhythmic strings of words or tunes that enable people to express themselves, as they are able to identify and relate to them.

Language is no bar in songs. Even if people are not able to understand the lyrics, iy doesn’t mean that they aren’t able to understand and feel the song.

Songs have their own subtle channel of communication through which they touch people’s hearts and evoke emotions and feelings expressed in them. Just like the song “Vaishnav Jana To Tene Kahiye Je, Peer Paraai Jaane Re” – a Gujarati Bhajan, the meaning of which many people aren’t able to decipher but are still able to connect to because they can feel and imbibe the emotions expressed in the words. Thus, songs require no medium of language as they are self-sufficient in reaching out to the people.

Songs also act as a mirror for the society. They are the reflection of shared beliefs, cultures, values, emotions, experiences, norms, desires, needs, plights and hardships.

For instance, the songs from village communities in Punjab reflect their socio-economic conditions. Their prayers to God for food, water and good health, also reflect their fears, desires and reverence.

The songs they sing when they are celebrating something, reflect their happiness, joy and elation (e.g. – Lok Geet sung at the occasion of Baisakhi). Songs have thus become a medium to understand the history, moral values, politics and social change of a society at a particular point in time.

Songs have also been a medium to bring about social change by attempting to shape attitudes, behaviours and mindsets of the people in the society.

The revolutionary poem ‘Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna’ played a key role in getting people to be a part (the youth, to be specific) of the nationalist movement by evoking feelings of nationalism in them. This happened because people were able to see and understand the poem and it reflected how they felt. The song was a source of inspiration for all those who fought the British and freed the country. A poem that inspired the youth to take revolutionary and audacious steps even though it meant giving up their lives.

This attitude-changing power and strength of the songs are the same reasons why a fatwa was issued in Jammu and Kashmir, in 2013, to ban an all-female band of three ‘Pragaash,’ as their songs were about girls being able to express freely, about their uplifted and empowered position in the society.

But today, I suppose that the notion of making and listening to songs is changing for many. Today songs are nothing more than products that are up for consumption by the so-called rational and smart masses, who perform this bilateral activity with absolute commitment.

It reflects the loss of the ability to judge various subtleties in the songs. This is the reason why people like ‘Yo Yo Honey Singh’ have become ‘youth icons’ even after singing songs like “Chaar Botal Vodka,” “Desi Looks,” “Paani Wala Dance that are misogynous, indecent and indecorous in nature.

Songs that objectify women and portray them as sexual objects with the objective of titillating men. Songs that make men believe that women just want to seek their attention and whatever they do is for them, and thus they think that they have the inherent right to control them in whatever way they desire.

It is, however, important and requisite to note in this regard that it is not only the men who accept and appreciate these songs but also the women who very readily, credulously and without any scepticism accept these songs even when it is them who are being portrayed in an objectionable form like that. This thus creates a market where a vicious cycle of amoral producers who produce what they feel is profitable as buyers are oblivious enough not to question the supply, and consume whatever is being served to them.

That is something that gives a further incentive to the sellers to produce something which the consumers will naturally and more readily accept. This also further increases the demand from the buyers for such items, as none of them are sceptic enough to question and break the cycle.

As for the sellers, it will result in the reduction of profit and for buyers, it will result in alienation from their group.

I wonder in this regard that, what happens to the politicians, who are ever so keen on passing remarks on what women wear, on their lifestyle when it comes to the question of rape and women’s safety, why are they so silent and passive when it comes these misogynous and impolite songs?

Why don’t they oppose item numbers like “Sheela Ki Jawani“, “Munni Badnaam Hui” and “Kundi Mat Khadkao” and the lyrics that portray the same women in a bad light?

Why do, then, they and the society as a whole, let these songs become a source of entertainment and part of their celebrations even when they reflect a bad image of the society itself?

The answer to it is just the convenience that the society gets, in putting the same women in dual statures, wherein they can’t see their own girls and women at that place but can very conveniently and joyously see other girls at the same place and enjoy it. This is nothing but sheer hypocrisy.

Songs are also a medium to know the history of the people of a particular time. They define the identity and solidarity of a group. In this regard, I wonder, what will the next generation think of us? If they will be left at all with the rationality to think, about the kind of culture they have inherited from us when they listen to our songs to know the people our times?

What will they think about the hypocrisy of their forefathers? Will they be ashamed? Also, does the onus and responsibility amount only towards posterity, and not to our forefathers from whom we have inherited this culture?

Well, the answers to all these questions lie within our own selves. It’s not too late even now. If we act as rational, vigilant, informed and sceptic citizens we can very well eliminate this evil from our society.

The society that emphasises on respecting everybody. We should make and follow not only those songs but also mannerisms, ideas and practices that further strengthen the values of our society and help us in producing a generation of citizens we can be proud of.

_

Image source: YouTube
You must be to comment.

More from Aishwarya Chouhan

Similar Posts

By Tuba Afreen

By Rishnav Thadani

By Mallika Grover

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 Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’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