Solidarity in a Polarised World
The Indian Express Delhi|November 28, 2021
How we can create spaces for discussing transgressions, weave in accountability and work towards a collective transformation
SHELJA SEN

JOLADKI izzat layak hoti he, hum uski izzat karte hein. Jo izzat layak na ho, uski hum izzat nahi karte,” (We respect a girl who deserves it and not the ones who don't). I turned around and saw a schoolboy, possibly 15 years of age, shouting out these words to a young girl running by in shorts and a T-shirt. The girl immediately slowed down and started walking self-consciously, head bent down, and the boy surrounded by his friends began laughing, back-slapping with “Bilkul, bilkul!".

Fast forward to another time in the same park, where I see two young women, full of glee and laughter, playing badminton in hijabs. Suddenly, a crowd of boys, possibly 13 to 15 years of age, jostle their way through as they return home from evening school. They come close to the girls, snigger and point fingers at them. The girls immediately wrap up their play and scuttle away, leaving the boys to do a victory dance — thumping their chests, stamping on the ground, arms stretched out with loud chortling. What struck me as ironicis that they were wearing school uniforms - whitecollared shirts, ties, trousers – and making fun of young women playing badminton in hijabs, agarment that is very much part of our country's history and cultural traditions. They were also oblivious to the colonial references of their own attire.

These incidents of intersectional transgressions have made me question: What are the different scenarios that could have played out?

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