Delhi’s models have found unlikely chauvinists in the form of Commonwealth Games officials. On Friday, Hindustan Times ran an article on the guidelines issued to foreigners by incredibleairindiapackages.org — the official website of the travel office of Ministry of Tourism, created especially for the Games.
One seemingly obscure detail in the guidelines has female models up in arms. Reason: one of the ‘travel tips’ mentions, “The Western practice of a peck on the cheek as a form of greeting a lady or a grown up girl is JUST NOT DONE when you are in India unless you happen to be in ‘Westernised Indian’ circles or in the company of people in the glamour industry such as models and beauty queens.”
“Are models some separate species?” asks an infuriated Sonalika Sahay, a model. “Whoever is writing such things is a jerk. It’s derogatory to the entire fashion industry. A lawsuit should be filed against the Ministry of Tourism.”
“They should just shut up and work to finish the projects and save us from embarrassment, instead of concerning themselves with who is kissing whom”, says model Noyonika Chatterjee.
“I am flabbergasted. Are we models not women? Are we not Indian? It’s a cheap thing to put up on the website,” says model Joey Mathews. The ministry’s officials refused to comment on the matter.