A few days after a Delhi University student took on rapper Honey Singh over his song lyrics, two Mumbai women have posted a video of themselves, which addresses the issues that women in India face. What is different? They are rapping about it. The video has received more than 60,000 views and counting on YouTube.
Pankhuri Awasthi and Uppekha Jain, who describe themselves as actors and VJs and refer to themselves as BomBaebs, posted the 'Rap Against Rape' video on YouTube with the disclaimer, "This video doesn't have any explicit or bannable [sic] content. It is just that the reality for women in India in Explicit."
Whilst rapping, both women are seen holding up placards with words such as #DomesticViolence and #rape. In the rap, they describe themselves saying, "We're not rappers - no. We're just a couple of girls trying to open your eyes."
"We just decided to shoot the video on Sunday, and uploaded it on Monday. Something got me angry about the way our society was handling issues related to women's safety. Pankhuri and I decided to contribute, through our profession, whatever little we could to change the mind-set to tackle the ironies in our society. The lyrics of the video came up from extensive research we had done through the internet, and newspapers which have been highlighting the issues of women's safety," Jain told HT.
They want society to "find new definitions for honour, dignity, respect and masculinity" instead of simply tweeting and plead for it to take action.
Sample this excerpt from their rap:
"We're a land of ironies
and of rampant misogyny
Stop that tweet
And actually get on your feet
And help reform this mindset
That for years has been preset"
The two don't just criticise men for the pitiable treatment of many women in India but also criticise women for their role in the patriarchal behaviour of society. "It's not just the men, it's the women too, That slaughter the girl child, Growing in their womb," they say.
The video was received positively. "Well done, well said and more power to your cause," wrote one user Lysdexia. Another user Ranjit Singh wrote, "Girls. Awesome. Keep up the good work."
Ctiticism was not far, however. While some wrote comments asking the girls to "leave the country", others were of the opinion that blaming anyone "doesn't change anything."
"Another Video for fame and publicity. Not sure why there is a video everyday against men," wrote Babli Patel. Another user Sailesh Choyal wrote "its so lame that everyone wants to just use this to be a YouTube celebrity and then maybe get a chance on TV or cinema.
Such negative comments were largely criticised by other commenters on YouTube.