Dim lights, blaring music and lecherous men: The life of a female DJ in Delhi is certainly not tuneful

In the light of the recent incident of DJ Varnika Kundu being stalked by BJP chief Subhash Barala’s son Vikas and his friend, Delhi- based female DJs say that you are considered easy if your job is to play music in the night.
Female DJs in the city reveal the worst party behaviour they have faced from men.
Female DJs in the city reveal the worst party behaviour they have faced from men.
Updated on Aug 10, 2017 03:02 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi

It’s 2017 and it’s shameful that even in this day and age, women are not safe in India, say women who work late hours .The Chandigarh stalking case has only highlighted the gravity of the problem. Crimes against women in this country seems like a disease with no cure.

Varnika Kundu, the 29-year-old DJ, who lives in Chandigarh, was returning home late night when she was stalked, chased and almost kidnapped by two men driving an SUV. She barely managed to escape. Varnika and her father both shared their ordeal on Facebook. The men were arrested after Varnika filed a complaint, only to be let off because one of them was Vikas Barala, son of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala. But later, they were arrested again due to social media pressure. However, BJP state vice-president Ramveer Bhatti questioned the victim while speaking to the media, saying that why she was out was so late in the night? These regressive remarks have now led to a Twitter campaign #AintNoCinderella, where women can be seen posting photos of them enjoying a night out in the city, in an attempt to shame BJP state vice-president Ramveer Bhatti.

We got in touch with Delhi- based female DJs and television anchor Gurbani Judge, who condemn this shameful incident and tell us why their life is not easy.

Gurbani Judge, TV anchor, 29

When these incidents happen and people make statements such as ‘why was she out late?’, it’s hard to come up with words to explain the stupidity of these statements. It’s not surprising that offenders will influence/ buy their way out of jail. It happens everywhere. It’s sad to see the ignorance of people in this age as well. If things continue this way, women in the country will never be free, they won’t be able to live their lives freely.

Sonya Khanna Aka DJ Sonya, 29

Yes, like many other jobs now, DJs have to work at night. People working at restaurants as chefs, servers, people at BPO, cops, journalists, doctors… the list is endless. I am from Delhi and I have been tailed and followed a few times after my shows. I generally drive myself to and back from work because I don’t trust cab drivers at that hour of the night. What happened in Chandigarh is very sad but then it happens almost everywhere and is absolutely not justified. I have been fortunate enough to run into police cars while I was being followed and they came to my rescue and followed me back home.

Now, being out late in the night does not give anyone the liberty to harass me. After all, the man is out too at the hour and I’m not harassing him. In my opinion, a harsh punishment to the offenders should alert everyone who plans to participate in such horrific acts. Also, we need an active helpline for women safety. I tried calling the numbers mentioned on the Internet and no one ever responds. But I truly believe that the fear of harsh punishment will do the job for the time being.

Swati Tewerie Aka DJ Sway, 28

When a female DJ performs on stage,men should respect them, they should respect the art and the artist, instead of getting drunk and trying to reach the console and do stupid things. We go there to make people forget about their worries. We keep everyone on the dance floor the entire night and that’s our passion, so please respect that. But these kind of men think that if a female is working late night wearing short clothes, she must be easy. Hence, they try to get close some how, take pictures, and they often send cheesy messages on Facebook. And after the party gets over, they even try to follow the artist. Is that the way to show your manhood ? I have played in many cities and countries but the type of crowd I see in Delhi, I’ve never seen any where else. They try hard to show that they are like VIP’ s, they try to climb on the console after getting drunk. It makes the artist very uncomfortable, but they just don’t understand that. Not all the men are like that . But majority of them have money and they are educated and yet they behave like illiterates. I have a question to the crowd who party, get drunk and misbehave with women. Why do you create ruckus and misbehave when you see a pretty girl? Guys , please don’t show your manhood by forcing a girl, show it by respecting her and giving her own space to grow.

Gouri Sharma Aka DJ Gouri, 28

It’s outrageous that we as females have to deal with this sort of nuisance and torture in 2017. If a guy can go out at night, so can a girl. It’s high time we realised that it’s not a big deal. These guys obviously don’t care about the law since they know even if things get out of hand, they can always get out of the situation with the help of their connections. Hats off to Chandigarh police for being assertive and to Varnika for being brave. So many of these incidents don’t come out, as people don’t want to share because of what might follow. We surely should expose them so that they realise and feel guilty for what they have done.

There are times when guys abuse, pass lewd comments or insult us on social media. It kind of boosts their ego. It’s a brave thing that we do. Entertaining the crowd, playing music in the night is not easy.

Kamya Arora Aka DJ Kamya, 28

It’s very shameful. Again, a clear cut example of power being misused. A DJ is not the only one who works late hours.It is one of the professions where people work at night to earn.Here, a man was misbehaving with a woman. Whether she is a DJ or not is immaterial. Nothing on earth gives an excuse to a man to misbehave with a woman. What’s more disgusting is to see how some people on social media are trolling the victim without even realizing that it could have been their own daughter, sister or mother in her place. Would they still have trolled the women of their family the same way? What wrong did Varnika do? Worked at night and was driving back home from work? The illiterate and regressive minds would obviously see stepping out at night as the cause of this unfortunate incident because they have nothing better to think in their defence . These people are the reason for men to break laws and get away with it . I am not the one to stand back if a man misbehaves with me. I always make sure to give it back to the offender.

Anamika Sachdeva Aka DJ Ana, 28

I work nationally and internationally. Being a DJ, we are suppose to work late night like till 2am or sometimes till 3:00 am as well. When I entered this profession, my parents were against it. They were like ‘are you crazy working so late in the night? It’s not safe’. While going for my gigs, I am extremely vigilant. I note down the cab number, and try to enquire everything about the driver. So far, I have been lucky that I have not encountered any situation like Varnika. However, it’s common to encounter drunk party goers, who are always on the look out for trouble. Women in this profession have to be on guard all the time.

Dipika Pandey Aka DJ Dipika, 27

All of us face these kind of abuses quite often. And we fail to report them just by saying it’s not a big deal ! Women need to report every abuse they face and not feel ashamed about it ! The whole nation needs to empower women and help them instead of trying to dump these issues in the bin. While playing a live set, it’s not uncommon to see drunk men trying to get physically intimate .We are lucky that most of the times we are protected by bouncers otherwise who knows what will happen.

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