Girls in JNU ask DJs to stop playing ‘sexist songs’ during cultural nights
In a bid to make their campus more gender-inclusive, a group of female students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) have started a campaign demanding a prohibition on “sexist” and “objectionable” songs during annual cultural hostel events. The group is now preparing a “no-play list” of songs for these events.
The campaign, christened ‘Dekho magar consent se’ — was started by several residents of the university’s Godavari hostel. According to the residents, the “rampant” playing of “sexist and objectionable” songs during these cultural events, popularly known as “hostel nights”, encouraged them to come up with the initiative.
Abhiruchi Ranjan, a final-year PhD student at the university’s centre for political science and resident of Godavari said, “Most of these events are very exclusionary for women. The kind of songs they play there are highly sexist and objectionable. I have never attended a hostel night at the campus where they have not played songs in which women are called “tandoori murgi” or “lollipop”. This year, we decided to do something to bring a change and put a stop on playing of such songs during our cultural nights. Hence we come up with this no-play list idea.”
Residents of the hostel on Sunday made the DJ remove some songs from the playlist during their hostel cultural night. Hostel president Priyanka said a campus which promotes the concept of gender inclusivity “shows callousness” when it comes to entertainment. “Women start feeling uncomfortable when songs that define them as “item” or “maal” are played by DJs in their own hostel events. How can we normalise such an exclusionary environment just for the sake of entertainment,” she said.
JNU has 18 hostels for male and female students at its campus. Each of these hostels organise annual cultural nights at the end of every academic year, between February and April.
The group has also put up posters across the campus, which read “As a yearly ritual, the hostel night DJs teach female students how to cater to male fantasies. Toh iss baar DJ mein munni badnaam nahi hogi.”
The campaign is supported by male students as well. Ravi Bharti, a PhD scholar and resident of Satluj hostel, said, “We really want to take this initiative further and encourage boys’ hostels as well to follow this no-play list during their cultural events.”
The university’s dean of students Umesh Kadam said the administration has not received any complaints about derogatory songs being played so far. “I will speak to the wardens and these students. We will see what we can do to address their complaint. We always work to make our campus a gender inclusive space,” he said.
JNU students’ union (JNUSU) also extended support to the campaign. “Such songs should definitely be prohibited in hostel events. We support this campaign and will help them to take it forward,” JNUSU general secretary Aejaz Rather said.