Every idea should be open to critique, even religion: Sona Mohapatra
Singer Sona Mohapatra lists the changes she’d like see in the country on the eve of its 74th Independence Day
Sona Mohapatra has never been one to shy away from saying what she wants. Be it showering praises or critiquing shortcomings, the singer has always called a spade, a spade. As India celebrates its 74th Independence Day, everyone, every now and then, has a few changes that they’ll like to see happen and it is the same for Mohapatra, who’s “an optimist”.
“One of the most important and practical changes I’d like to see soon is an India which strikes a balance between compassion and enforcement of rule of law,” she begins, adding that in a modern society, no idea or thought should enjoy complete and blind approval. “Every idea should be open to critique, even religion. We cannot normalise the rule of the mob,” she says. The Ambarsariya singer adds that a few other changes she’ll like to see include – “the abolishment of the archaic victorian-colonial baggage - the Blasphemy law”, “equal number of women, as men attending my concerts that take place in the night”, “more people to tune in to and celebrate culture, arts and music” and “hope that cyber bullying women is dealt with strictly in the coming days”.
She, however, adds that in the last few years, some sweeping reform changes have impacted the country for good. “The recent Supreme Court judgement that accords equal property rights to daughters with an amendment to the Hindu succession act. Would go a long way for women across ‘secular’ India if this applied to all religions and not just Hindus,” she cites adding, “The #MeToo movement brought about enough awareness for what is considered right or inappropriate behaviour in the work places and now in the entertainment industry most production houses and streaming platforms have a basic system in place to report and take action against such behaviour with forms for redressal shared across crews. This is a small but significant change for the safety and dignity of working professionals. Considering the participation of women in our work force has been going down dramatically in this decade this is a good time to revisit POSH laws.” Lastly she says, “on the rural side, schemes like Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana that commit to LPG gas to all households” was step in the right direction.
The singer will release her next single titled Raat Ke Musaafir, by Ultra, showcasing the struggles that women face when they dare to dream, highlighting the need for solidarity for women travelling on roads during the night. The narrative, “both visually and in song,” she says, “was about women’s right to public spaces and their right to be able to dream freely and make those dreams come true.”
She feels that Mumbai and Pune, from her experience, are relatively the safest cities in India. “No other cities can compare,” she explains, adding, “There has to be a push towards making cities across India safer for women. There’s a mentality issue in India with regards to what women ‘can’ and ‘can’t’ do. What they can and cannot wear, to be safe. What’s proper and improper. This is nonsense. Women have the same constitutional rights as any other human and shouldn’t ever be made to feel guilty about how they go about their lives.”