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Know more about The Gaali Project, started by Tamanna Mishra and Neha Thakur, to counter the sexist, casteist, communal curse words we use when letting off steam!
You have to love social media. One aspect of this all-consuming and all too distracting universe is its ability to host social experiments and meaningful initiatives.
When it occurred to young Tamanna Mishra and Neha Thakur that most abuses in the national lexicon were rooted in degrading words directed at women, (some highly misogynistic) instead of hurling some pointless expletives at the past architects of this unfair reality, they decided to, well, add even more invectives to their arsenal, but more gender neutral ones. This was the origin of The Gaali Project.
What’s in an abuse you ask? Quite a bit really.
Hurling abuses isn’t just liberating to some, it’s a way of venting angst and ire, an act of catharsis even for the really foul mouthed. What’s interesting to note here is that even this liberating experience was either inadvertently or deliberately created to exclude women from comfortably letting off steam.
Bitch, whore, slut, chudail, dayan, kalankini, mother######, sister####### (Yes, the worst kind of men earn this tag by being found depraved enough to fornicate with the women in their homes. Go figure). The list in endless. What is it about anointing the useless members of society with these unjustified labels, making some sort of gold standard of depraved behaviour worthy of these labels.
As for women, bold behaviour or using freedom of speech earns you a ‘r#####’( prostitute) or skank, with alacrity. Defend a feminist and you’re the neighbourhood bitch.
The common theme here is an intersecting thread of women, occupations, physical threats towards women and caste being used to churn out these little gems from the gaali factory across the boundaries of dialects.
And the reason the two socially conscious girls used memes and engaging content to familiarise people across social media with more gender neutral abuses is because they realised that these words are so deeply ensconced in the social fiber, even in the content coming from the entertainment realm, that instead of being preachy and holy, that it was more effective to counteract a bad gaali with a slightly better gaali. (Yes, yeh kalyug hai, sometimes the law of retaliation works in odd ways.)
Have you also wondered why there’s a friendly neighbourhood chudail easily available to haunt unsuspecting men in movies, drink their blood like coca cola on a warm afternoon, why the ‘morally corrupt’ women never went to heaven and instead turned into ulte pair vaali dayans, forever doomed to roam the earth, why even religious have made allusions to certain kinds of women being included in the ‘vilest of the vile’ category. I think all of the above were tools of control guised under fear mongering. Even abuses. To constantly remind society what labels or fate await the women who cross the line. I say let the male bhoots have the limelight for a bit. I bet the bhootnis won’t mind.
The girls have come up with an entertaining slew of crowd sourced alternatives for people to use. I would personally like to contribute to this list. ‘Baudam’ a silly, good for nothing person sounds infinitely better then… okay I think I’ve sufficiently made my point and I’ll stop abusing now before I’m mistaken for a disgruntled cast member of Mirzapur.
And for the record, you can go and submit a gaali you know of at their website.
Image source: The Gaali Project
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