Kolkata, June 7 (IANS) Around 200 people – mostly wearing glowing bright red devil’s horns – took to the streets holding aloft placards in memory of master filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh at the second edition of the Kolkata slutwalk Friday.
Marked by a strong presence of members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community from cities like Delhi and Lucknow made their way from South Kolkata’s Jadavpur University to Triangular Park five km away shouting slogans.
“We want to acknowledge Rituparno Ghosh’s support to the LGBT community. So we are paying tribute to him,” Amlan Dutta, one of the organisers told IANS.
Ghosh, who was a strong supporter of the city’s LGBT community, was remembered through placards of his movie “Memories in March”.
One of the country’s best filmmakers in the post-Satyajit Ray generation, Ghosh died May 30 following a cardiac arrest. He was known for sharp analysis of human relationships with bold depictions of sexuality against social themes.
What started in the city as a virtual movement on Facebook by Sulakshana Biswas, a first year M.A. student, became a reality last year when eight youngsters got together, pooled in their resources and started distributing pamphlets and spreading the word for the walk.
Retaining the essence of the slutwalk, participants rented the air with slogans like “Jaa porechi, besh korechi (I don’t care what people think of my dressing sense)” and “Aao Aao Humko Chhedo, Kisne Kahan Mooh Mat Fero (come… come dare to abuse us, don’t back out)”.
Volunteers wearing badges and sporting rainbow colour sashes held large banners that said: “One Struggle… Stick Together” while most had body paint on.
“The basic agenda is still there – abuse and gender discrimination. But this year we are also raising issues like abuse against men,” Biswas said.
“This slutwalk is also special because Kolkata is the only city in India to go ahead with the walk for the second time,” said Dutta.
Joining the Kolkatans for the second time were Hemley Gonzalez and his volunteers of the Responsible Charity from the US which has a branch in Kolkata as well.
“Internationally people have become aware about crimes against women. But I feel Indians need to do more about it, especially the middle class,” Gonzalez said.
For Australian tourist Lila it was a way to say “this is not right” to the increasing incidences of rape in the country.
“We have read reports of increasing rape cases in India and I think people should step out and say this is not right,” Lila told IANS.
Soldiering on in the rain, Rohan Noronha, a member of the LGBT community, who walked for a second time, said it was important for the community as many incidents in the marginalised community go unreported.
“When members of the community are raped, it goes unreported because we are discriminated against. These events force the public to take note of such atrocities,” Noronha said.