Sofia Ashraf at ThePrint’s Democracy Wall event in Hyderabad.
Sofia Ashraf at ThePrint’s Democracy Wall event in Hyderabad | ThePrint
Text Size:

New Delhi: India’s youth need to acknowledge their privilege, ‘protest rapper’ Sofia Ashraf said Friday in Hyderabad as she spelt out the need for feminism.

“If you’re here, with access to education, you’re privileged. If I’m here on this stage, being able to perform to this audience, I’m very privileged,” said the rapper.

She, however, also said one must not deny struggles too as “every battle was worth fighting for”.

Ashraf was in conversation with Rohini Swamy, associate editor at ThePrint, at the first edition of Democracy Wall’s second season at the CMR College of Engineering & Technology in Hyderabad.

Democracy Wall is a free-speech campus initiative. The latest edition was held at the CMR College of Engineering & Technology in Hyderabad. Lok Sabha MP & AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, actress Nimrat Kaur, and IPS officer Rema Rajeshwari were the other participants at the event.

On journey as rapper

During an interactive session, the dynamic artiste shared her musical journey which began with rapping about being a ‘Hijabi’ in a university environment.

“I started off on a protest stage. We would use rap to talk about environmental pollution, industrial pollution, you know typical things rappers talk about,” joked Ashraf.

We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.

Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Recounting her first event called ‘Don’t Work For Dow’ for engineering students, Ashraf asked if the audience knew what Union Carbide “was responsible for”. Many promptly answered with “Bhopal Gas Tragedy”.

“Yes! Who said the youth is dumb? It really annoys me when they say the youth doesn’t know their news,” said Ashraf.

She was referring to the December 1984 industrial disaster at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal that killed several thousand people. The company was later bought over by Dow Chemicals.


Also read: Bhopal Gas tragedy among world’s ‘major industrial accidents’ since 1919, says UN report


Need for feminism

Asked about what she would say to those who felt there was no need for a feminist movement today, Sofia Ashraf shared her own struggle — of how she was stopped from playing sports at 10, and from dancing at 15.

She said she had to fight to study, to not get married off, to work, and to even be on stage. “My idea for feminism and women empowerment is that no girl should go to sleep, crying and wishing she’d wake up a boy for the sake of freedom,” said Ashraf.

Introducing the idea behind her song ‘Lucky’, she also spoke about the need for the youth to acknowledge their privilege. However, she urged the audience to not deny their own struggles as “every battle was worth fighting for”.

She highlighted the song lyrics: “You can’t distill my earnings to luck, You can’t discount my journey so far…”

‘Everyone is a troll now’

In the context of examples set by brash and rude politicians on television, a behaviour pattern that has now permeated into the digital realm, Ashraf said “politeness should be cool again”.

“There is a need for civility, everyone is a troll now,” she added.

Ashraf spoke about how she has been at the receiving end of rape and death threats online, and urged other women to not ignore serious online trolls. “Virtual abuse is real abuse. Report it.”


Also read: ‘I am an Indian,’ says Arunachal’s latest rap sensation K4 Kekho


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it

You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.

You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.

We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.

At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.

This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.

If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.

Support Our Journalism

Share Your Views

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here