Delhi is often referred to as dilwalon ki Dilli, an enchanting smorgasbord of a myriad cultures, a city steeped in history, a city brimming with colours, a food lover’s delight. But there’s another side to the Capital. One that’s better known than its sunny side, one that makes it notorious for being hostile, aggressive and rude. Delhi reports a shocking number of rape and molestation cases every year, and people opening fire on each other in cases of road rage doesn’t shock anyone anymore. It seems that Delhiites also like to wear their belligerent, uncouth attitude on their sleeves. On a recent tour of the popular street fashion hub, Janpath, we found these T-shirts with slogans that seem to be celebrating the churlish, uncultured face of the Capital, masquerading as trendy and happening.
Shopkeepers say that these T-shirts are in demand as young people find them fashionable. “Ladke aaj kal akad-aukat wali T-shirt pasand karte hain. Bahut bikti hai (Guys today like to wear T-shirts that reflect attitude, status. These are selling like hot cakes),” says Raj Kumar, a shopkeeper.
If you find yourself offended by these T-shirts, you lack a sense of humour, feel some. “We should learn to take a joke like a joke. If I wear one of these T-shirts, it doesn’t mean that I am a bad guy. It’s to make people have a good laugh. It’s simply tashan,” says Akash Deep, 25, hotelier.
However, those who fail to see hilarity in such slogans say it’s a very “Delhi thing” to pass off crass as cool and funny. Hooliganism has always been a part of Delhi. “Delhiites believe that it’s their attitude that sets them apart from others, and gives them that edge to intimidate others. With such a prevalent mindset, it’s no shock that such slogans are popular. It will be very difficult to tolerate a guy wearing such a T-shirt on a bus or at the metro. They are in-your-face offensive and provoke disgust in me,” says Sadhvi Arora, 22, fashion design student.
Some say that this unabashed celebration of the gross and the bawdy is reflective of a callous, can-get-away-with-anything stance. “Delhi is a city where men rape women with their eyes, pass lewd remarks and rub themselves against women in public transport. Women don’t object because they fear being ridiculed by boorish cops. Guys wear such T-shirts because they know that no one’s going to question them. It’s a sickening exhibition of obscenity. They are desensitised,” says Jinnie Gogia Chugh, body-builder, 40.
Singer Tina Jindal, 32, wonders how such clothes pass parental censorship. “There seems to be an entire machinery engaged in showcasing vulgarity and rowdiness and passing it off as legitimate. I would never want my children to wear such clothes. It’s a shame that companies are coming up with such offensive designs,” she says.
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