Many women are posting pictures in swimwear or gym wear in a show of solidarity with the teacher who was allegedly forced to resign from St Xavier’s University because of her Instagram pictures where she was in a “bathing suit”.
Women of various age groups, young and old, have been part of the campaign whose beginning seems spontaneous.
By 7.15pm on Saturday, more than 40 women had posted their photographs.
The photographs have been shared by multiple users and have had more than 5,000 likes and comments collectively by men and women across the globe.
Mental health activist Ratnaboli Ray launched a campaign called #takethatxaviers on August 10 and posted pictures of herself in a swimsuit by the sea to support the teacher.
“What a teacher wears as an individual should not be a matter of consternation to her students. I know this from my personal experience. Those authorities, who do not understand this must widen the boundaries of their knowledge,” Ray has written below her photo.
“The trigger is institutions, being so powerful, are never sensitive to the marginalised community. In this case, the marginalised community are the women. We have a right to choose our own apparel. Why should the institution interfere in my private space and try to control me?” she told The Telegraph.
Ray said that three young girls from Bankura started the campaign informally.
“This is not a campaign by the privileged who have swimwear. Many women from very ordinary backgrounds have been part of this in their own ways,” she said.
This newspaper spoke to several women who had posted such photographs on social media on Saturday.
Salt Lake resident Pranaadhika Sinha Devburman, who posted several photographs of herself in a variety of clothes, including in swimwear, said what happened to the former teacher was “unacceptable”.
“So, I thought of posting several photographs where I wore my favourite swimwear.... A woman cannot be discriminated against for her choices in clothing,” said Devburman, who runs a campaign to educate people about sexual violence against women.
Teacher Amrita Sarkarposted several photographs of herself in a swimming pool.
“People have no business to protest against what a woman wears and what she posts on her personal social media page or wall. As far as I know, the woman had shared her photographs that the institution found objectionable on her own personal Instagram profile. Someone took offence and complained and she lost her job. This is not done,” Sarkar said.
The former teacher of St Xavier’s University told The Telegraph: “I was scared of being potentially morally policed by society when the story broke. However, I have been shocked and surprised in the best possible way to find how vehemently people have taken up this fight for me.”
“It has reaffirmed my faith in humanity and given me renewed vigour to keep fighting. I thank each and everyone who is supporting me from the bottom of my heart,” she said.