Hundreds of people took to the streets of south Kolkata, as students of the GFM Connoisseurs of Jadavpur University’s Fashion and Design Society organised a Pride Parade – a walk to celebrate inclusion, diversity and love, from JU World View to GolparkPhotos: Soumyajit Dey
Be it rainbows painted on their faces or with pro-love placards in their hands, the students expressed themselves in the most innovative ways. “For me, pride is a celebration of the queer community, who have overcome legal and social boundaries to fight for their rights,” said Srishti Sarkar, founder of JU’s Fashion and Design Society
While Bahnishikha Das sported a rainbow shirt, (right) Saiyeb Akhtar had painted his lips with a rainbow. The students of Jadavpur University posed in front of graffiti of a Dali mask, a global symbol of resistance. “The Pride Parade was all about acceptance. Love is love, and nothing should come between it. We believe in this because it is about treating all of us equally,” said Das
Tanusha Raj (right) and her partner Ayshi Roy shared a peck, amidst chants of “Mei-Mei Prem Koreche”, followed by responses of, “Besh Koreche Besh Koreche”. “It’s better to be hated for what you are, rather than being loved for what you are not,” said Raj
The event garnered support beyond the student community. Alumni, teachers and students from Doctors For A Cause, an NGO that includes representatives from prominent medical colleges like R. G. Kar Medical College and Hospital, and KPC Medical College & Hospital also participated in the parade
Titas Mukherjee, a student of Jadavpur University sported the bisexual flag on her hand. “This university has taught me to embrace who I am. We are a part of a society with patriarchal norms, but today’s march was about being ourselves and breaking barriers,” she said
Niladri Ghosh and Saiyeb Akhtar did a flash-mob performance about queer rights in front of the cheering crowd outside Jadavpur Thana. “This is a festival for me. It has brought the queer community together through music and dance,” said Akhtar
The parade also involved a heart-touching musical performance in front of Jadavpur Thana. Students from Jadavpur University made the crowd sing along to songs about the freedom to love, like 'Amar Hath Bandhibi' and 'Saiyyan'