Sona Mohapatra slams IIT Mumbai for sexism in an open letter

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Sona Mohapatra has accused IIT Mumbai and their Mood Indigo festival for being sexist in an open letter which she posted on her Facebook. She has slammed the organizers for failing to include female artistes in their line-up of performers over successive years.

The singer writes that she has been invited to perform at the festival three years in a row on condition that she share the stage with a male musician. “You don’t even see the blatant sexism that your institute & festival is propagating is sickening. For three years in a row I’ve been getting calls from your Mood-I committee members for a concert in your festival but the invite always comes with a caveat. A BIG caveat. A non negotiable caveat. A ‘MAN’ needs to be clubbed in on the marquee to validate my stage, a paid stage in particular. A SOLO FEMALE headliner? Want to be paid a price? Just not possible. The ‘men’ have homes to support, we women just ‘work’ for ‘fun’!” she writes.

Ms Mohapatra alleges that her band Sona Live has played 11 concerts in the last two weeks – the only colleges she performed at were ‘ladies only campuses.’ She also writes that her band is composed of young male musicians, “all of whom have no issues backing a female solo artiste. In fact, they are unaware of my gender I believe. They tell me when I’m great on stage & are equally okay telling me if I’ve had an off day.”

She says, she was told by her well-wishers not to bother with writing the open letter. But she decided to go ahead — not for any personal gain — but because she thought it might initiate a conversation:

“If this letter even changes 5 percent of the gender mix on stage in the coming days, I’ll consider my time well spent, although my gender actually constitutes close to 50 percent of the population,” she wrote.

Read Sona Mohapatra’s full post here :

Earlier this year, the 40 year old singer had publicly criticized actor Salman Khan for his controversial “like a raped woman” comment.

Sona Mohapatra, married to composer Ram Sampath in 2005, with whom she often collaborates, has sung playback in films like Delhi Belly, Talaash and Khoobsurat.

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