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Chutney music: A story of women empowerment

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the symbol of the genre suggests celebration of female body
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BY MEGHA SHARMA

This video is an analysis of the Trinidadian Chutney music by Dr. Kumar Mahabir. He has a YouTube channel with his name, where he focuses on the Indo-Caribbean relations. He is an eminent anthropologist and a professor at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. It was uploaded on 6th of July in 2012. It is interesting to note how this music with its origins in a Hindu wedding ceremony of cooking night. The dance was triggered by the labour class women of the place. Chutney is an Indian delicacy, used-as a side dish in most of the Indian households. it is a mixture of various spices, also known as a pickle. The Music is native to Trinidad and is a hypnotic, explosive, fast-tempo one with simple refrain verse (repeating the signature line) with Hindi lyrics.

It was performed by women mainly, though now it is a male dominant space. The women, who used to perform it, gave it a private space and involved in erotic dances. While the ceremony was going on, no man was allowed to enter the space. Today, the genre has been reinvented and one has different variations in it with Chutney soca (a Trinidadian style music), Chutney parang (Trinidadian folk music performed at Christmas), Chutney gospel (ethics), etc.

a still from the Chutney soca dance
a still from the Chutney soca dance

The researcher has done a study of some chutney songs which here I would discuss. Down the ages, one has seen how women have been looked as a property by women. They are possessions and an entity of the private sphere. Thus a release from the longish submission is always impossible. However, this genre of Music, a dominant working of Trinidadian females, comes across as a crucial step towards self- development.

The Dance and Music performed in it, as Dr Kumar observes, gives them liberty to perform. This liberty is inclusive of a celebration of their body, which is unthinkable within the public space they are devoid of. Today, the performances have increased and found a great excursion of women in the public domain. In 1960’s, when the feminist movement was at its peak, this traditional genre broke out and opened up ways for these women artists. These artists were disdained in the initial years (Alice Jan and Champa Devi being the first of them), and were regarded as immoral.

In the later years, the dancing and singing was made much available to the women of Trinidad. The performances brought profitable amount for them. The lines between the private and the public sphere are now blurred and it is seen how the exposure is given to the women who stand aside with men. They perform, dance, sing and even register their own subjection before the audience. The songs are their verbal accounting of denial of submission and being restricted to a private space.

The research further moves giving details of the outreach of this genre. Not only literature, but media, social media and even renowned music accounts include celebrate their existence. Therefore, one sees how a minor feminine genre has achieved greater names in and about the world.

(Megha is a student at the University of Delhi. She is pursuing her masters and has done her studies in german language.) GMAIL- loveme2010.ms@gmail.com

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Women use Bizarre Ways to Look Slim

The real test of a diet is not just losing a few pounds quickly but taking small steps and making small changes to your lifestyle and diet that last for years and can make a big difference

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Women use Bizarre Ways to Look Slim
Women use Bizarre Ways to Look Slim. Pixabay

From stripping naked on the scales to drying wet hair, women go to extreme lengths to think themselves slim, said a latest research.

More than 80 percent of women find dieting stressful and nearly half of them said stress is the main reason for them to fail in a diet, reports femalefirst.co.uk.

The poll was conducted as part of the Small Steps campaign in partnership with English actress Nadia Sawalha. The campaign aims to take the stress out of dieting by providing advice the Small Steps people can take to reach their healthy diet and lifestyle goals.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“Our research has shown that some women are so stressed by dieting that they are resorting to a range of bewildering tactics to think themselves slim, from getting naked on the scales to drying wet hair,” said Hannah Vose, part of the research team.

Also Read: Men Healthier, Happier Than Women: Survey

“We know that going on a diet can be a challenge for many women and seeing results when stepping on the scales is an important part of the process. The real test of a diet is not just losing a few pounds quickly but taking small steps and making small changes to your lifestyle and diet that last for years and can make a big difference,” added Vose. (Bollywood Country)

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