2. What are you going to do with the words I submit through your webform?
We'll #spreadtheword, literally! We will convert the words into creatives and post them on our social media channels so that they reach more people and more people can learn from you how to communicate their frustration without being crass :)
3. Do I have to come up with new words?
Not really! You can just think back to the words you already know in your language. Most Indian languages already have words of discontent and frustration that are not casteist, communal, or gender-biased slurs. Think "pare hatt" in Punjabi instead of "Bencho".
But if The Gaali Project gets your creative juices flowing, feel free to invent your own words and phrases too!
4. What is The Gaali Project?
It is a crowdsourcing project to create and scale a collection of words that help Indians express frustration without losing grace. Think “grace under fire”. It is a revolution, a new crowdsourced vocabulary, an attempt to reform how Indians express frustration, engage in political, social, domestic debates. By learning from each other.
5. How did you come up The Gaali Project?
Slangs with misogynistic roots have always bothered us. Why are women and minorities always the target even when two men are arguing? We are at a stage in evolution when we should even be rethinking our terms of endearment that body shame – like mota, chhotu etc. But here we are, still arguing whether it’s alright to abuse mothers, sisters, and other women and minorities!
Consider the case of shows on streaming platform and stand-up comedy. Great stories that should be told now have a platform and it’s amazing! Stand-up comedians are making us uncomfortable and forcing us to talk about the things we usually don’t think about. But what is strange is that much of this progressive work and ideas are coming forth in misogynistic, hateful languages. Swear words seem to have become a short cut to viewers’ attention and it seems creators are not thinking about the long term implications of the words they allow in their creations.
Let's give you the example of Pankaj Tripathi. We watch everything, every interview, every FB post, every single movie that he is part of. But his magnum opus that’s coming soon is such a put off, thanks to the deeply misogynistic language in some parts.
The anonymity on social media also gives free way for women to be abused with the choices slangs and rape threats. People are using caste- and religion-based abuses far more than before. The same disagreements can be expressed in better words.
What is ironical is that every Indian language has words and phrases of discontent that are free of gender bias or bias against any minority. Why have we forgotten all about them? So we decided that The Gaali Project will attempt do that job. We want to bring back those words of discontent into regular, mainstream language and replace the misogynistic, hateful ones. It’s an ambitious project but we wouldn’t have known till we tried!
6. But why gaalis?
Well, Indians are usually an expressive bunch of people. Does evolution, sophistication mean that a larger section of desis need to give up their human reactions to triggers? That kind of repression can’t be a good thing. So should we allow ourselves to carry on as usual? Also a no. We find middle ground. What we need instead is a whole new vocabulary to express frustration that allows us to react to situations, incompetence, stupidity, difference of opinion etc, without feeding our inherent sexist, patriarchal, misogynistic, casteist, classist, communal conditioning.
Nikaalo your bhadaas, lekin tehzeeb se. Gaali, magar pyaar se!