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How Pink Underwear Becomes Potent Symbol of Protest

When women and men were beat up in a Mangalore pub for “violating traditional Indian values” some decried it as “Talibanisation of India.”  Thousands have seen the video.  Yet even the National Commission for Women there, also condemned “the loosening of moral standards amongst young women.”

To galvanize action against the right wing Hindu group that backs such incidents, journalist Nisha Susan involved bloggers to ask women to send their pink chaddi (Hindi for underwear)

to Shri Ram Sena the head of the political party that backed the continued suppression of women.  Soon, via Facebook, Twitter, Technorati and other social media tools the protest has grown, as Gaurav Mishra describes in this excellent roundup of coverage.  He writes, “As of now, it has more than 48,000 members and a vibrant community with more than 350 discussion topics and more than 6,750 wall posts.”  I hope Clay Shirky cites this story as he just got quoted in a McKinsey report on how companies can “make web 2.0 work” – meaning why they can’t ignore social media.

Reading Mishra’s coverage and clicking on the links he generously cites I can’t help but be inspired by the bravery, clarity and leveraging of clout reflected in this quickly-launched movement.  The instigators demonstrate that a properly focused action (send him your pink chaddi) can capture the attention of a nation, vividly prove the power and numbers of those who agree – and perhaps even “inspire” a shift in the political position of some elected officials.  

Categories: behavior, Collective Clout, Conflict and tagged , , , , , , .
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