Sunday, 1 February 2009

The condom chant

I was happy to read the following newsitem:
Condom ringtone launched in India (published at the end of this post)

As a development communicator, I find it is very difficult to get people to change their attitudes. How do you go about it? One way is to make the uncomfortable, the taboo subject or word part of everyday vacabulary, make it commonplace.
I was happy to see the condom and the parrot ad on TV. It is done with a sense of fun and I am so glad that they put the sari clad mami in.
When I started out in journalism, way back in the late Seventies, the chief reporter, (now they call the breed Metro Editor) threw a fit when I used the word 'rape' in a news report. He struck it out and wrote "outraged a woman's modesty". I objected. "The phrase in no way states what the word 'rape' does," I told him. He said, "Our's is a respectable paper, we do not use words like that!" Even in the late Seventies and early Eighties, Delhi saw a number of incidents of rape. and everytime I reported on a case I used the word 'rape'. He finally stopped crossing it out!

Sexual harassment was referred to as 'eve-teasing', a terrible expression that masks the enormity of the crime and the way a woman feels when she is sexually harassed. I am glad to see that the terrible phrases have been knocked off from our vocabulary and reportage. Let us say it the way it is. A condom is a part of adult life. Let us behave like adults. Now all I wait for is: A R Rehman to set music to a song on condoms in a Bollywood tamasha. That would proclaim our ultimate comfort level.

Condom ringtone launched in India
August 2008:A cellphone ringtone that chants "condom, condom!" has been launched in India to promote safe sex and tackle the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. The "condom a cappella" has been designed to break down Indians' reluctance to discuss condom use and to make wearing a condom more acceptable. Organisers of the campaign, funded by the foundation set up by Microsoft mogul Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, hope the ringtone will become a craze among young Indians. About 2.5 million people live with HIV in India, said the BBC World Service Trust, the charity behind the ringtone, which was released this month. It can be downloaded at "Ringtones have become such personal statements that a specially created condom ringtone seemed just the right way of combining a practical message with a fun approach," said Radharani Mitra, creative director of the BBC World Service Trust. "The idea is to tackle the inhibitions and taboos that can be associated with condoms." India is the world's fastest-growing mobile telephone market with 270 million users according to the latest official figures, up 57 percent in just one year. — AFP


Anonymous said...

Good one! jawaharlal nehru university has a condom vending machine. but you know what? girls do not want to be seen near it. and the boys visit it in the dead of the night. they do not want to be seen near it either. pilu

Sathish said...

yeah making popular ppl endorse the condom campaign will make it even more effective.....

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