The Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Panel in Lamakhaan, Hyderabad, was one of the
most unique discussions I have ever witnessed. As the crowd assembled in a multitude of rows,
two hosts called a panel. Since the workplace in question was aimed at the Telugu film industry,
panelists were, of course, those whose work was closely integrated within it. They were: firstly,
renowned actress, Sri Reddy. Secondly, Gogu Shyamala, a senior research fellow in Anvenshi
Women Research Centre, a writer activist. Thirdly, Apoorva. Beside the panelists were judges,
called from within the audience. Vyajanthi Mogli, a transgender activist; Susie Tharu, a retired
professor at IFIU; Aaditya, who works in software and finally, Sujata Surapally, a professor.
This conference was unlike any other- for starters, it revolved around the word, ‘Bullshit’. The concept was that one of the two hosts would recite a quote of someone famous, or simply a misogynistic phrase that we hear all too often. The panelists would thereby give their thoughts in
correlation to this excerpt, and/or their experiences. The judges would, of course, judge away. They would then proceed to rate this recitation on a scale of one to ten- of bullshit. One being the lowest amount of bullshit, and ten the highest. Of course, each rating had a justified
reasoning behind it. However, it wasn’t the ‘Bullshit’ that made this conference unforgettable, although the 300+
times it was shouted did make it pretty memorable. It was the constant interaction between the judges and the audience. Whilst most panels tend to have minimal discussions within the crowd, but this one in particular emboldened it. Microphones were bustled and shifted about, each member of the audience having something to add, something to exclaim over.
From teenagers to elderly men, there was not one soul who didn’t express their opinion, their story or their support. Tackling numerous aspects of sexual harassment- from ways it can occur to how to
take action against it- this panel was not just educational, but also a platform to raise questions, alleviate concerns, and share stories.