Sen allegedly made the comments during the band’s concert on Saturday. While some students took them as humour, several others were offended. The matter escalated after a blog post by Arpita Phukan Biswas, a researcher in the field of caste and gender and a student of Humanities and Social Sciences department at IIT Bombay, went viral.
Biswas, who was at the concert, wrote in her blog: “His (Palash Sen’s) slew of sexist barrage began with seemingly the most pressing concern of IIT boys on campus — do boys have enough good-looking girls to look at and hit on? So he asked, ‘Are there good-looking girls in IIT-B?’ Men, both from and outside IIT-B, raised their hands in solidarity to signal no. So he asked again, ‘Are there good-looking girls in IIT-B?’ The hands were raised again... He went on adding: ‘Don’t worry guys, you will find the best looking women when you leave this campus. Aur woh tumhaare liye roti belengi (and they will make rotis for you). Women are for beauty, men are for intelligence. You have to agree that men are more intelligent than women, don’t you?’ The crowd went hysterical at this point.”
“It’s not just me who was offended by his (Palash Sen’s) comments, there were many girls and boys who did not like how he picked on women on the campus and made those misogynist comments, many of which I have not mentioned in my blog,” said Biswas.
Biswas took up the matter with the Mood Indigo team, who assured her that it was done in good humour. The organisers posted an apology on the official Facebook page, which states: “We strongly condemn the remarks of Palash Sen at the concert yesterday. We apologize on our part for the band’s remarks. The organizing committee is in the process of deciding further action in the matter.”
Biswas has requested the organisers not only to ban Euphoria from performing at IIT Bombay, but also add clauses in their contract asking performers to refrain from sexism or discriminatory publicity. She has also appealed to other educational institutes to refrain from inviting Euphoria.
“My seniors took up the matter with the band’s management and said those comments were unacceptable. Towards the end of the concert, Sen came on stage and said that his comments had offended some girls in the crowd and then he dedicated a song to all women.”
However, in a blog by another girl student of IIT-B, Palash was quoted as saying: “Some students took offence to what I said. I apologise for that. It was meant to be humour, after all, all my songs are based on women. And also, they said I was being sexist but I actually consider it to be sexy.”
A media coordinator from IIT-B said, “The comments made during the concert were in good humour. It did offend some students. The festival got over on Monday. We will now discuss the matter and decide the course.