Published: 10th September 2018
Send a 'shut-it' tape: Meet the Kerala women who are saying #VaayaMoodal to PC George
The brains behind the #VayamoodalCampaign talk about why it is time for MLA PC George to shut up
Plaththottathil Chackochan George can't seem to stop running his mouth. Most recently, he accused a nun who is demanding justice after being allegedly raped by a bishop in Kottayam of being a prostitute. For anyone who has followed the news in the past few years, spotting the very name 'PC' in news headlines is synonymous with provocative and disgusting blabber. Some of these onlookers have decided that they cannot remain idle anymore. Time has come to shut PC George up.
Roughly four hours before this article was written, artist, activist and environmentalist, Aysha Mahmood published a post on Facebook officially launching the #VaayaMoodalCampaign (Shut the mouth). Inviting social media warriors to 'help him out by sending him masking or cello tapes to plaster his mouth', the post is attached with the picture of an envelope with his address and a picture of the MLA with red tape covering his mouth.
HATE MAIL: The campaign requests people to mail Cello Tapes to the residence of PC George
"He has been getting away with calling rape victims whores and prostitutes, degrading transgenders and threatening people openly," says Aysha. "He definitely has an issue with controlling his tongue. He needs help and this was the easiest way available considering that no other political or social leader, law or police was doing anything to keep him in check. I hope this gets the message across that we are disgusted about everything he says and we want him to please shut up."
Who are the other brains behind this explosive campaign? The group is made up of women from various backgrounds and professions. Aysha explains, "There are 8 of us in this Whatsapp group. Since yesterday, we have been discussing his insensitive comments. I commented that we should send him something to shut his mouth up. And Dhanya Rajendran from the NewsMinute who is also a member of the group suggested that we should get some Cello Tape to stick on his mouth! That led into a frenzy of excited discussion. We came up with around 5-6 hashtags and finalised on this one."
Another member, Athira R who leads Public Policy and Government Relations for an MNC says, "We are a crazy bunch of women. We started this group when actress Parvathy began to be cyberbullied for a very innocent remark she had made about a movie. So we got together to figure out how we could counter it. We have people from the media, the film industry and LGBTQ circles. It has just been a couple of hours since we launched the Vayamoodal Campaign and the support has been massive. People have been enquiring about what they can do if they are not able to courier the tapes to his residence, so we shared Amazon and Flipkart links with which you can gift him the tapes and add a note by using the Vayamoodal hashtag."
He definitely has an issue with controlling his tongue. He needs help and this was the easiest way available considering that no other political or social leader, law or police was doing anything to keep him in check. I hope this gets the message across that we are disgusted about everything he says and we want him to please shut up
Aysha Mahmood, Activist and Environmentalist
How do political figures like PC George get away with his behaviour? "It honestly beats me," says Athira. "Firstly, PC George is an independent MLA. He has no liability to any particular political party or ideology. Because he is no longer committed to a party, no one wants to take responsibility for his actions unless it somehow maligns their name or accountability. As long as he is doing it independently, they think that they can let it slip. It has become acceptable behaviour among our political class. So this is a fight for us, for ordinary people. We have to display our resistance loud and clear."
As far as these women are concerned, the simple fact that the MLA has gotten away with such behaviour for years is symptomatic of how we start getting used to things. "Our state of mind has become that there is no point in calling them out," points out Athira. "The most urgent need for us as free thinking people is to come out of that mindset. We need to tell these politicians that if you continue to act or speak like this, you will not be forgiven." She goes on to add that a gender sensitisation course should be mandatory for anyone who is about to take oath within politics.
"There is no point in yelling back or throwing sandals at him," says Athira. "It just continues to take us on a low and pointless path. These are seasoned politicians, they've seen much worse. We would not put it past him to stoop so low as to sell these duct tapes we are sending him for petty cash. Because that's all that matters to him anyway. But he needs to know that the women of this country really have a few things to say." As for the future? Let's all collectively think about it while I wrap up these tapes for the mail. PC George, I hope you have a pair of scissors ready.