The pictures shared by Indian Railways to show appreciation for female porters seems to have fallen flat on their face after politicians, activists, and journalist slammed the railway for “celebrating the exploitation of women”.
The tweet aimed to promote an initiative by the Ministry of Railways, showed women porters carrying luggage and drawing loaded carts with a caption "lady coolies" who have "proved that they are second to none".
Former UN Diplomat and current parliamentarian Shashi Tharoor along with senior Indian columnist-activist Dilip C. Mandal slammed the government for boasting about the exploitation of women rather than installing trolleys and ramps at all platforms.
This is a disgrace. But instead of being ashamed of this primitive practice, our @RailMinIndia is proudly boasting of this exploitation of poor women to carry heavy head loads?! https://t.co/qPvqjBfarw— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) March 4, 2020
Mandal tweeted in Hindi, saying that the government is rubbing salt on the wounds of the unemployed people rather than providing regular jobs.March 4, 2020
If this is called women empowerment then you guys should be ashamed that daughters, sisters and mothers of India have to do this to fill their stomach. Ask your senior officials to employ their mothers, sisters and daughters to do this work. https://t.co/97K8C1M3dp— bilal motorwala (@bilal_motorwala) March 4, 2020
This is an indication of the lack of jobs, unemployment and poverty. Human labour - men or women is not empowering. https://t.co/YxmltrRaaX— Faye DSouza (@fayedsouza) March 4, 2020
This photo is utterly disgraceful! In 2020, how can Indian railway continue with this type of primitive inhuman practice? Can’t they provide trolleys to carry luggages?really shameful! https://t.co/g4fcfDmHam— Rana Mitra (@RanaMitra15) March 4, 2020
Amid heavy criticism, the post found appreciation from Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan who called them “Coolie No.1”. But apparently it seemed to be a promotional exercise for his upcoming 2020 film titled “Coolie No. 1”.