Two years ago, The Times of India reinterpreted a 400-year-old tradition with the campaign #NoConditionsApply – Sindoor Khela. Conceptualised to promote gender equity, the campaign calls attention to the issue of inclusion of women in celebrations and combats the discrimination that they face in terms of their caste, creed, marital status, sexual orientation, etc. In its third year, the #NoConditionsApply – Sindoor Khela initiative aims to reach the corners of the nation and spread this message of inclusive celebration that celebrates the womanhood sans any discrimination based on ‘labels’ and societal barriers.
The campaign was conceptualised in 2017 and organised for one pandal in Kolkata. The Times of India along with the puja committee of Tridhara Sammilani, which is also one of the oldest puja pandals in Kolkata, organised the first-ever inclusive Sindoor Khela – which invited widows and transgenders to be a part of this grand celebration. It witnessed participation from over 100 pandals in 2018. This year, the campaign spreads its wings across the country and beyond, and #NoConditionsApply encourages readers to host an inclusive Sindoor Khela and celebrate along with all sisters irrespective of the labels society may have attached to them.
The campaign urges the patrons to bring a sister along to the celebration – sister being used metaphorically for any women they know of in their family, friend and neighbourhood, who have been shunned to be a part of the celebration. The campaign asks the patron to invite their lesbian sister, transgender sister, widowed sister, divorcee sister, single mother sister to the celebrations this year. The campaign extends an invitation to women to #BringASisterAlong this Pujo. The previous editions garnered 718 mn reach over the past two years. The latest edition aims to extend inclusion not just in Sindoor Khela but across all celebrations as part of the fabric of our tradition.
Sanjeev Bhargava, Director, Brand TOI, said, “The #NoConditionsApply – Sindoor Khela campaign is extremely special to all of us, owing to the change that it has fostered across various communities in India. While it is contextualised to a Bengali cultural event, the message of inclusive celebration and sisterhood resonates with everyone. We always left no stone unturned in spreading the message across various strata of society. Our success lies not in the awards this campaign garnered but in the fact that the initiative has grown from strength to strength and is rapidly becoming a symbol of inclusiveness. We are grateful for the overwhelming response from women across the country who shared their celebrations with us. The fact that it is back for the third time is testament to the widespread movement that the campaign is now. I thank everyone who has supported us in making the change happen.”
Speaking about the campaign, Swati Bhattacharya, Chief Creative Officer, FCB Ulka, said, “This piece of work has been a big emotional milestone for me personally. This bloodless coup of a campaign shows the world that joy, love, friendship and beauty can help break down walls. An inclusive Sindoor Khela shows us sisterhood is one of biggest ideas that can change the world.”
Puja Committees interested in being a part of the movement can reach out by dropping an email to firstname.lastname@example.org