If you ever happen to google the name Sakshi Chopra, the only two references you are gonna get are the word ‘Topless’ and the name ‘Ramanand Sagar’.
Indian tabloids have a habit of obsessing over patriarchial lineage and the female body. Once you’ve revealed that you are related to one of the most iconic men who ruled Indian television at one point, you shall forever be HIS relative! And dare you flaunt your body after that, be prepared for all hell to break lose because well, we’re Indians and nothing sells more than Patriarchy defying sexuality of a woman.
Ramanand Sagar created the legendary OG Ramayan for Indian television, a show that united families and the country under an ideology of the wholesome religion that is Hinduism : a religion that is often popularly, though mistakenly synonymous with modesty (specific to women ofcourse!). Sagar’s great grand daughter Sakshi however has what the neighbourhood aunty & uncles call a ‘modern’ outlook in which modesty is a preference and not the only way of living for an Indian woman. Sakshi herself says “I’ve seen the Ramayan, but it’s not my cup of tea. I have very different beliefs but I do respect his (her great grand father’s).”
“A girl who loves to sing, write, talk about the universe, play with my dogs & most importantly, have a good time.” says Sakshi about herself. She is bold, smart, and unapologetic about it. One look at her Insta profile is going to materialise all our words in a glance for you in case you have any doubts.
She is like us, yet somehow has been managed to reduced to a Topless millennial who apparently (as per Indian tabloids) is a stark contrast to the image of her great grand father. The thing is that the expectations of our society from us as girls are as important in this country as our own family’s expectations. The concept of individualism especially for women is not supposed to kick in for the societal spectators unless you are hitting a midlife crisis in your late 50s, because old age in this country seems to be an honorary doctorate (Hi Ageism!). If you wanna argue about how things are changing, don’t waste your time because we agree to that as well, but the fact of the matter remains that majorly young single women still struggle to be taken seriously and accepted for who they are, more so if they decided to rebel the Indian standards of modesty.
I think every woman is badass.
Some realise it sooner while others later.
She confesses how her own family took a while to come around to her personality : a personality that comes with a heavy dose of the zero fucks attitude and a healthy portion of her lingerie clad Kardashian-ly body. Her idea of putting up those images of herself on her own terms is a display of body positivity and tonnes of confidence of course. She thinks that “you can choose to see art, self expression, freedom, body confidence or well, always sex” when you are seeing her or any other female’s semi nude images. If someone decides to interpret nudity as anything remotely sexual it’s honestly a clear indicator of how narrow minded (and under-laid) that human is and is never going to define the subject of the image. Unfortunately though, nudity is considered sexual almost instantly and that is a tragedy for a nation that descends from ancestors who were comfortable with nudity and not only open, but often even encouraging about sexuality, it’s a painful state of current ‘modest’ affairs.
Modest or immodest, a woman's identity remains her own choice. Both are empowering but neither should be a reason for stereotyping (aka slut shaming or good-girl shaming) a woman's image. Naked or clothed, modest or immodest, we are all Badass!