Standup comedy in India is not a particularly female-friendly field. Opportunities have long been dominated by boys’ clubs, and the extent of the rot in the system became clear as the MeToo movement unfolded across India.
But the hostility to women is apparent in more subtle ways too, such as through language—swear words in particular. Standup in India is frequently peppered with the north Indian gaalis that are directed at women, such as behenchod and madarchod. Comedian Nishant Tanwar’s Amazon special is actually called Dilli Se Hoon, BC.
So it was with some delight that we sat through a bit in Anirban Dasgupta’s Amazon Prime Video special Take It Easy, in which he introduced his audience to Kolkata’s favourite cussword: bokachoda.
Punctuating his bit with his trademark machine-gun chuckle, Dasgupta proceeds to explain what the word bokachoda means.
And then, in the kicker, Dasgupta explains why it is a much better cussword than other ones, which are far better known.
It’s a simple, hilarious bit, but it makes a fantastic point. Despite the advances in the feminist movement, gendered cusswords continue to be the most popular ones in India.
Enough, we say. In this at least, Kolkata has show the way.
From now on, everyone who deserves to be sworn at should be called a bokachoda. After all, as Dasgupta says…