An hour long social campaign- Pehchaan was initiated by students as a part of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi’s annual fest, Rendezvous. The students were seen standing next to three acid attack victims who were giving out free hugs to shoppers and passersby at Connaught Place.
The initiative was different in so many ways. Not only it was an entirely new concept but was also not publicised by the students on any social media platform. Himanshi Gautam, IIT students explained on how they had planned to see the reaction of the general public about this campaign by not promoting it beforehand on any social media platforms.
On talking to the acid attack victims, different things were found out. According to Ritu Saa, a 20-year-old victim from Rohtak many people came to hug them but no one can say what they had in their mind. They got mixed reactions from people and felt that the mindset of many people has not changed yet. Madhu Kashyap, a 35-year-old victim from Agra, added that this is the reason why she took part in the campaign along with these IIT students.
On talking with the passerby, their feelings and views about the same also came forward. One of them explained how she was seeing an acid attack victim for the first time in front of her as she has only seen them in newspapers and tv before. Other said that she felt proud to participate in the campaign and felt good on seeing the number of hugs rising from 530 to 618.
Another shopper added that she thinks that the acid attack victims are just regular girls and deserve to live a regular life with self-confidence.
The initiative received mixed reactions from people. This was seen when many people chose to change paths instead of coming across the acid attack victims and parents tried to prevent their children from seeing the victims.
IITian Saksham Gupta explained that they want to change this attitude of people towards the acid attack victims and that is why they set up this campaign.
One of the victim from Agra added that they did not mind travelling from Agra for the campaign as they want to spread awareness among the people regarding the acid attack cases in the country.
The campaign was a huge success with as the women returned as survivors instead of victims after giving out 690 hugs.