India’s first Diversity Calendar shatters the preconceived notions of beauty
January-2022: Rishab Dahiya, a celebrity photographer and filmmaker, launches India’s first diversity calendar titled Oddity 2022 featuring people from marginalised castes, classes, genders including trans-queer persons and people with disabilities. Rishab Dahiya’s Calendar Oddity 2022 challenges and aims to change the narrative of ‘beautiful’ in mainstream media in India. Oddity 2022 is the first Calendar in India to emphasise the necessity to celebrate diversity in everyday life and questions the limitations of ‘beauty’ to a certain body type, skin colour, caste, class or gender.
Calendar Film Link– https://www.youtube.com/watch?
The short snippet includes people who have graced the calendar and have expressed their interpretations of ‘beauty’ and their journey of self-acceptance. The calendar talks about obliterating the much trumpeted and harped on beauty standards of the society ingrained from their casteist, classist, euro-centric, homophobic, transphobic, and fat-phobic representation of beauty in media. Oddity 2022 is an ode to one’s beauty and how one defines beauty for themselves and people around them. Not abiding by societally preached barbaric and lamentable notions, the calendar is a real representation of people across various sections of society and celebrates what is usually considered ‘Odd’. Rishab Dahiya’s Calendar Oddity 2022 aims to spread across a strong and incredible message of diversity, inclusivity, and representation which is an essential message for India, today. The message is simple: beauty is inclusive, beauty is diverse.
Commenting on the calendar Photographer Mr. Rishab Dahiya said– “Beauty is not limited to certain skin colour, body type, gender, sexuality, a certain class, caste, or religion. Beauty is beyond that. It is more than what our eyes see and cannot be put in a box. Beauty is vast because everyone under this blue sky is beautiful. Oddity 2022 is an attempt to emphasise that.
The process of creating the calendar was heartwarming and challenging at the same time. I was able to bring people from diverse backgrounds together, Kamna who works as an Assistant Professor at DU, Divya Sabhapathi who is a Biker and Risk Consultant, Ram Singh Guru who is a Researcher and disability rights activist, and more. I knew most of them from social media and it was on the day of the shoot that we actually met for the first time.”
Further adding, one of the models Snehashish Ph.D. Scholar at JNU said- “Those who have been historically forced to be at the margins of beauty are the only ones who can, and shall, annihilate the idea of beauty – and its dichotomous relationship with ugliness.”
Another model, Kamna the assistant professor at the University of Delhi also said– “I believe beauty is something that transcends time and space. It is vulnerability, kindness, empathy, and everything that makes us human is beauty.”
About Oddity 2022 Calendar-
Oddity 2022 features people who do not fit into the “normal” idea of beauty which has been perceived and propagated through ages, people who are labeled “Odd”. It includes people who often are either not given any representation or given ‘token’ representation because they do not match the casteist, classist, Euro-centric, homophobic, fat-phobic standards of society. The first step towards debunking such ideas and standards is to celebrate the rich diversity and promote acceptance and inclusivity through real representation. This calendar is an endeavour that through the exposure of the “Odd”, people will learn to communicate and interact with communities, concepts, and belief systems that they are unfamiliar with and therefore gain a more worldly, balanced, and informed perspective. Not only will that enhance social development but also increase a truer understanding of the world.