Watch How Mumbai’s Youngest Gully Girl Raps Her Way Out of Poverty & Misogyny

Saniya Mistry writes and raps about her life in Mumbai's slums, gender inequality and the importance of education.

Now Rolling
2 min read

Living in the slums of Mumbai, under the burden of poverty, hasn't been easy for 16-year-old gully girl, Saniya Mistry. Since childhood, she observed that girls in her area had no freedom to "choose" the life they want, whether it was education or marriage. Spending on a daughter's education is considered a waste of money because her only goal (defined by her family and relatives, of course) would be to get married young, and her only "success" would be in domestic pursuits - to take care of her kids and be the submissive wife.

Saniya decided to challenge this inequality and misogyny with her words and be the voice of change. She began writing poetry when she was 9 and started rapping at the age of 14 on things that mattered to her the most.

"Wearing a chain or t-shirt won't make me a good rapper, or cussing won't make me a great rapper. My skills and what I say or do makes me a fine performer. I rap on everything I observe and write about issues that matter the most to me. I didn't choose rap to make money. The first rap I wrote was also on a social cause. When I wrote about Govandi slums, about what people here think, how things impact us. If things are changing for the better, that's a huge deal for me. I don't rap to make money, I rap to bring a change. I want to be a role model for people in my area and show them that we can do it all, no matter where we are from, or who we are - it doesn't matter what our skin colour is, or what our gender is."
Saniya Mistry, Rapper

Watch the video to find out more about Saniya and her journey.

Camera: Sanjoy Deb and Yashpal Singh

Camera Assistant: Gautam Sharma

Editor: Veeru Krishan Mohan

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Topics:  Gully Boy   Life in Mumbai 

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