Singapore-based artist refused hotel room in Hyderabad as she was 'single lady'

Spoken word artist Nupur Saraswat was refused a hotel room in Hyderabad as she was travelling alone.
Spoken word artist Nupur Saraswat was refused a hotel room in Hyderabad as she was travelling alone. PHOTO: NUPUR SARASWAT/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - A Singapore-based artist was refused a hotel room in the south Indian city of Hyderabad last Saturday (June 24) as she was a "single lady", sparking an online debate over hotel policies in the country.

Ms Nupur Saraswat, who lives in Singapore, said in a viral Facebook post that the Hotel Deccan Erragadda claimed the area it is in is "not the right place" for single women.

It also turns away locals and unmarried couples.

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Saraswat, a spoken word artist, said she was in the city for a performance, and had travelled extensively across India and to several other countries but had never faced such discrimination before.

Spoken word is a word-based performance art that focuses on the aesthetics of word play, intonation and voice inflection. 

"Yup, massive bag in hand, gross from the journey - just standing outside the hotel. Somehow they decided I was safer on the streets than in the hotel," she wrote.

"Funny huh, how patriarchy works?"

Goibibo, the third-party website through which Ms Saraswat booked her hotel room, has since apologised for the incident and offered her complimentary stay in a different hotel.

 

In a blog post on Sunday, the company said it takes such issues very seriously and had delisted Hotel Deccan Erragadda from its platform, pending an investigation.

"We are taking up with local authorities/police and hotel management for the rationale behind such policies," it added.

In response to the controversy, Hotel Deccan Erragadda told Goibibo that it is not against single women staying at the hotel, but that it is not in the right place for them to stay in.

In response to critics who pointed out that the hotel's policy was clearly stated and that her organiser had not checked before booking the room, Ms Saraswat said in a subsequent Facebook post that the policy itself was not acceptable.

"Well I am making a fuss because I am not ready to settle. I am not ready to live in the fear of my safety anymore. I am not ready to have an entire system push me around until I "find a man to travel with," she said.

"I AM NOT READY TO BE CHAPERONED."