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I dream that one day ShhorAI will help make the internet more safe and inclusive for marginalized people and pave the way for better intersectional advocacy.

Queerspeak 1.0

I am Aindriya Barua, an individual who identifies as Adivasi, non-binary, pansexual, demisexual, and neurodivergent from rural Tripura, my journey through the realms of artificial intelligence and art has culminated in the establishment of ShhorAI—a UN-recognized tech-for-good initiative committed to combating the pervasive issue of online hate speech.

The genesis of ShhorAI can be traced back to the relentless attacks and hate campaigns I encountered while fervently advocating for marginalized communities on the internet. These challenges, coupled with the personal struggles associated with my neurodivergence and the pervasive othering based on my caste, race, and gender identity, served as the impetus for channeling my frustrations into the expressive medium of art. My Instagram page, aptly named @huesonmycanvas, became more than just a virtual gallery; it evolved into a platform where I not only shared my personal struggles but also shed light on broader societal issues demanding attention.

Navigating through my engineering college years in Kerala, my increasing vocalization on socio-political issues coincided with the heightening discrimination I faced in various pursuits. The online hate speech I and my fellow oppressed artists and activists faced deeply affected my mental health. However, rather than succumbing to the negativity, I chose to transform it into a catalyst for positive change. This is when ShhorAI came into being. ShhorAI is a groundbreaking tool meticulously designed to combat online hate speech, with a specific emphasis on Indian languages and their hybrid variations, starting with Hinglish. ShhorAI emerged as a formidable shield against the toxicity that has unfortunately become synonymous with our online spaces.

The arduous task of constructing a dataset on Hinglish hate speech was one I could not undertake alone. Fortunately, a community of remarkable individuals, much like yourself, from diverse backgrounds, volunteered their time and effort to tag thousands of comments, breathing life into the intricate architecture of the AI model. ShhorAI goes beyond conventional hate speech detection, exhibiting a multi-faceted nature by identifying hate in code-mixed forms, transcending the boundaries of text to analyze images and videos, and offering comprehensive support for victims.

ShhorAI is not merely a project; it embodies a movement that garnered recognition at an international hackathon conducted by the United Nations Population Fund (UN-FPA), for combating technology-facilitated gender violence, securing the prestigious second runners-up position. Praises poured in from distinguished figures such as Andrea Wojnar, Representative for UN-FPA, India, the Country Director for Bhutan, Judith Ravin, and Virsa Perkins. Media coverage in renowned publications such as Times of India, Analytics India Mag, PTI, and ANI News further validated the profound impact of ShhorAI.

The journey, however, has not been without its challenges. A shift from a lucrative position as an AI engineer at a startup in Bangalore to devoting all my focus and energy to ShhorAI marked a pivotal moment. It has now been 1.5 years since I commenced bootstrapping this initiative, navigating the intricate landscape without the safety net of any financial backing. While passion serves as the driving force, sustainability necessitates support. Hence, I am actively seeking grants and crowdfunding to ensure that ShhorAI's transformative journey encounters no roadblocks. I dream that one day ShhorAI will help make the internet more safe and inclusive for marginalized people and pave the way for better intersectional advocacy.

This interview serves not as a conclusive endpoint but as a connection point. My fervent hope is that by sharing my story, resonances may be found, comfort derived, and guidance gleaned by those navigating similar struggles.

May the resistance persist through our shared narratives, our expressive art, and our relentless work. Let our collective counter-narrative grow stronger, fostering positive change, empathy, understanding, and unity. I am documenting my work on ShhorAI through art and storytelling at

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