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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Uprooting the macho arrogance

Now that you are about to start reading this column, I believe you know all the details in connection to the Sanjay Nirupam-Smriti Irani controversy that erupted late last year. Whatever Nirupam remarked about Irani during a TV show may not be worthy of being repeated but this write-up demands the repetition, so allow me the opportunity. And no I’m not willing to translate and present the sterile English language version of what he said during a debate on Gujarat election results. Let’s see the translated version of the actual words he spoke with a view to dismiss Irani as the one who ‘kal tak toh paise ke liye TV pe thumke lagati thi’ (till yesterday, she used to dance on TV for money).

The undertone was quite clear together with the kind of image Nirupam was trying to call upon – that of a girl who dances for the amusement of men and is paid money in return. To be more precise, the Congressman was trying to say that ‘she (Irani) shall know her place. How could such a woman expect to be taken seriously in a discussion about electoral politics?

It won’t be wrong to say that the India of women is an equally utopian concept now as the women of India. The two just doesn’t co-exist – neither there is Indian women (not allowed to experience a sense of belonging) nor is there an India that a woman can call her own (however anyone denies it’s a man’s world).

Even after days have passed after the demise of young Indian brave heart, we are still grappling with the sorrow of losing a life that was about to blossom until it suffered malice at the hands of few men. This controversy in the amphitheatre of politics deserves an equal attention and bashing.

Even after six decades of Independence, the representation of women in Indian politics does not present an impressive picture. Majorly every political party especially at the time of elections promises to ensure equal, leave alone more participation of women in the political arena, sadly enough the records tell a different story and so is the way women are treated in this land of Goddess Durga.

Ironically, there prevails a sense that gives the Indian women to call this land of five rivers (all carrying female names and are worshipped) their very own. The premise echoes that even if you are a woman who has broken the glass ceiling and have achieved much fame (Member of Parliament in this case); you’ll be demeaned, dismissed, and belittled. This act of disgracing a Parliamentarian on public platform shows just how deeply-rooted sexism is in our society.

Yes this is what I believe as a woman in India, I can call my own – being attacked by sexual innuendos something I’m entitled to by the virtue of my gender. And no I ain’t a feminist; this is how our social conditioning is. Leave alone Smriti Irani, now you understand the plight of millions of women out on streets, no?

It is no surprise that misogyny is a favourite Indian child as it starts in a family. A family system where a mother is often blamed if her child (after growing up) takes the role of ‘angry young man’ too seriously, a daughter is a kind of burden who is traded for dowry, and a wife is expected to treat her husband as pati parmeshwar while her husband treats her as a piece of property.

Now let’s see how effortlessly misogyny wears the veil to an extent of celebrity hood when it ventures out of the house into the streets i.e. in public domain. We witnessed mass protests in the wake of brutal gang-rape in Delhi in the last fortnight, but something in crowd was amiss. While they were demanding death penalty for the culprits, even the genuine of ‘protestors’ including women displayed misogyny at its best.

Holding placards in one hand, “Kya Manmohan ne choodiyan pehen rakhi hai?” they shouted the slogans and showed bangles to the cops. Is this how we endeavour to seek gender equality/justice in a country where the protestors naively shows their dissent without taking into account the origin of the mode of their reactions? 

Ask yourself how far this will take us when the protestors are not even making an effort to surpass the very patriarchal dialect that qualifies a woman as a weaker human being often being reduced to the level of an object of desire and mockery. It is this macho arrogance that we need to ridicule each time a woman however, influential or a commoner is demeaned and disgraced. For only then, we can say I am proud of my country.


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