Mr Neta, use brain before mouth when discussing women

Indian politicians seem to have all the answers to prevent crimes against women: ban a bit, bar a bit to beat the bait


Shivangi Narayan | January 4, 2013

After a common New Delhi woman — yes, a common New Delhi woman — who just wanted to watch a movie with her friend on a Sunday evening was raped and brutally assaulted by six men in a bus, a lot has been said, primarily by politicians, about the poor, the slum dwellers, and the migrants to the big cities. And their combined retrograde attitude toward women.

The netas explained that it is ‘them-who-live-in-those-slums’, who regularly batter their wives, who are behind the rising cases of rapes in urban centres. It’s an easy logic, because the enemy is the ‘outsider’: easily identifiable, and just as easily put away. What these theorists forget is that the enemy could, at times, be closer home.

Some politicos, though, have turned even this ‘logic’ on its head, blaming the potential victim for encouraging the potential criminal. We look at the 10 best comments, advises and suggestions the netas have made since the December 16 gangrape and murderous assault in Delhi.

1. On Friday, Madhya Pradesh industry minister Kailash Vijayvargiya came out with the best advice for women so far. Evoking Ramayana, the eminent minister said, “Ek hi shabd hai — maryada. Maryada ka ullanghan hota hai, toh Sita-haran ho jata hai. Laxman-rekha har vyakti ki khichi gayi hai. Us Laxman-rekha ko koi bhi par karega toh Ravan samne baitha hai, woh Sita-haran karke le jayega. (One has to abide by certain moral limits, or Laxman rekha. If one crosses that line, one will be punished — like Sita was abducted by Ravan).”

2. For RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, a woman forced to have sex without her consent is not a phenomenon that occurred in traditional India. “Rapes,” said the ideologue, “happen in India, not Bharat.” He forgot that the bharatiya word for rape, I guess. Mr Bhagwat, it starts with a ‘b’ and ends with ‘kaar’; and we wouldn’t have had the word if rape was a Chinese concept in traditional India.

3. Haryana Congress spokesperson Dharambir Goyat respects women except for one teeny-weeny thing: he believes it is her fault when she gets raped. “I don't feel any hesitation in saying that 90 per cent of the girls want to have sex intentionally but they don't know that they would be gangraped further, as they find some lusty and pervasive people in the way ahead.”

Sorry to spoil your idea of an ‘ideal Indian woman’, Mr Goyat, but 100 percent of them want to have sex — but when it is of their own choice.

4. Union coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal feels women are commodities that lose their value as they grow old. He said, “Jaise jaise samay beet-ta hai patni purani hoti jati hai, woh maja nahi reh jata hai." Was the good minister implying that this is when men need to venture out and force themselves on the women?

5. If that is the danger, the solution came from Andhra Pradesh’s Congress party president Botsa Satyanarayana, who warned women against venturing out after dark. His advice? “Just because India achieved freedom at midnight does not mean women can venture out after dark.”

6. BJP MLA Banwari Lal Singhal also has an advice: “Ban skirts as school uniform to reduce harassment of girl students.”

7. Not to be left behind on the solution front, BSP leader Rajpal Saini says, “There is no need to give phones to women and children. It distracts them and is useless. Why do women need phones? My mother, wife and sister never had mobile phones. They survived without one."

8. Earlier, Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam had called TV actor-turned-politician Smriti Irani of the BJP a “naachne-wali” (one who dances for money). "Kal tak paiso ke liye TV par thumke lagati thi. Aaj chunavi vishleshak ban gayi!” (She danced for money on TV till the other day and has now become a poll analyst on TV!)” the Mumbai politico said. Obviously, Mr Nirupam has forgotten his own ‘BiggBoss’ days.

9. CPI(M) leader Anil Basu (now expelled) had a curious poser for West Bengal CM Mamata Bannerjee: “From which bhatar (Bengali slang for a prostitute's client) did she get Rs 24 crore to fund the Trinamool Congress's poll expenses?” Of course, the eminent neta knew that whenever a woman needs Rs 24 crore for election campaigns, she will go to a pimp. No questions asked.

10. President Pranab Mukherjee’s son and an MP from Bengal, Abhijit Mukherjee, meanwhile, thinks women can either be Mother India or Miss India. “Those who claim to be students — I can see many beautiful women among them — highly dented-painted (sic)... They're giving interviews on TV; they have brought their children to show them the scenes,” he had said at the height of the youth movement against rape and sexual violence in Delhi. (Read our earlier column here).

# Just as an aside, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi had a peculiar question about Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar: “Have you ever heard of a Rs 50-crore girlfriend?” Eh, care to elaborate more, Mr Modi?



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