April 20, 2019

Feminism Might Be In Vogue But What Happened Recently Will Blow You Away!

dimple Kaul

Yes, the headline is a clickbait! Like everything else in the public domain these days. People and  events are both reduced to the frenzy of a News Cycle where everyone wants to know everything NOW! Opinions fly around in a hurry without pausing for facts.  As soon as something happens, everyone starts crying hoarse and acting as the judge, jury and executioner. By the time Truth somehow  claws its way out of the debris of peddled lies and ulterior narratives, it doesn’t merit a passing glance!

I am an Indian and we largely believe that reporting news is the sole prerogative of the fourth estate. However, as the news they make up (and no longer report) is about my country, I am a stakeholder here! Of late, it seems that if you are from the majority community, especially from (what is referred to as) the upper castes, you somehow lose all rights and liberties. You can be abused, vilified, physically harmed, with not a squeak from the Media or powers that be. Hence, for the demographics-hungry-narrative-serving folks, I am a woman from a minority community that strangely does not qualify to be a minority in the grand Idea of India! This clarification is given in the simple belief that being a partial minority, my observation might get in edgeways in the cacophony of noise all around. I live in a country where a privileged, self-declared  ‘elite’ section of the society proclaims its own concocted version of ,what ideally are, well-established principles such as, feminism, secularism, liberalism, equality, minority rights and animal rights, among others.

This post is restricted to the selective feminism that has been on display in the last few days. Before you dismiss my views, let me reiterate that in addition to hailing from the minority community, I have experienced religious persecution and as such don’t have to descend on ground zero from air conditioned studios to get an inkling of the real world. My life started from ground zero.Having set the context, let’s look at the specific trigger that compelled me to pen this piece.

BJP vice-president Dayashankar Singh, in a vulgar display of crass behavior, used an utterly despicable term to describe Behan Mayawatiji of the BSP, while alleging that she was selling tickets to contest polls. I have no information on whether or not the allegation is true. What I know for a fact is that bad words were used which is utterly condemnable and thus the perpetrator deserved to be penalised. Surprisingly and contrary to what one Pune socialite proclaimed on Twitter, he was! Not only was he removed from the party post, he was also expelled for six years within hours of the incident. An FIR has also been filed against him by a BSP  leader on expected lines.

Behanji is enraged and rightly so. One could see people across political affiliations standing up for her and condemning the episode and the perpetrator. Dayashankar Singh apologised for the misdemeanour and with that the episode should, ideally, have come to an end with Behanji using it to paint BJP as a party that disrespected women! People would have actually taken it as a matter of fact. But for the surreal unveiling of the next sequence of events! A Punjab BSP leader Jannat Jahan-Ul-Haq offered Rs 50 lakh to anyone who would bring Dayashankar Singh’s tongue. It evoked no condemnation from anyone. Yes, we know about one Kamlesh Tiwari still languishing in jail with a bounty on his head. But this reward on someone’s tongue ought to have set some tongues wagging or heads nodding disapprovingly, right? But that was not to be. In the meantime, we got to know that the period between June 1995 to July 2016 which corresponded with BJP ’s descent from a protector to a tormentor for Behan Mayawatiji’s,  had in fact initiated her ascent from Behanji to a Devi for the lower castes. Devi or not, Behanji’s drive and ambition are an inspiration to all those women who have had the odds stacked against them (which in India includes almost every woman)! Becoming the Chief Minister of India’s most populous state, thrice, is no mean feat. So it was alright if the politician in her thought of capitalising on this Godsend opportunity and use a brick of abuse to step over a political puddle.

But then the plot took an ugly turn when hordes of BSP workers/supporters came out asking for the female members of DayaShankar Singh’s family to be brought to the fore. Why would a dedicated cadre hailing its leader and rising up against someone who’d disrespected her, use such abhorrent language for anyone else? It perplexes me! That it was directed at a 12 years old child, is even more shocking. How could such a powerful Devi, who (in the past) has asked  the electorate to fling slippers at Tilak, Tarazu aur Talwar ,allow her followers to stoop so low?

Did she not, as a woman,feel the pinch of subjecting other women and a child to such an experience? The crude comment directed at Behanji was also about an allegation of corruption.  Did she not feel like clarifying that slur on her integrity? While the media kept focusing on the delivery of the message, nobody seemed to be bothered about the content, per se! One wonders why? Why did Daya Shankar Singh’s wife Swati Singh have to literally seek media to focus on the trauma caused to their family? How is it that the upholders of gender equality and proponents for a civil discourse developed sudden amnesia when it came to Swati and her family? And where was BJP at that time? It is only when they saw the woman battling it out on the merit of her own argument, did the tiny murmurs turn into some amount of support for the lady.

Which brings me back to where I started from. Feminism, just like other such isms in India, seems to be important only if there is political mileage or benefit to be had. Otherwise, the ‘stories’ get overlooked or plain buried. So the next time you see folks from the elite crowd tying themselves in knots as feminists par excellence, know that the buck certainly doesn’t stop there with them…..

About the Author

Dimple Kaul is an active denizen of the online world.She considers herself to be a citizen of the free world and believes in living and letting live. She does not have a preferred form or style of writing and uses poetry and/or prose based on what she wants to communicate.Some of her work is available ondimplehere.com. Her Twitter handle is dimple_kaul where her interest in the ‘right‘ kind of Politics and unabashed love for her nation is clearly visible. You can also connect with her at https://www.facebook.com/dimpleherelive.

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Picture Courtesy: http://www.DNAindia.com/

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