Indian politicians and their utterances against women – when will they learn ..

In the recent past, there has been a lot of media criticism of some of the utterances made by politicians (some of whom were prominent, and some of whom were less prominent), making dismissive points about women, or about the work that women do, and so and so forth. In some cases, the mention was taken in a way that tried to straight-jacket women into traditional roles. Given the horrible public image of politicians, any such mention gets them immediate media attention, and in many cases has led to their having to lose their jobs, and yet it does not end. Is this something that is wide-spread now ? Well, it would seem so if you see the various cases that have happened;
– In Uttar Pradesh, you really do not expect much from politicians, but this minister (or should I say ex-minister) takes the cake. Earlier, when praising the District Magistrate in one of the districts in Uttar Pradesh, rather than talk about work done or initiatives, he went on to praise her figure, and that of the officer before her. However, this did not land him in deep obvious trouble although there was some criticism. Undaunted, he got into hot water and had to resign just a few days back after he wanted construction of roads that were like the cheeks of Madhuri Dixit and Hema Malini (link to article)

During his visit to Pratapgarh yesterday, Pandey had allegedly said roads would be constructed like the cheeks of actresses Hema Malini and Madhuri Dixit. The minister’s statement evoked sharp criticism from political parties and social organisations. “Such a statement is unwarranted from a person occupying an important and responsible post of a minister,” BJP’s chief spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said.

– Even such a high-profile personality such as Narendra Modi in a recent speech talked a lot about the policies of his Government regarding development and the effort given to women; but the entire discussion was focused towards the traditional role of women and their prime role as the anchor of the family. Now, while this is important, women are doing a lot more in today’s world, making businesses successful, heading large companies and building careers for themselves. One really did not see that also getting enough focus in the speech, even though he did make one mention of a successful pizza business built by a lady entrepreneur in Gujarat.
– During the agitation against the gang-rape that happened in Delhi, you had numerous politicians make terrible statements (one would have thought that if they did not know what to say, would have better for them to keep their mouth shut). So, the son of the President, who is himself a Congress MP made highly dismissive comments against the ladies in the agitation and tried to keep justifying those remarks for some time even when his own sister criticized such remarks.
– Now, another minister has had to resign for making such remarks. In Madhya Pradesh, a minister in charge of tribal affairs was forced to step down after criticism, caused when he was giving a speech to tribal girl students. This speech was widely criticized, and given that there was no way to retract, he finally gave in his resignation to the Chief Minister (link to article):

Caught in a dispute over a controversial speech, Madhya Pradesh minister for tribal affairs Vijay Shah tendered his resignation to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Vijay Shah, while addressing a summer camp of tribal girl students in Jhabua district on Sunday, had allegedly used sexual innuendos against some BJP women leaders including chief minister’s wife Sadhna Singh.
As the state Congress took to the streets burning the minister’s effigies to protest against his disrespectful speech against women, the state BJP summoned Shah for an explanation. At first the minister tried to evade the situation by getting admitted in a private hospital in Indore. But pressure from the state BJP president Narendra Singh Tomar brought him to Bhopal in the late night hours on Tuesday.

So why do these politicians keep on giving such speeches ? With today’s availability of cell phones, it is not even necessary for there to be video cameras to capture such speeches and then highlight them to the media and send to Youtube as well where others can see this (if people remember, Abhishek Manu Singhvi tried to prevent a video from coming into the open through various court injunctions, but once it got on Youtube, there was no stopping this). And the political antenna of most politicians is so sensitive that if they stopped to analyse these speeches, they would be able to figure out the problems caused by such speeches.
It is more that these politicians are so used to the arrogance of power that they do not realize that this power can suddenly vanish, they have the feeling that nothing can happen to them. Even when somebody else gets caught, nothing can happen to them. Also, the environment in which they have got their training sort of ensures that they do not see anything wrong with such speeches, and it takes a lot of time for them to even understand that they said something wrong, because for them they are just spouting reality and how can what they are saying be wrong ? It will take many more such cases before things get better. After all, when even a women chief minister such as Mamta Banerjee can condemn a rape case as being a plot against her Government, you know that there is a long way to go.

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