Sharad Yadav of the JD(U) compares the rape of a girl in the neighbourhood to the misuse of the vote in a nation in convoluted terms of relative dishonour. BJP MP Vinay Katiyar joins his ranks after belittling Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s looks and scoffs her entry into politics with the utterance, "There are many beautiful campaigners than Priyanka.”
This happened a day before the 68th Republic Day of India. They join the growing ranks of politicians whose incredible stupidity and prejudice rank as an indictment of us all. The fallout is drearily predictable. Women’s associations protest, TV talk show hosts scramble to make an issue out of the absurd statements and then it simply goes away and the dregs of indignation are all that is left.
Regrettably, because this is always how the scenario is played out, occasionally with a meaningless apology tacked onto it, the bigger pixels of the bigger picture are never recognized. They are pixels of pure conspiracy and mutual agreement that the consequences will be muted and time will soften the frenzy to forgetfulness. The leaders of these parties always manage to squirrel away the issue and go into a sort of damage containment mode that ensures the culprit will be smacked gently on the wrist for a minor indiscretion.
For that is how the macho male political cabal perceives comments made about women.
To a large extent we are to be blamed. We are not just tolerant, we do not demand restitution. A public leader has to possess values. If he or she does not have them or displays a clear disregard that person should be drummed out. When you disparage a woman as Katiyar did or you babble about some ludicrous analogy a la Yadav you place yourself in the career guillotine.
The public either is too lazy, too indifferent or simply can’t care enough to place pressure on the political party’s frontline. To that extent ours are acts of omission.
More criminal are the acts of commission in that the tacit permission is given these cerebral cretins. What stops the BJP from simply asking Katiyar to put in his resignation. He has clearly said he has nothing to apologise for…even when given that opportunity. So he believes that women in politics are merely flowers in a vase.
By committing themselves to letting him carry on, the BJP indicts itself and none seem to think that is odd. The JD(U) allows Yadav to say the most atrocious nonsense in public and no one even chastises him let alone tell him that his oratory has nothing grand about it and his contempt for women should lead to the exit in bright red lights.
This is the problem with the political set up. You can be scandalous, prejudiced, racist, casteist, chauvinist, hateful and still go to work next day without a stain on your career graph.
Does Nitish Kumar condone Yadav for his mumblings? Why? Because it is convenient? Because he is on the same wavelength? He does not think it is such a serious issue? He can’t be bothered.
On the one side we have the prime minister calling for a mental revolution in the male psyche and promoting the cause of women. When he hears that one of his frontliners, not one of his rank and file, has crossed the line of decency does he not think, wait a minute, why is this man representing my party, should I not make an example of him and dump him on Republic Day, so that across the country the women of India (and men) will say, yes, there is reason to celebrate…truly celebrate.
And if these men of honour in high places renege on their duty to remove the weeds should we not ask them why they allow those bankrupt of moral status to enjoy the perks and privileges of political power…and abuse them.
What is Republic Day worth when our leadership exhibits feet of clay.
Updated Date: Jan 26, 2017 16:36 PM