What Do Samajwadi Party”s Comments On Women Tell Us About Indian Politicians?

Posted on April 11, 2014 in Politics

By Mayank Jain:

“Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strengths.” ~Lois Wyse

A bunch of Indian politicians can vilify women like no one else and the latest has come from Samajwadi Party of Uttar Pradesh whose rule has always been marred by crimes and specifically harassment, rapes and other such crimes. Women are the 49% of electorate in India but the way our politicians treat them is deplorable and disgusting. More and more of them come up with statements that can be termed as offensive, degrading and a result of deep rooted patriarchal thought process that doesn’t let them be equal humans as men are.

First it was Mulayam Singh, 74. He is the leader of the regional socialist Samajwadi party of Uttar Pradesh and has been the chief minister of the state three times before he gave way to his son, Akhilesh Yadav. He was addressing a gathering when he announced that imposing death penalty for rapes is a bit harsh since the boys and men who commit heinous crimes as such, make ‘mistakes’; clearly not big enough to place the blame on the perpetrators.

mulayam singh

At a rally in Moradabad, Yadav declared: “First girls develop friendship with boys. Then when differences occur [between them], they [the girls] level rape charges. Boys commit mistakes. Should they really be hanged for rape?”

48 hours of excessive condemnation from all spheres of the civil society followed after the comment spread like wildfire on the social media and people came out openly against it. The party went a step further in fuelling the anger of people against themselves though. Instead of issuing an apology for such comments, the party chief of Maharashtra, Abu Asim Azmi brought further ignominy to the party.

In an interview with Mid Day, he stated that women who indulge in even consensual sex should be hanged as they are ‘guilty’. He added that rape victims should be punished with death penalty too. “Rape is punishable by hanging in Islam. But here, nothing happens to women, only to men. Even the woman is guilty,” he is quoted to have told the interviewer.

azmi

The comments clearly predict the level of gender sensitivity of two major leaders of an influential political party and leave us with fewer options for the future to choose from. Clearly, if the state of women in their minds is so low and comparable to that of a criminal because of having sex, then expecting women’s rights to ever float in the state is a far cry.

“In India, if you have sex with a person with consent, it’s fine. But if that same person complains, it’s a problem. Nowadays, we see a lot of such cases. Girls complain when someone touches them, and even when someone doesn’t touch them. It becomes a problem then, and the man’s honour is ruined in this. If rape happens with or without consent, it should be punished as prescribed in Islam,” he said adding that the solution to rape is that the both man and woman involved should be hanged.

The comments are just two among many that float in the jungle of Indian polity on a daily basis and reflect the need for us to give a deeper thought before putting such people at the forefront of our destiny as a nation. Voting for a party should not go by the quality of laptops and other freebies it promises to distribute if the party is likely to violate the freedom and rights of our women. It’s really a good time for all of us to wake up and start speaking up or the country shall turn into a one big “khap”.

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