Trigger warning: Violence
The Central government wants to shut off the internet in its capital city in the world’s largest “democracy”, put iron spikes and concrete blocks to stop people from marching, order state-level emergency shutdowns, bury journalists under sedition charges and FIRs, and reject court hearings against the Delhi Police, but does not want to hear even a single tweet of criticism against itself.
These are the traits of fascist nationalism; these are the traits of toxic patriarchy. And there is no better instance to prove the intimacy that nationalism and patriarchy share than the uproar by BJP IT cells and bootlicking Indian celebrities at Rihanna’s tweet.
On February 2, pop star Rihanna, with a following of over 100 million, tweeted, “Why aren’t we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest,” sharing a news link on the internet cut off in Delhi since Republic Day. Shortly after her tweet, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted in solidarity. Earlier in November, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became the first international figure to “defend the rights of peaceful protest” by Indian farmers.
While all three comments of support received sharp criticism, who received the most atrocious and violent comments? Answer: The Black woman who was beaten up by her boyfriend, who twerks on stage and spends “$8,000 a night at Miami strip clubs” (please refer to below image).
Enough people have been talking about the farmers’ protest – enough for the government to bury its head in shame. But Rihanna’s tweet really hurt the misogynist egos of the BJP IT cells and RSS bhakts. Since the tweet went viral, Rihanna’s history of surviving abuse in 2009 has been dug out by these filthy minds and justified using the same language that justifies rape and violence against women – “She must have done something to deserve it,” “Women must be beaten if they get out of control,” “She was beaten because she was immoral.” So inflated is an Indian man’s ego that no amount of a woman’s money or reach of power is big enough to bog them down.
Indian men do not shy away from celebrating, glorifying and justifying violence if women “get out of hand” or do not agree with them. And this is where right-wing fundamental ideology overlaps with patriarchy.
Right-wing bhakts are the first to support violent measures on people who are in disagreement with them, they are the first to suggest measures of harsh discipline and surveillance if someone challenges their power. The one in power never needs to be held accountable or kept in check, it is the one being For these men, the control over land is more important than human rights.
This blurring of lines between nationalism and patriarchy is why Modi’s dictatorial democracy appeals to the patriarchs of Indian households. These patriarchs not just support the formation of a Hindu rashtra, but dictatorship over people. The idea of letting people decide for themselves scares them.
Because if today, it’s citizens of the country who raise their voice, tomorrow, it’ll be their own family members – the women and children of the house. Where will be the patriarchs go then? Where will the Modis of these households go?