The rhetoric of politicians is not new to the country. It is often seen that a slip of tongue by big leaders takes place pretty often in public places. Such examples show how badly has the quality of politics deteriorated, not just that of the leader or the party.
It is said that the song on the lips of the youth of a Nation shows the future of that Nation. Seen from such a perspective, the language of politicians reflects their ideology. While campaigning for the Madhya Pradesh by-elections, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Kamal Nath, referred to a female candidate of BJP, Imarti Devi as an ‘item’. He later clarified that since he did not remember her name, he spoke so. If one does not remember a woman’s name, can she be called an ‘item’ ? Everyone present laughed when Kamal Nath said this. Kamal Nath is not alone; the Congress has a long list of such ‘star’ campaigners. Earlier, Digvijay Singh called Congress MP Meenakshi Natarajan ‘voluptuous’. Such incidents have become common for the Congress leaders and the crowd attending their meetings also enjoy them ! What direction will such leaders give to society ?
However, their party stalwarts and office bearers are silent on statements of their leaders. Those who were once in opposition and accused the ruling party of corruption used to demand the resignation of the ruling party. They would even disrupt the functioning of the House while pressing for their demand. They would appear on TV news channels to criticise the ruling party. However, they keep mum when their own party leaders make such obnoxious statements. Why does Congress’ Priyanka Gandhi, who slammed the BJP Government in Uttar Pradesh over the Hathras rape case, now not utter a single word about Kamal Nath’s statement ? Rahul Gandhi said, ‘Kamal Nath’s statement is unfortunate’, after being criticised in political circles. Walking to meet the Hathras victim without the permission of the local administration, indulging in fracas when stopped by the Police to impress voters – was all this not to trouble the State Government ?
To remain mum at such a time and to pass time by reacting hastily to appease the people confirm Kamal Nath’s statement. In other words, if Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi had reacted to Kamal Nath’s remarks this time, it would have been just a formality. If there is genuine worry about the state of women, the party would have taken action against such garrulous and unscrupulous leaders. In a party where senior leaders pass such obscene remarks about women, what respect will the office bearers of the party have towards women ? What must these political parties, leaders and people’s representatives be teaching society ?
Ordinary women have to often deal with such incidents, similar to what Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh did by using obscene language. Women often have to deal with this kind of harassment at bus stands, railway stations and other places. Of course, there are women who often hit such road-side Romeos with their slippers and or teach lessons physically. On many occasions, the mob teaches a lesson to those who molest women. Politicians are talking like this on an open platform and they are being criticised only verbally. Indians are not victims of the Stockholm Syndrome, are they ?
‘Stockholm Syndrome’ is a feeling of empathy for those who have wronged themselves. In 1973, two armed men robbed a bank in Stockholm, Sweden. They abducted the staff present at the time and released them after some time. ‘The robbers only kidnapped us, did not kill us’, so the staff felt sympathy for the robbers. Later, the staff helped raise funds to get the robbers out of jail. In short, it is a defeatist mentality to feel that only a small injustice has been done. Is it not a symbol of such a defeatist mentality that in Indian Democracy, such immoral, corrupt, mischievous politicians are elected for years, behave as if with a clean image in public places and are respected by society ?
If an ordinary woman and people feel that they need to oppose such obscene comments, why did the mob sitting in front of Kamal Nath not feel so ? We feel sympathy for such politicians. A large section of society follows them. Can we not differentiate between right and wrong, justice and injustice, morality and immorality ? What do the increasing incidents of rape, incidents of molestation, open comments against women indicate ? During the Lok Sabha elections last year, pictures of a woman gazetted officer were over all the media. What is the colour of sari she is wearing, what kind of goggles is she wearing, etc. No one cared about how many votes were cast in that polling station, malpractices that took place, etc. This is how our social mindset is evolving.
On one hand, we want to give slogans about women’s empowerment, make laws more stringent, show off how women are suffering and how our party is their champion, and on the other, we want to behave like this.
Leave alone a safe environment, what the women need today on priority are ethical people’s representatives.