It seems like social media and BCCI aren’t done yet with punishing Hardik Pandya for his appalling remarks on the show Koffee With Karan. However, one does feel that we may have gone overboard in this outrage against Pandya and his teammate KL Rahul. Whatever Hardik said on Karan Johar’s show was indeed offensive and deeply sexist but we need to ask ourselves, what this intense regime of punishments and criticism is achieving. Does it teach them to respect women? To not treat women as objects or seek a certificate of your virility? Or does it just teach them to be politically correct?
- It feels like we may have gone overboard in this outrage against Hardik Pandya’s comments on Koffee With Karan.
- We need to ask ourselves, what this intense regime of punishments and criticism is achieving.
- It could give rise to a dangerous trend where each one of us only says things meant to appease others’ sensibilities.
- We need to change the way men think and not the way they speak.
Pandya and KL Rahul stand suspended from the Indian cricket team, despite having offered an unconditional apology for what they said. However, the BCCI is yet to decide on their fate, as the Committee of Administrators is divided on what disciplinary actions need to be taken against them. But do they need to face disciplinary action? Agreed that Pandya’s comments were misogynistic. If he indeed behaves with women the way he projected then it is concerning. Also, Rahul was an enabler here, who didn’t reprimand his friend for his attitude, and seem to think of it as harmless.
However, punishing them for what they said, will only encourage celebrities and young cricketers to be politically correct. The key takeaway here emerges to think twice before opening their mouths in public. According to some people, that may not be a bad thing after all. We all know the kind of influence young cricketers exert on youth in this country. Thus, it wouldn’t hurt anyone if they speak responsibly. But that isn’t all that we should be going after here. Because while political correctness may seem like a boon at this point of time to BCCI, it doesn’t solve the problem which is at the root of this mess.
Access to immense popularity and wealth comes with a risk of disillusioning young minds into believing that they are entitled to sexual favours from women.
At the root of this entitlement is the culture of sexism. Most men in our country grow up thinking that it is okay to objectify women. To think of them as bodies they should conquer to prove their masculinity to their peers. Wealth, skill, popularity and a certain kind of attitude is seen as a catalyst by boys, which makes you popular among women. Thus helping you in your sexual “conquests.” Punishing them for saying what they think is only going to shut them up. It won’t rid them of their chauvinist attitude. It won’t encourage them to treat women as equals. All it would do is to make them glance sideways, before they begin to speak their mind.
What BCCI needs to do is to condition young players, barely out of school and even puberty, into a cricketer’s lifestyle in India. They need to coach them so that they can handle the fame properly. So that they do not inadvertently exploit the madness associated with cricket in India in any possible way. Misogyny is a disease which infests most male minds in our country and wealth and popularity only enable men to act out on what they’ve grown up believing in. It will require much greater effort than imposing bans on players to change that. Proper education and conditioning inside and outside of the home and walking the talk of treating women as equals are the only ways we can put young men on the right track. The effects won’t be instantaneous, but they won’t be as superficial as imposing punishments either.
Not saying it out loud isn’t the solution that we seek.
Pandya’s comments offended sensibilities of a lot of people, but when the initial outrage subsided, I realised that he was just a somebody wanting to prove his place on a popular show by trying to project himself as cool. But now he is facing repercussions for not being a sexist but for being politically incorrect. It could give rise to a dangerous trend where each one of us only says things meant to appease others sensibilities, all the while harbouring regressive thoughts. Not saying it out loud isn’t the solution that we seek. So let them say whatever they want to and try to change the way they think instead.
Picture Credit : Instagram
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.
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