While addressing a public gathering in the Jhunjhunu district, a minister from Rajasthan went on to say that roads should be like “Katrina Kaif’s cheeks” in his constituency. While the public present at this gathering, consisting largely of men, applauded the minister for his remarks, social media is not amused. Year after year, rally after rally and event after event, we have witnessed our politicians resort to sexism in an attempt to entertain the public or make it to the headlines. Criticism from social media, journalists, fellow leaders etc. hasn’t dettered them. But will Indian law manage to do that?
Since the statement went viral, Rajasthan minister Rajendra Singh Gudha has been facing criticism from all sides and his party Congress in Rajasthan being reminded of how there are only three women in the cabinet of 15 ministers.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat too lammed the statement on Thursday and took the conversation on such sexist remarks by politicians one step ahead. She said a law should be made in the parliament and assemblies against such comments on women.
In his address, the minister had first said that roads should be like Hema Malini’s cheek, but then went on to add that she had become “too old”.
In an interview with ANI, Karat called Gudha’s statement “highly objectable”. Not just that, she also raised the question that goes on in every women’s head every time an Indian politician open their mouth to speak sexist and misogynist statements- where is the accountability?
She said that there needs to be some “accountability” for the comments being made. At least try them under the Indian Penal Code.
She also asked-What kind of standard is he setting among the public when he himself is making such sexist remarks?
Rajasthan Minister Katrina Kaif comment hints at a widespread problem
What Indian politicians do not understand is that women are on the edge of their seats listening to absurd comments that focus on Hema Malini’s age or Katrina’s cheeks. The question needs to be when will these politicians stop vying for the public’s applause at the expense of women?
Gudha is an MLA from Udaipurwati of the Jhunjhunu district in Rajasthan. He won the 2018 Assembly elections on the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket and then switched to Congress. Recently, he has been included in the cabinet during the reshuffle.
To think that a veteran politician and senior actor like Hema Malini, who is currently a sitting Member of Parliament nonetheless, isn’t safe from sexism, then what hopes can ordinary women in the country have? How can we expect politicians to respect young, old, rural or urban women of this country when they spare no thoughts before commenting on the cheeks of a septuagenarian female politician and one of the biggest superstars in the country? should we be surprised then, when these men come after our jeans, or underwears?
Karat is right in demanding accountability and legal consequences for male politicians. Perhaps that is the only way they will learn to mind their tongue not give in to the temptation of earning thunderous claps at no personal cost. However, the change that will come then, will be out of fear, not genuine respect towards women. Will such change be of any use in the long run then?