Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Now BJP wants a dress code for mannequins!

The more BJP members speak, the more we realize just how much of an antiquated party it is. The latest example is the most startling. A BJP corporator from Ghatkopar, Mumbai, Ritu Tawade made the proposal and the Shiv Sena/BJP run BMC “unanimously” passed a proposal to ban the display of bikini-clad mannequins outside lingerie shops in Mumbai” (source: website Niti Central). The ostensible reason: women’s safety!

But honestly, this BJP corporator is no different from the hordes of other BJP leaders who have gone on record to say that women must dress modestly, or stay indoors, or some such garbage. The BJP ideology stems from the RSS’s, and that in turn brings images of khakhi chaddi clad fogies, who are determined to take India back into the midieval era. I am not sure but I think that the RSS itself doesn’t allow women members. It has a “zenana” like organizational culture, with a separate outfit “with the same ideology” called the Rashtriaya Sevika Sabha, where women can join and participate. It’s hardly an important organization, though it does have 55000 “shakhas” around the country. It’s “pramukh sanchalika” (I guess, President!) is one V Shantha Kumari, and its “pramukh karyavahika” (I guess, Vice President or something) is an equally unknown Sita Annadanam (Sita, mind you!). Now what can one expect from a “parivar” in which women are organized separately from men? I guess this is what makes the RSS think that men will necessarily rape women if they as much as see them!

This other RSS – the Rashtriay Sevika Sabha – is quite an interesting organization. A story titled “Inside RSS women’s wing: Yes to wife beaters, no to divorce” on Firstpost.politics caught my attention ( The website in turn quotes an Outlook magazine article (Holier than Cow - Wisdom on women from a Rashtriya Sevika Sangh camp) written by Neha Dixit (available on Here is what the Firstpost writes “The article traces how the pracharikas or the workers of the group take pride in the fact that they are not backing or demanding women’s rights. Rather, they seem to be content with the fact that they are working towards the creation of a ‘Hindu’ nation. The women’s wing also seems skeptical of the feminist movements working their way against patriarchal domination in the country.”

And here is what Neha Dixit writes in Outlook while visiting a camp organized by the Rashtriya Sevika Sabha “I turn to Sharda from Jabalpur. In her late-20s, Sharda has been a whole timer for five years. She tells me that apart from the shakhas, the Samiti also counsels women in their respective areas. When I ask her, “What advice would you give to a victim of wife beating?” she answers, “Don't parents admonish their children for misbehaviour? Just as a child must adjust to his/her parents, so must a wife act keeping in mind her husband's moods and must avoid irritating him. Only this can keep the family together.” Similarly, divorce is also a non-option for women. She says, “Our task is to keep the family together, not break it. We tell the women to adjust.

Sushma Swaraj, the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, and a potential PM candidate has been reported to have called a rape survivor a “zinda laash” (a living corpse). Narendra Modi, another PM aspirant had famously taunted Shashi Tharoor as having a “Rs 50 crore girlfriend”. If the seniormost leadership of the BJP carries such views on women, even god cannot save India or its women once the BJP comes to power! Not surprising then that other members of the Sangh parivar have suggested that women should not put their pictures on Facebook. The Outlook article also states “The Rashtra Sevika Samiti holds camps and indoctrinates thousands of girls-toddlers, adolescents and old— to propagate the idea of a ‘culturally sanitised’ Hindu rashtra and the patriarchal roles it offers women to conform.” Some cultural sanity!

That explains why Ritu Tawade moved her resolution in the BMC! But what about the rest of the fogies in the BMC? Why did they not stop such an atrocious proposal? I guess in the race for orthodoxy, none of them wants to be left behind! How can one expect such a grouping as the RSS or the BJP to discuss the several orthodox elements in the Hindu religion, and suggest ways to contemporarize them? We know that religion never changes, but can the orthodox parts not be kept “on the side”? Can we at least avoid actively propogating ancient beliefs in a modern society? I think deep down, RSS/BJP members pray that a Hindu cultural revolution will sweep the nation, and everyone will start wearing saffron and reciting the “Saraswati Vandana”. That’s why it starts this kind of ideological propaganda with school kids. Catch them young…..before they get exposed to a more liberal, a more reasonable, a more heterogeneous world.

Who will explain to the BJP/RSS/Shiv Sena that skimpily dressed mannequins don’t cause rapes. Ritu Tawade may feel that the mannequins are sex toys. But they aren’t. Removing mannequins cannot be seen as a “women’s safety drive”. Educating our people to be more liberal can be. It is the dirty mindset of our people that lead to rapes. When men see a woman alone, or vulnerable, some of them are unable to hold back their pent up lust. They use their stronger physical strength to attack women. The solution is not to remove mannequins, the solution is to teach our people the basics of humanity, and a more tolerant, liberal philosophy. It’s not to segregate men and women like the RSS does, but to encourage more inter-mingling. But who will explain all this to these 17th century morons?

The real truth is that the mannequin removal idea is just one more hare brained idea from a party with a 17th century mindset. It’s hardly surprising. We blame our cops for “moral policing”, but the real culprits are these political lunatics. But will anyone go on a dharna against these butchers of liberal values? Naaaah….Why, they may even end up ruling us!

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