Monday, February 13, 2012

BJP's 'dirty picture' - By Seema Mustafa - THE FREE PRESS JOURNAL - MUMBAI

BJP's 'dirty picture'
  • India
  • Feb 13, 2012


The filth that has crept into the party is a natural corollary of its anti- women, communal and divisive agenda
Is there a contradiction between an individual who insists that women should be fully clad in public, and watches pornography whenever he gets a chance? Actually not, as the first follows the second with both indicative of a dirty mind that treats women like objects and commodities to be used and discarded at will.

The three Ministers caught watching pornography in the Karnataka Assembly are all members of the Bharatiya Janata Party, clearly 'respected'by their senior colleagues.

It would have been a surprise had they been members of any other party, as the filth that has crept into the BJP is a natural corollary of its anti- women, communal, and divisive agenda. Right wing politics of the BJP kind breeds dirt that then spreads to a point where deviant criminal behaviour is accepted, and perhaps even perceived, as normal.

One would expect a political party calling itself national, and aspiring to be in government at the Centre as well, to have taken immediate action against the three Ministers - Laxman Savadi, J Krishna Palemar and C C Patil - instead of hedging bets. The resignations came only after the Opposition created a ruckus and it became very clear to the party and its government in Karanataka that the three men, close to a corrupt mining mafia in the state, were left with no choice in the matter. Even so it was really sad to see BJP spokespersons fielding questions on television, and instead of going all out to condemn the Ministers seeking refuge in the usual " let there be an enquiry, let the Speaker ( of the state Assembly) decide." The men in question claimed that they were 'working'and not watching a pornographic clip on their mobile telephones.

But the explanation made matters even worse because they said they were watching a gang rape that has the nation up in arms. The BJP remains reluctant to castigate these men, and to throw them out of the party. And even if it does so at the end of the day, the reluctance to do so has sent shock waves through the country.

BJP President Nitin Gadkari seems to be sheltering all that is criminal and deviant in the party. The mining mafia in Karnataka has a good representation in the state government, and many say these men call the shots at every level. They keep the political parties in good funds, and protect their own against any action. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is another case in point, with the BJP with support from several corporate honchos and sections of the media, insisting that he was 'innocent'of any involvement in the Gujarat violence where women were brutally raped and killed all over the state. This kind of mentality, protected and sheltered and nurtured, leads to the kind of behaviour that was captured on cameras in the Assembly.

The lack of remorse is amazing.

These men are elected representatives of the people, sworn to uphold the Indian Constitution and the rule of law.

Instead they violate the law at every step. Be it attacking young women for wearing jeans or watching pornography or as one of the Ministers had earlier gone on record to maintain that women should dress properly or they would invite rape. That comment should have been enough for the BJP to initiate action against him at the time, but then how can it when it endorses the same thinking and mindset.

It seems that all that is base and viciously anti- woman is drawn to the BJP. This is but natural as somehow right wing ideology of the kind espoused by many of our political parties and groups encourages such positions.

Fiscal growth that makes our Prime Minister very happy does not turn into mental growth at any level, as the status of women in India continues to be dismal. The murder of young women for making their own choices in Haryana and the role of Khap Panchayats in determining their fate has gone unchallenged. Both the Congress and the BJP, for the sake of votes, have kept quiet when confronted with this local form of bestiality, with the result that the killers have remained outside the law. And in fact, the mindset has been strengthened because of this support to a point where many young people have had to flee their homes to escape Khap Panchayat trials, and almost certain death.

Instead of scoring brownie points as the Congress seems to be doing, the political parties should take the lead in launching a massive movement for the true empowerment of women through the universal principles of justice and equality.

But clearly this is like asking for the moon, as these same political parties have totally failed to accommodate even 33 per cent women within their organizations as a first step to ensuring similar reservation for women in the Legislatures. Women activists are usually ignored by the political parties with only relatives of known male politicians getting nominations to fight the elections. Others who have managed to contest an election or two speak of harrowing experiences, with every political step fraught with humiliation and uncertainty.

Even while writing this one has received a mail about the dipping sex ratio in Gujarat. Of the 956 girls for every 1000 boys in the zero to six year age group in 1961, modern Gujarat under the great administrator Modi now has a ratio at 886 per 1000 boys according to the 2011 census. In other words, instead of moving ahead we are moving backwards, and instead of ensuring a place for our girls in the sun are ensuring that they are moved into the backwaters, discriminated and forgotten.


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