Poo’ poo’ Dilip is an effect of the discourse on the Malayalam cine actor Dilip , who is facing trial for his alleged involvement in the conspiracy behind the despicable attack on a young woman actor in Kochi in February 2017. Now, as his next bail plea (thrice refused) draws near, there seems to be a concerted effort to produce public sympathy for the jailed actor – which has produced its own discourse, much to the distaste of those who feel that the wronged actor, and not the one accused of wrong-doing, needs to be supported. Poo'(r) Poo'(r) Dilip is a direct (and feminist) translation of the funny distortion of the piece of sentimental shit going around social media on his behalf – Dilip paavamaa, eda (Dilip is a nice guy, bro).
Those of us appalled by the great men — ranging from those who reside on the Himalaya-heights of the Malayali public like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, to those who inhabit the miserable holes in the ground like the many actors who made a beeline to meet and console him in jail — have distorted it to ‘Dilip Paavaada’, which would mean ‘Dilip the Skirt’, an absurd coinage to highlight the sheer hideousness of claiming to be well-meaning and running to console a fellow facing trial for a heinous crime who the Courts have persistently refused bail because of his huge clout. We have christened his supporters collectively as the Paavada Prasthanam, the feminist translation of which would, naturally, be Poo’Poo’ Movement.
The immediate provocation for this post is the rise of a shining warrior in the Poo’Poo’ Movement’s vanguard. This is none other than a respected media critic, left ‘fellow-traveler’, lawyer, and public intellectual, Sebastian Paul. This Knight has produced an article in favour of Dilip through which he offers a stiff challenge to a certain R Kumar, who claimed publicly some years back that women who engage in physical activities, like jumping, will see their uteruses displaced, for the crown of the Prince of Misogynist Blather in Kerala. This is in response to an earlier piece he wrote condemning those who do not feel sorry for Dilip. Apparently provoked by the outrage this produced among the supporters of the survivor in general, and feminists, in particular, he opens this new salvo by repeating what we all know, that the guilty are guilty till the Court proves it (which as far as I know is not an excuse for making public statements on how nice a guy our man is and so on), and by obtaining advance bail for himself, citing the foolishness of the world which will, according to him, will learn only too late how noble and wise he is. The main argument he advances in favour of giving Dilip the concession of doubt leaves me breathless, so let me translate it for you:
What is the primary aim of rape? from time immemorial, from the time woman and man were born if you asked what rape was for, you would get the answer that it is essentially for sexual reasons. There may be other reasons besides. To establish dominance, to suppress and insult the opponent, and other such. But in the ordinary case, it is an act the man performs for sexual satisfaction. It is [therefore] a strange thing to claim that it can be outsourced on a quotation basis. Another person does it and I enjoy the pleasure, that is a strange thing for sure. So there must be a good motive involved. To put it bluntly, the pleasure Pulsar Suni [the criminal got the gang together and took the lead in kidnapping and assaulting the actor] experienced, that Dilip did not get. So it was not for that purpose.
I found myself pulverized by these words. No wonder marital rape looks alright to many men of his generation in private at least. Since rape is actually a way in which men seek sexual satisfaction, no wonder, they must be raping their wives for the most! The other reasons, which of course we are only too familiar with, are tossed casually on to one side, and replaced by the timeless single reason why men rape – satisfaction, pleasure. From the time woman and man were created, my foot!
Now, this is not really anything to be shocked in Kerala as we are habituated to men begging us to spare a thought for our poo’, poo’ uteruses as we jump, to MLAs who proclaim that because the law against sexual harassment at workplace is in place, they are scared to smile at women in their constituencies, learned judges who think that unmarried women should be necessarily under their parents’ care, and so on. A well-known novelist some time back sent me a novel asking me to consider translating it, in which a female character claims that she fell in love with the (degenerated version of the modernist-male) hero because her womb directed her to him! Naturally, I refused, nervous at the thought that he may read my acceptance as a message from my womb which certainly has no plans whatsoever after two grueling C-sections, however distant in the past. Then there are others like the creator of the horrible book called Francis Ittykkora, which is an insult to both the scholarship on Kerala’s mathematical traditions, and its recently-empowered women at one stroke, and another famous novel called Kappalinekurichu Oru Vichitra Pustakam, in which young girls yearn to be raped all the time. Remember, these authors have fans by the hundreds at least. To someone who suggested that I translate the latter, I said that all I can offer is a smart title faithful to its content: Rape is Sex and Sex is Rape.
But this knight is no ordinary sipaahi — I kid you not, he is the author of law-books published by LexisNexis, according to the Wikipedia! However, his understanding of rape, surely forged in and through many hours of watching the old-style rape scenes in Malayalam movies in which villains are mainly provoked by the heroines’ voluptuous and not-sufficiently-covered bodies, and certainly has no scent of any social scientific or legal discussion of rape, should it not make us suspect that plagiarism probably played a role in this gentleman’s scholarly achievements?
The answer to the above questions, sadly, is a resounding no. For it is perfectly possible from empirical experience to imagine the coexistence of scholarship dished out for the world in general, and the most disgusting nonsense offered when things appear closer home. In this case, however, the lack of a decent sex education at a vulnerable age is also to be blamed. Clearly, the poor man (or the poo’, poo’ man) is still wandering aimlessly in the adolescent jungle of confusion about sexual acts, and cannot get over the idea that the way to attain sexual satisfaction is to rape a woman.
But I do not share the shock that many ex-admirers feel for the man, simply because I never admired him. I have not met him, and his media analysis has never once impressed me. Actually, he always reminded me of the hero of a certain folktale, that of the Clever Little Tailor. Sebastian Paul is famous for winning elections in a row, perhaps that is why this story popped up in my head whenever I saw him speak. Or maybe it was the ‘tailor’ bit because Paul is adept at media analysis — pursuing the tails of media tales. The Clever Little Tailor was eating his bread and jam one day when some flies irritated him and he went for them. He killed six at one stroke, felt very proud of himself, and so made himself a belt with the phrase ‘Six at one stroke’ etched on it, wore it, and walked proudly out of his house. On the road, he met a giant who read the phrase and thought that the six referred to six men. The rest of the tale is about how the clever little tailor outwitted big but dimwitted fellas. The guy made a name for himself not because he was strong or wise but because his opponents/interlocutors/admirers were slow and dull. Actually, this story pops up when I see many intellectuals who sidle up to the CPM as ‘fellow-travelers’ these days.
I still feel the same, but the current fiasco reveals two things: (a) just because you build up a reputation from the lack of serious competition, that doesn’t mean you are smart, and (b) put-on knowledge has its limits; there will always be a moment in which its hollowness will stand revealed.
Poo’, poo’ Sebastian Paul should and will become the central character of a feminist folk tale of the early twenty-first century that points to the need for proper sex education at the right age. And that will make him deathless. Indeed that is indeed the best punishment that we should give him, sisters. Beware of feminist fiction-writers and translators, Mr Paul — too many of them lurking around. They will, no doubt, bestow on you a terrible deathlessness.