Tag Archives: sexism

माँ, तुझे सलाम! कविता कृष्णन

अतिथि पोस्ट : कविता कृष्णन

“Scout,” said Atticus, “nigger-lover is just one of those terms that don’t mean anything—like snot-nose. It’s hard to explain—ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody’s favoring Negroes over and above themselves. It’s slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody.”

“You aren’t really a nigger-lover, then, are you?”

“I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody… I’m hard put, sometimes—baby, it’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.” (To Kill A Mockingbird, Chapter 11)

‘Now, there is a long and honourable tradition in the gay community and it has stood us in good stead for a very long time. When somebody calls you a name – you take it. And you own it.’ (Pride, 2014)

‘टू किल अ मॉकिंगबर्ड’ उपन्यास 1950 के दशक के अमेरिका के दक्षिणी राज्यों में नस्लवाद की कहानी है. उसमें एक वकील जिनका नाम एटिकस है, एक काले नस्ल के आदमी की पैरवी करते हैं जिस पर बलात्कार का गलत आरोप लगाया गया है. एटिकस की 8 साल की बेटी स्कौट कहती है की गाँव के लोग कह रहे हैं कि मेरे पिताजी ‘हब्शी-प्रेमी’ है. वह पूछती है कि इसका क्या अर्थ है, सुनकर लगता है कोई गाली है, जैसे किसी ने मुझे ‘बन्दर’ कहा हो, पर इसका क्या मतलब है?

Continue reading माँ, तुझे सलाम! कविता कृष्णन

Confront the Rupa Subramanyas Within : A Note to a Nair-born Friend

Dear Kaviraj,

Just saw your post condemning The Telegraph’s representation of Smriti Irani as ‘Aunty’. I understand your indignation, though I am curious to know why few people like us stand up and protest when the people who supporte her, the sanghis, throw vile abuse at dissenters and feminists, label them prostitutes, and threaten them regularly with rape and disfigurement. My daughter was recently threatened in Delhi and warned not to behave like a ‘JNU randi’; senior women teachers from JNU were showered with similar abuse, shoved, groped, and hit at the Patiala House, and many of them have received direct and indirect threats. JNU women have been portrayed in the most despicable terms recently, before which Telegraphs’s characterisation of Irani as ‘Aunty’ is tame indeed even if unacceptable.

Continue reading Confront the Rupa Subramanyas Within : A Note to a Nair-born Friend

An Open Letter to the Protestors at the National Law University: Space Theatre Ensemble


Thank you for renewing this much needed dialogue on freedom of expression.

We happen to be, by sheer coincidence, a four-piece all-women theatre group that performs poetry, and have been following the correspondence over the sexist performance of stand-up comedian Avish Matthew with some interest – all the more so since we are now touring in Delhi and its environs.

The protestors are absolutely right when they point out that domestic violence is not a laughing matter and we completely endorse their views on why Avish’s jokes just weren’t funny.

We do not believe in laughter as just therapy to laugh off the stress of living the good life.

However, as a professional theatre ensemble we also strongly disagree with the predictable, and frankly irrelevant form of agitprop used by the protestors against Avish.  Protest need not be chaotic, so far more vehemently we condemn the supposedly liberal students and others who heckled, booed, poked and shoved but stopped just short of physically molesting the protestors. Continue reading An Open Letter to the Protestors at the National Law University: Space Theatre Ensemble

An Open Letter by the Protestors at National Law University, Delhi

An open letter from students at National Law University

Abish Mathew, comedian of the AIB Roast fame, performed at NLU Delhi on the 22nd of March for our annual fest, Kairos. Early in the show, Matthew cracked a joke on domestic violence, at which point, two women students who found the jokes to be extremely misogynistic, walked out, showing him the middle finger. The audience reacted with some tittering, and Abish Mathew fumbled momentarily, before resuming. The audience asked him to carry on and to ignore the protesters. In the mean time, a group of female students marched into the auditorium holding placards reading “Get Out, Sexist Pig”, and also used expletives such as ‘fuck off’.

The auditorium erupted in shouts of “fuck you guys” and the protesters were booed and heckled by the audience members who demanded that the protestors either leave or move to the side. They eventually did move to the side of the auditorium, where they continued to hold their placards up and attempted to interrupt him. Abish was greeted by a standing ovation when he stated that he was an artist and recognized the right of the protesters, and subsequently when he ended his show by stating he had overstayed his welcome.

Continue reading An Open Letter by the Protestors at National Law University, Delhi

Dealing with ‘sexist pigs’? Reflections on the feminist protest against AIB’s Avish Mathew at National Law University, Delhi: A Statement

A statement from concerned students and teachers

What does one do sitting in the middle of an audience roaring with laughter at jokes that one might find downright humiliating? Laugh along, retire hurt, or ask people to stop? It’s a dilemma that many of us on the ‘wrong’ side of various lines of privilege (caste, class, gender, race) and those sensitive to these divisions often find ourselves in. Some students at the National Law University, Delhi seem to have been put in a similar situation when during their annual college fest, comedian Avish Mathew of AIB Roast fame would not stop amusing his audience with one offensive joke after another. They first decided to walk out and then came back with a placard saying, “Get out you sexist pig!”

Continue reading Dealing with ‘sexist pigs’? Reflections on the feminist protest against AIB’s Avish Mathew at National Law University, Delhi: A Statement

Women condemn Meenakshi Lekhi’s sexist slandering of Ishrat Jahan

Meenakshi Lekhi
Meenakshi Lekhi

Over 115 women have signed a letter seeking an apology from Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi for her sexist slandering of deceased Ishrat Jahan in a television channel. The letter has also been sent to the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women for appropriate action.

As the noose is tightening around the conspirators who cynically and coldly planned and executed the killing of teenaged Ishrat Jahan and three other people in 2004, there is a concerted campaign – the final, last ditch bid to save their skins – by tarnishing the image of this college student. There have been planted stories in the media linking her to a terrorist group –all of them false and concocted, even as the Gujarat High Court has clearly said that the CBI’s mandate is to simply investigate whether Ishrat and others were killed in cold blood. Continue reading Women condemn Meenakshi Lekhi’s sexist slandering of Ishrat Jahan

Another rape, still more incompetence: Time to teach Delhi Police a Lesson?

A five year old girl is now in a critical condition in a Delhi hospital after being brutalized and raped by a neighbour. The Delhi police, which has dealt with the situation with its characteristic incompetence, first refused to file an FIR when her parents went to the police station, and then, tried to bribe the girls parents with two thousand rupees so as to ‘hush them up’. Subsequently,a young woman who tried to protest against the behaviour of the police at the Dayanand Hospital were the girl was initially taken for treatment was slapped by a policeman, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, in full public view. His actions have been recorded on video. It is believed that the policemen who tried to bribe the victim’s parents and the policeman who slapped the young woman have been suspended.

But can the suspension of a few individuals address what is obviously a deep rooted culture of misogyny and class prejudice (what else is it but class prejudice – would a policeman in a thana, say in an affluent South Delhi colony be able to offer two thousand rupees as ‘hush money’ to parents of an assaulted child with the same ease with which they could in Gandhi Nagar in East Delhi) within the Delhi Police? Is more severe and strict action that goes right to the top and to the source, not necessary in order to send a signal that this kind of behaviour within the police force cannot be tolerated? Must Delhi’s police commissioner not be compelled to resign, for his abysmal failure in terms of dealing with sexism and for failing to address the contempt for citizens who are not affluent that is now clearly endemic to the Delhi Police’s work culture?

Continue reading Another rape, still more incompetence: Time to teach Delhi Police a Lesson?

Male students, female teachers and patriarchy in the classroom: Snehlata Gupta

Guest post by SNEHLATA GUPTA

Smug patriarchal pronouncements about ‘dented and painted’ women and ‘rape in India and Bharat’ brought back to me an experience I faced in the classroom some years ago.

I teach English in grades 11 and 12 in a co-ed school in Delhi. That year I had this rather ‘difficult’ boy in class. I can’t remember now how the discussion really began. The discussion got to the point where students were talking about the amount of freedom available to girls and boys and why girls have far less ‘freedom’ than boys. It was somewhere at this point that this boy stood up (unlike the regular practice of standing to speak in the classroom, I insist students should sit and talk in my class) and stated with complete confidence that  ‘if girls dress so provocatively boys can’t help themselves.’

I remember being completely aghast at this blatant show of patriarchal arrogance. I went all hot and cold in the same moment. Continue reading Male students, female teachers and patriarchy in the classroom: Snehlata Gupta

RSS Supremo Mohan Bhagwat’s Thoughts on Rape

The RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat (or to call him out in the way he is referred to in the Sangh – Sarsanghchalak Param Pujya Shri Mohan-ji Bhagwat-ji) has now joined the pavilion of eminent Bharatiya moustachioed misogynists. In a breathtakingly revealing statement, he has told us that rapes happen in India, not in Bharat. What he means is that rape only occurs in urban areas where the influence of Paschatya Sanskriti (western culture) leads women astray into being raped by men unable to help or control themselves in the face of the assault of women, out and about, by day and night, defying Mohan Bhageat’s Sangh-mandated Lakshman Rekha.

When an upper-caste landlord in a village claims his ‘droit de seigneur’ (land-owner’s claim) with a Dalit woman, it is not rape, it is a yagya, a time honoured shastric ritual. When husbands persuade minor wives on their ‘suhaag raat’ with a few disciplinary measures that leave them with black eyes and sore limbs, it is not rape, it is the carrying out of an Upanishadic injunction. When swamijis, babajis, acharyas and prachaks have their way with ignorant and nabalik shishyas, it is not rape, it is the partaking of the naivedyam of a woman’s body. It is the realisation of a ‘pushp ki abhilasha’, even if the pushp gets pushed around a little bit in the process. Continue reading RSS Supremo Mohan Bhagwat’s Thoughts on Rape

A Modest Proposal for the Castration of Male Police Officers

Dear Kafila Readers,
Here is a modest proposal to castrate police men and male police officers and security forces personnel in India who come into contact with women in the line of duty. I thought it would be an appropriately thoughtful, and at the same time useful and practical way to end a turbulent year. The context from which this modest proposal emerges is elaborated upon below. In a remarkably forthright statement, the chief of police in the state of Andhra Pradesh, Shri Dinesh Reddy in southern India has recently said that ‘fashionably dressed women’, including ‘women who wear salwar kameez in villages’ provoke and invite rape, as men are not able to control their ‘sexual jealousy’ and the ‘police are not able to control men’. The Indian Express and Asian News International (see below) have carried reports of this statement.

Incidentally, the last few years have shown a high incidence of custodial rape all over India, where police men and security forces personnel have raped women detained by them. According to some reports, these incidents are on the rise.  In other words, police men are increasingly unable to control the men that they themselves are. Continue reading A Modest Proposal for the Castration of Male Police Officers

The ‘Whore of Babylon’ – Or, Misogyny, Sexism, CPM Style

It has to be seen and heard to be believed! Former Arambagh CPM(M) MP Anil Basu , addressing an election rally in his home turf likened Mamata Banerjee to a ‘whore of Sonagachi’, who is now getting rich clients from the US to give money for her election campaign! I draw attention to this with the greatest of respect for the women  he is referring to, sex workers who work hard to make a living. When Basu refers to them, however, it nothing but a statement of  misogynist contempt for women in public and reveals, once again the mindset of the Left leadership that rules West Bengal.

Some extracts from today’s Indian Express report:

 “Addressing a rally yesterday, Basu made references to Sonagachi — Kolkata’s red-light area. “Where is she getting the money from?” he asked. “From which bhatar (Bengali derogatory slang for a woman’s “illicit male partner”) did she get Rs 24 crore to fund the Trinamool Congress’s poll expenses?”

Saying that prostitutes in Sonagachi “do not even look at smaller clients” when they get a “big client”, Basu said now that the Trinamool has got a “big client” — the USA — to fund its poll expenses, it is not interested in the “smaller clients” from Chennai, Andhra Pradesh and other places in the country.”

Continue reading The ‘Whore of Babylon’ – Or, Misogyny, Sexism, CPM Style