While the country still seethes in anger over the gang rape of a 23 year old in the capital city, one can always count upon our revered politicians and public figures to provide invaluable insights with a dash of unintended comic relief. As appalling as these statements might be, there is no doubt that they make you scoff at them and gag at their stupidity/ naivety.
A diamond among such imbecile statements was unarguably the ‘dented and painted’ comment made by none other than our President’s son, Mr. Abhijeet Mukherjee. While the feminists rose up in anger against such an insensitive comment, many still pondered over the true meaning of this profound phrase. While some thought that his grief for the girl had caused some confusion and led him to compare the female populace at the protests to automobiles, others thought he was he was referring to the low moral character of these women simply because they weren’t students.
What followed was immediate condemnation from not only the general public but also from within the family. His sister, Sharmishtha Mukherjee, was quick to distance herself as well as their father from his comment and apologized on his behalf. It was probably this, coupled with the late realization that his comment would ‘dent’ and ‘paint’ his father’s image that drew an ‘unconditional apology’ from him soon after.
Now, without going into its details cause we’ve seen it flashed around enough, there’s no doubting the fact that such a comment is extremely sexist and misogynist. And the very fact that he should be making this comment at a time when the real focus should have been on how to treat the women of this country better and not victimize them further is, to say the very least, appalling.
But the real issue here is not what meets the eye at first glance. It’s not about who said it or even what he said. It’s about the crude mentality that lies behind the comment. For one, who gives anyone the right to make comments on a woman’s moral character only because she dresses up? If a student is raped in the nation’s capital city, do only students belonging to that particular age group have the right to demand justice for her? When will the ‘real men’ and the ‘protectors’ of this highly patriarchal society wake up to realize that the women around them are more than just sexual objects to be leered at? When will they accept that women deserve their rightful place in this society for the sole reason that they have to put up with such demeaning behavior from their male counter parts? When will they understand that they cannot forever rely on their sisters to apologize for their crude remarks?
It’s not an apology that we as women of this country demand. It’s retribution for not just the victim but for all the times that we’ve been subjected to lewd comments and gestures. We demand respect and dignity from all the ‘bhaiyas’ around us without having to beg for it. And maybe then they’ll deserve to be called our ‘bhaiyas’.