Misogyny, Politics and Zombiedom: From Sonia Gandhi to Botsa Satyanarayana
After Sushma Swaraj called a rape survivor a zombie – ‘Zinda Laash’, it is now the Congress Party’s turn to field its prime misogynists and women haters. If the stalwarts of the BJP have unleased their righteous blood-lust by calling for capital punishment (which they do routinely for many things) how can the good men and women of the Congress party allow themselves to be left behind in the competition for civilised discourse?
The Times of India has a report which I am quoting below that spells out Andhra Pradesh Congress Chief Botsa Satyanarayana’s thoughts on women’s safety.
“Andhra Pradesh Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana on Monday opened his mouth to put his foot right in, saying women are asking for trouble if they venture out at night. Worse, he described the assault on the physiotherapy student as a “minor incident” for which party president Sonia Gandhi had reached out to agitating people.
“Just because India achieved freedom at midnight does not mean that women can venture out after dark. They should ensure that they do not board buses with few passengers,” Botsa said to the shock of reporters at a press conference at Congress headquarters here.
Botsa’s comment came in context of growing protests against the gang-rape and violence against women in general. He then tried to cover up for his remark by praising Sonia. “Although it (Delhi gang-rape) was a minor incident, Soniaji made it a point to meet the protesters when they called on her,” Botsa said.
There was no stopping Botsa as he continued, “The woman should have thought twice before boarding the suspicious private bus that night. Though the incident was condemnable, she should also have behaved keeping in mind the situation.”
He also slammed the protesters “taking the law into their hands” at Vijay Chowk in Delhi and then decreed that since the UPA chairperson had taken note of the incident, there should be no further agitations either in Delhi or in Andhra Pradesh.”
We have already heard Sushil Kumar Shinde, Union Home Minister say that he cannot have the ‘prestige’ of Raisina Hil besmirched by the presence of young agitators, who were entirely peaceful until tear gas and water cannons were fired at them. The prestige of Raisina Hill, as we know well, is maintained by the Union Ministry of the Interior through other channels. Through the prohibitory orders of section 144 in Delhi and the maintenance of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in Kashmir and the North East.
We have also heard the Prime Minister, who speaks more passionately on FDI than he does on women’s safety, ask his polite ‘Theek Hai’? (‘Was that OK?’ ) to the ANI technicians who recorded his belated statement on the question of women’s safety in the wake of the Delhi Gang Rape on camera.
At another level of course, all the UPAs politicians ask ‘theek hai ?’ to Madam UPA Chairperson in parenthesis to everything they do or say. And Madam Chairperson’s silent, or taciturn comments, are the marks of her approval and disapproval of their every move. They rise and fall with her every nod. Their political life and death, or suspension between life and death, of Congress politicians depends on her monosyllabic approval or disapproval, and the occasionally resonant silences between ‘yes’ and her ‘no’ that emanate from 10 Janpath.
If Madam Chaiperson, Shrimati Sonia Gandhi does not say anything to Botsa Satyanarayana and to Sushil Kumar Shinde, we can only understand that she assents with the nonsense that her satraps spew, or that she does not find it within herself to disagree. It is true that Botsa Satyanarayana has said that he was misunderstood. Just as many are saying that Sushma Swaraj was misunderstood. We must always make room for enlarging our understanding of people who are willing to lock women in at night or hang people as a solution to everything. But is an apology, for being ‘misunderstood’ on whether or not women should be out at night, enough? Does Sonia Gandhi think it is enough ? If she does not let us know otherwise, we can only assume that Sonia Gandhi approves of her Andhra Pradesh Party Chief’s views on whether or not women are free citizens only for part of the day or also at night and with Sushil Kumar Shinde that the prestige of Raisina Hill is maintained by tear gas and water cannon. There is only one way for us to know.
Will the Congress high command find it within its power to dismiss Botsa Satyanarayana and Sushil Kumar Shinde from their positions ? Or is the Congress Party, like many other political parties allied and in opposition to it, a political zombie, a zinda laash, incapable of acting when its own organs go rogue.
We will wait and watch. I might even watch a zombie movie while I wait.
More from Kafila:
- Bakht Arif, from Pakistan, sings Zinda Lash for Patronizing Indian Politicians (No, Don’t Listen to Honey Singh)
- How Delhi police assaulted my daughter on 25 December: Usha Saxena
- An ‘I Witness’ Account of Delhi Police and RAF Violence at India Gate on 23 December: Sangeeta Das
- Armed Forces Special Powers Act provides impunity for rape: Warisha Farasat
- Stop Shielding Criminals in the Army and Security Forces in Assam: Bondita and Anjuman
- Play Haze Kay not Honey Singh: Music from Kashmir against Rape for Delhi
- Rape is allowed because most people don’t know what it is: Anonymous
- Sexual Violence and Sexuality Education – The Missing Link: Ketaki Chowkhani
- Misogyny, Politics and Zombiedom: From Sonia Gandhi to Botsa Satyanarayana
- How the God of Death Changed His Mind: Images from the Protest Against Rape at Jantar Mantar
- This is to clarify a small misunderstanding: Anusha Rizvi
- How not to think about violence against women: Noopur Tiwari
- Statement by women’s and progressive groups and individuals condemning sexual violence and opposing death penalty