It is a just another way to insult the male, to ask him with evident contempt whether he wears bangles or to tell him with scorn to go wear bangles and sit at home (like a woman). Welcome to the world where you insult a man by insulting all women.

A few days back actor Anupam Kher said on his micro-blogging site, (referring to Mukul Roy’s incident) “When a minister refuses to visit an accident site where so many have died he should resign, wear bangles and sit at home.” (read here)

This incurred the wrath of Taslima Nasreen, the Bangladeshi writer and activist and rightly so, methinks. In fact I would go so far as to say it should incur the wrath of ALL women, not just Taslima Nasreen.

Why is it that anyone who wants to put down a man, compares him to a woman?? What the hell is there to be ashamed of in being a woman, can anyone tell me? Or what is wrong in wearing a sari or bangles? I have been wondering about this since my childhood, since the time I have been able to understand language enough to decipher what this meant.

When we were smaller we used to sing Poonthanam’s Jnanapana at evening prayers. There is a part that goes

Nari chathu naranayi pirakkunnu

Naari chathu oriyayi pokunnu

A tiger (nari) dies and is reborn as man (naran) and a woman (naari) dies and becomes a fox (ori)

I was quite young but still, these particular lines made me feel resentful. The certainty that women are inherently evil and the assumption that they will indeed be reborn as foxes in their next life angered me. Of course I was told it was the rhyme and metre that was behind the lines being written this way. But did that stop all and sundry (and also those who gave the explanation as rhyme and meter) from quoting these lines to put women in their lowly place? Oh no siree. It was just another case of repeat something a thousand times and soon everyone will take it for the gospel truth.

From there I grew up to hear men being called such gems as son of a bitch and other similar things. Never simply a dog (though it’s a pity that a fine animal has to be degraded thus), but son of a bitch. Without bringing the bitch into it, it seems there is not enough ammunition. Now why the hell should the woman be dragged in when the purpose is to insult the man?

The same goes for those stronger abuses that call mothers and sisters into the fray when a man has to be slighted. No, I am no prude. You can use all your bad language you want in my presence and I won’t turn a hair. But I still fail to understand why when the aim is to insult a man, women have to be dragged in and degraded. And here I point not to just men but to clueless women as well who delight in demeaning themselves and their sisters.

Oh I know the obvious answers that are going to come up as reasons for this. It starts with ‘Men are hunters and women are gatherers by nature and goes on blah blah blah followed by a lot more of blah blahs. Gawd, give me a break.

Anything and everything that you object to, in the treatment of women in the modern world, has its origin in men having been hunters and women gatherers. This is somewhat similar to saying the reason X has become a criminal is because his favorite toy rattle had been taken away from him while he was still a baby. That will not excuse him from being arrested and charged with whatever excesses he has committed, will it?? So let us bung the hunter-gatherer theories aside and think of the here and now. A teaspoon of gray matter is all it requires to understand the matter at hand.

When a man abuses another by comparing him to a woman who wears bangles and sits at home, isn’t he actually abusing all the women of his own household starting from his mother, followed by his sister(s), wife, daughter(s), and all other women in his extended family?? So any time he does that the women in his household should put him in his place. If home is such a shameful place to be in let him go sleep on the pavement. And if wearing bangles and sari is shameful all the more reason to change over to jeans. Moral Police be damned.

What about the women? They are no less in using the same choodiyan pehen rakha  hai kya against men. Such women are like Kalidasa, who supposedly cut the branch on which he was seated. They are nothing but fools who demean their own selves and other women too in the bargain. Imagine a woman abusing a man by calling him a woman?!! Can anything get more absurd than that?! And yet sadly enough, all around me I see it happening. Looks like women themselves are ashamed to be women.

Taslima Nasreen said Anupam Kher’s thinking is backward. I don’t think there is any two opinions on it. You definitely get the impression when you hear what he had to say in reply:

“Friends please stop reacting to self-styled activists. We are brought up on Indian proverbs. You need to be an Indian to understand them.” (read here)

I am not any self-styled activist Mr.Anupam Kher. And I am an Indian to boot, brought up on Indian proverbs just like you. So I do understand them as much as you do and my understanding of them says exactly this: that they are humiliating to women.

You and those others (men and women alike) who use such ‘Indian’ sayings have no respect for women of your family as well as women in general. You are an intelligent actor. Even if you said this out of force of habit (every Indian has been hearing this from the time he is born, so I admit that could have happened) when someone (in this case Taslima Nasreen) pointed out how misogynistic what you said is, instead of seeing the truth in it, you chose to hide behind excuses. Now, that is rather shameful of you and a bit depressing for us.