Dayashankar Singh, Salman Khan and Loose Talk About WomenImage: Young Progressive Voices
By Sunil Garodia
Derek OBrien, the national spokesman of the Trinamool Congress, was spot-on when he said that Dayashankar Singhs obnoxious remarks on Mayawati were not a womans issue only. He said This is not only a women's issue. This is a man's issue. The problem is with men making these statements.
Why is it that men often compare certain situations to sensitive issues related to women? Even before the controversy over Salman Khan comparing his grueling shooting schedule for Sultan to feeling raped has died down comes this absolute howler from Dayashankar Singh. In doing so, men often trivialize certain issues or denigrate women.
Does this represent a pattern in the kind of thinking about women that goes inside male brains in India? In the context of what he said, Singh could have easily compared Mayawati to an unscrupulous businessman. In fact, that would have been an infinitely better way to get his point across. Singh was trying to say that Mayawati was selling party tickets to the highest bidder, and she cancelled a deal struck in the morning if she got a better price in the evening. Singh should have known that this is done by shady businessmen who have no scruples. Instead, he compared her to a sex worker.
Similarly, Salman wanted to convey that he was going through a shooting schedule which was grueling and body sapping. He could have compared it to working in coal mines or constructing roads on hilly terrain or any other equally grueling and sapping job. What made him compare it to rape?
What does Dayashankar Singh know about the oldest profession in the world? How does Salman Khan know what a woman feels when she is raped? Why do men like them compare situations like these two did?
The answer perhaps can be found in the way some men even educated men, maybe more so behave when they are in a group in which there are no women. Some of the men-only congregations indulge in shamefully casual and extremely loose talk about women. Add to this the blatantly patriarchal mentality of a majority of the males in India and you have a combination that is bound to throw up such comparisons. Despite making the right kind of liberal noises at times like the Nirbhaya rape case, a majority of males in India are still not willing to accord due sensitivity to issues concerning women.