If Mr Azam Khan Feels Entitled To Disrespect A Woman In A Powerful Position, What Of Others?

Posted: July 29, 2019

SP MP Azam Khan making a sexist remark to a woman in the seat of the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha is horrifying misogyny in an elected representative!

During a Lok Sabha debate on the issue of Triple Talaq, when asked to come straight to the point instead of beating about the bush, and address the Speaker’s chair directly, MP Azam Khan said to the Deputy Speaker Rama Devi, (loosely translated) “You look lovely I could keep gazing into your eyes”.

This is a sexist remark that has no reason to be in a place like the Parliament!

There has been an uproar, and rightfully so, in the Parliament of India for the sexist shocker that has been hurled at the Honourable Deputy Speaker of India who happens to be a woman, by Azam Khan who has considerable political experience, and also a track record of disrespecting women.

Yes this has happened in the ‘Temple of Democracy’ which is responsible for formulating national policies. This is clearly against the dignity of the chair and against the dignity of women; in fact it is not just the disrespect of one particular woman, but a disgrace for the men of this country – an example of misogyny.

Ironically it happened during the debate on triple talaq which is again associated with ensuring gender justice, and the dignity of Muslim women of this country.

Sexist remark to a woman in a powerful position

I wonder if a woman on a powerful position can be humiliated in this way then what kind of perspective he might be having for the common women of this country.  This certainly raises serious question on the safety of women especially when we are having representatives like these.

We are living in the 21st century where slowly the movement for women empowerment has gained a great momentum. On one hand there is a commitment towards women empowerment, ensuring women safety, dignity of women, equal rights for women, equipping women with constitutional and legal rights, whereas on the other hand there is casual sexism which is completely unwarranted.

Gone are the days when women would silently tolerate such abusive and misogynist comments. Today’s women must certainly not endure such comments, and these serial offenders should certainly not get away with it so very easily. Regressive, sexist, misogynist comments should be strongly condemned.

What kind of representatives are we electing?

Such statements are a bitter reality of the feudal and patriarchal mindset that prevails in our society. It also raises a debate on the voting pattern, that what kind of representatives we are choosing as voters? Time to re-think – and look to choosing progressive leaders rather than the ones with regressive ideas, as a precursor to a healthy and an equal society in a Democracy.

Mere slogans won’t make the difference. It’s time to act, and time to ‘walk the talk’ to set an example for society, and ensure the dignity of women. It is important to send the message across that women can no longer be treated as a commodity, and no one can say whatever they want to according to their whims and impulses to a woman, and get away with it so easily.

This road that leads to violence against women

Violence against women is deeply entrenched in the patriarchal and feudal mindset of the society. This violence manifests itself in physical harm, psychological abuse, gaslighting, mental torture, verbal abuse, and often in the form of casual sexism and misogynist comments.

Women in such a society undergo explicit and implicit violence on a regular basis.

Be it a homemaker or a working women, violence against women is a complex and an all pervading phenomena which actually speaks volumes about the mentality of society and men in particular; throwing open a larger debate about the way men are raised. Thus it is extremely important to instill a democratic & equal environment at home so that we can raise sensitive men who grow up to respect women.

The statement made by Azam Khan to the Honorable Deputy Speaker of India is highly deplorable. Not only this but during the 2019 election campaigning he once again used abusive words against MP Jayaprada. From then to now there hasn’t been much of a change.

Enough of the lawmakers behaving badly…

Violence against women is a gross violation of human rights and against the fundamental rights of women guaranteed to us in the constitution of India.

Women in India are a discriminated lot, and when political representatives make such derogatory remarks about women and such comments are endorsed for petty political gains, then it can rightfully be said that we are far from being progressive in our thinking about the women of this country.

It is extremely crucial to provide 33% reservation in Parliament and national assemblies to women candidates to increase women’s political representation, making them a powerful force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately the 33% reservation bill still lays in the cold storage.

There is a need to take strict action. The present government has given several slogans of ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ ‘Nari to Narayani’ – if it is a vision, it’s time to act – time to ensure the safety and dignity of women of this country. Mere slogans won’t work.

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