No Mr. Khattar! Kashmiri Girls’ Consent Is Not A Joke!

Manohar Khattar's comment on being able to bring back Kashmiri girls, revealed the regressive mentality of several men in India. Does consent even matter?

Manohar Khattar’s comment on being able to bring back Kashmiri girls, revealed the regressive mentality of several men in India. Does consent even matter?

Since the moment Article 370 was scrapped off, social media has been flooded with sleazy videos and memes celebrating that apparently, men from other parts of India will finally be able to marry Kashmiri girls. (Newsflash, they were always able to).

Recently, Haryana’s Chief Minister (CM) and BJP leader Manohar Khattar played his part in a controversy after he “made a joke” saying, “Kashmir has been opened, we can bring girls from Kashmir also.” He made the statement while speaking at an event for the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign event in Fatehabad, Haryana.

During the event, he said, “Anyone, young and old, alike, can understand how this [poor sex ratio] would create a problem in the future… that there will be fewer women and more men. So our (Minister OP Dhankar) Dhankarji said we will have to bring girls from Bihar. Now some people are saying, Kashmir has been opened, we can bring girls from Kashmir also. Jokes aside, if (sex) ratio is fine, then there will be balance in the society.”

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No, Mr Khattar, that statement is not a joke; it is sexist and mistimed and shows the mentality of several men out there. It reveals the bizarre sense of entitlement that men in India have. For them, revoking the article 370 simply means that now they have rights on everything that Kashmir offers, including women.

Because obviously, what is consent right?

Men, have you ever heard of consent?

Firstly, let me get this point straight that Kashmiri women were allowed to marry whoever they wanted to. The only thing that has changed is that now they have property rights. Also if  a ‘gori‘ Kashmiri was not interested in you while Article 370 was in place, she won’t be interested in you now either. There is something wrong with you. So stop looking at Kashmiri girls as a commodity and rejoicing that you can now have a sasural there.

Kashmiri women are like all other Indian women and have the right to decide who they want to marry. Unless, as Mr. Khattar said “Kashmir has been opened, we can bring girls from Kashmir also” because women are a commodity and consent is imaginary, but kidnapping is justified, right?

The condition of Haryana

Although Mr Khattar was addressing his government’s policies for bringing a huge change in the sex ratio by saying that ‘the ratio of girls per 1,000 boys (in Haryana) has gone up from 850 to 933’ there are reports that suggest otherwise.

A report in Times of India comments that although, according to the data gave by the state suggested high sex ratio, in reality audit of figures reported by eight of 10 districts in the first quarter of the year 2017 found girl child numbers were misreported.

Apart from this, state reports suggest that in the past 5 years 663 rapes have been registered in Haryana with Gurugram topping the list.

Hence it will be really good for Mr. Khattar to first protect the girls in Haryana, (sorry, also foetuses) and then think of bringing girls from Kashmir or anywhere else.

Obsession with fair skin

Also, this not the first time a BJP leader has indulged in such sexist comments over the issue. On August 7, a BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district had said that party workers were excited over the scrapping of Article 370 as it would now enable them to marry ‘gori’ (fair) Kashmiri girls.

Vikram Saini made this misogynistic statement as he explained the benefits of the government’s move to end Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. He said bachelors in the BJP were now welcome to go to Kashmir, buy plots of land and get married.

“If a woman from Kashmir got married to a man from Uttar Pradesh, her citizenship would be revoked. There was different citizenship for India and Kashmir,” Saini said addressing the crowd in Hindi.

“Muslim workers should celebrate here. Get married there to a fair Kashmiri girl. There should be celebrations. Everyone should celebrate – be it Hindu or Muslims. This is something the entire country should be celebrating.”

Like seriously, is this what revoking Article 370 means to our leaders and a huge bunch in our country?

Although these words have come out from the mouth of Vikram Saini they represent many of the men of our country. Social media is flooded with videos, pictures and memes of people celebrating because now they’ll finally get to marry gori Kashmiri girls.

Saying that the country should rejoice and celebrate on abrogation of Article 370 because now they can marry gori Kashmiri girls says a lot about our mentality and the obsession we have with fair skin.

This entire incident has highlighted, once again, the sexist, regressive and patriarchal mentality of our society.

We need to understand that its 2019 and even now if we are hankering over fair skin, equating women to property and commodity, still not able to make gender ratios equal and most importantly, ‘joking’ about women and their rights, then there is something flawed in our society.

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About the Author

Nishtha Pandey

I read, I write, I dream and search for the silver lining in my life. Being a student of mass communication with literature and political science I love writing about things that bother me. Follow read more...

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