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22y.o. Arya Rajendran: If I’ve Become Mayor At This Age I Know Very Well How To Handle This

Posted: June 18, 2021

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When opposition members made a personal attack on her age and gender on social media, Kerala’s 22 year old Mayor puts them in their place with resolute confidence.

“Know your power. When you do, others will know your power too” – Nancy Pelosi.

Arya Rajendran had made headlines by getting elected as the Mayor of the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation when she was still a college student. Yesterday she again showed clearly the mettle she is made of, when she admonished council members in no uncertain terms, when they were disrespectful and sexist.

Sexist and ageist comments were made by opposition party members

An opposition member had made a social media post in which he mocked her for her age and gender, calling her ‘an LKG child from AKG Centre’. The AKG Centre referred to is the CPI(M) headquarters in the state. There have been several similar instances where personal, derogatory statements have been made against her since she assumed the Mayor position. But Arya decided to take the bulls by the horns this time and did so in the Assembly this afternoon.

Arya Rajendran boldly called out the frequent slandering she has been subjected to and specifically mentioned the several instances where she was criticized for her age and gender on social media platforms. “Since the past six months, there have been many criticisms that you raised..,” she said. “Many times all of you have criticised me personally, and otherwise, on my age, maturity,…Today also, some members here passed such remarks.” Let me tell you clearly, if I have become a Mayor at this age, I know exactly how to work accordingly and I can tell you with pride that I grew up through such a system!”

Despite being interrupted several times, she stood strong and made sure her point was heard. Arya was absolutely clear in her stance when she mentioned that “Even if my party workers do it, insulting a woman is a condemnable act.”

She may be young, but she is strong

Mayor Arya Rajendran might be young, but she was raised by activist parents and has been attending political events since childhood. She later became the State president of Balasangam (a children’s organization) and chose politics of her own will.

She has created a new record by becoming India’s youngest Mayor, and is an inspiration for young women in a country where politics is still a male-dominated arena. Despite being the world’s largest demography with women contributing to half the vote bank, the representation of female candidates continues to be a measly figure. The patriarchal mindset and frequent slandering of women in politics has become more prevalent with the advent of social media.

Women in politics have always been targeted and underestimated

An Amnesty International study conducted last year shows a shocking scale of abuse faced by female politicians on Twitter. 1 in every 7 tweets that mentioned women politicians were problematic or abusive with hurtful or hostile content. A deeper look at the tweets showed that sexism was experienced by women across all spectrums of political ideology and affiliation, religion, caste, race, age, marital status and election outcome.

And this is exactly what happened to Arya Rajendran.

Donald Trump has attacked Nancy Pelosi, American politician serving as the Speaker of the US House of Representatives on twitter on several occasions. But the 81-year old seasoned politician has never hesitated to stand up against him and once stated “Every knock from him is a boost”.

Women politicians from India have also always been subjected to insults but have battled against all odds and won. Senior members of the Congress had taken Indira Gandhi for granted and called her ‘Goongi Gudiya’. Men in the crowd around her in the legislative house had pulled at Jayalalitha’s saree. And recently the BJP leaders called Mamata gendered slurs – just to recall a few instances. This trend has not changed over decades but has actually become worse with the advent of social media, and our women politicians have become true warriors in standing up to these attacks while continuing to do their duties as elected representatives.

Arya Rajendran’s closing statement “Let me tell you clearly, if I have become a Mayor at this age, I know exactly how to work accordingly and I can tell you with pride that I grew up through such a system. I know very well how to handle this” is proof that she is no rookie who made it to the Mayor seat but a veteran politician in the making. Miles to go, but she is at the start of a challenging fight for which she is more than prepared.

Electrical engineer turned into Marketer. From heartland of Tamilnadu but almost Mumbaikaar.

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