Monday, July 11, 2016

How the Regressive Left took over Feminism

Former Minster for External Affairs under UPA-II, Salman Khurshid, has acted in a music video with the German ambassador and his wife. Former HRD and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has written lyrics for a Bollywood song. Neither of these things make them unfit for the high office that they hold though, and none of them have been discussed about based on what they wear. Now, if they were women, they may have been subject to taunts about being dumb bimbos only fit for entertainment, and such taunts would've gotten a strong reply for feminists who are ever-quick to point out inherent sexism in the Indian political system.

Unless that woman happens to be Smriti Irani (or any one from the right wing, actually), in which case feminism can go take a dump. This is tragic really because, irrespective of political ideology, sexist attacks are wrong. Women who have acted on TV or movies are not dumb, especially not ones who have lifted themselves up from poverty in the process. By virtue of her background, Irani knows much more about the common man than the Harvard-educated czars who pontificate against her, which is why she is so popular with the right wing.

But for feminists, all this does not matter. She is a cabinet minister under Modi, and the hatred from that trumps all. Hypocrisy is the hallmark of the Regressive Left, a term originally meant to describe the strange Leftist love for Islam - something Tarekh Fatah once called Shariah Bolshevism. Today, the Regressive Left has entered into several spheres, from secularism ("terrorism has no religion unless it is perpetrated by Hindus/Christians/Jews/Buddhists"), casteism ("caste discrimination is wrong unless it is Brahmins who are on the receiving end"), journalism (which does not even need any examples), and yes, feminism. If they wonder why right wing governments are being elected across the world, they should consider just how badly their hypocrisy has been called out thanks to the spread of social media and the democratization of the narrative.

The thing about Irani is, while she has certainly made some mistakes and was largely an average HRD minister, she was doomed the moment she had the portfolio. If the Regressive Left can demonize MM Joshi, Irani was nothing. The Left survives only in universities today, and the HRD Ministry is the one that can end their pilferage of state resources. They need to keep it under a constant state of siege in order to maintain the status quo underneath. Irani could not possibly handle that, and I doubt her successor can either. However, her clout is growing, especially in Amethi, and while she is down now, the Regressive Left should not count her out. They forget that the cycle of time turns, and it will eventually turn on them. Aunty National may just have the last laugh.

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