Skip to main content

Another controversy around Kejriwal: Top activist asks, why shouldn't women make a fuss?

Kavita Krishnan
By Our Representative
In a fresh controversy surrounding Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, women activists have taken strong exception to his latest statement on the International Women’s Day (IWD), where he asked men to follow his wife and mother who had supported him during the Aam Admi Party (AAP) campaign in Delhi by continuing their household work. “During my fight against corruption, my wife ran the house while my mother supported me,” he had said.
Kejriwal said in an audio message on radio from Bengaluru, where he has been under naturopathy treatment for high blood sugar and cough, said, “I salute their rock solid tolerance. There is a lot of things that men should learn from them (women), but I have seen that some men comment on their dresses and do an assessment of their character... They talk absurd things about women and also molest them.”
At the same time, he said, “Men who do not respect women outside can never respect women in their homes,” he said, adding, “My message is to all the men in the city. It is admirable how women fulfill their responsibilities honestly and without making any fuss. They play many roles such as that of a mother, daughter, wife, sister and daughter-in-law… They do their job and also take care of their families.”
In a statement posted on Facebook by Shabnam Hashmi, well-known human rights activist, Kavita Krishnan, radical women’s rights leader, has said, “On IWD, the Delhi CM has chosen not to give a message of solidarity to the women's movement fighting for justice, equality and freedom for women. Instead he has chosen to give a paternalistic message that reinforces the stereotype of women in family roles, supportive and nurturing of men.”
“Kejriwal cited the role of his wife and mother in running the house and supporting him while he fought against corruption. This sounds ominously like 'Men will lead, women will run the house and support men who lead'. Is it because he sees this as the only fit role for women that he has no women in his Cabinet and his party's political affairs committee (PAC)?”, Krishan said.
According to Krishnan, “Kejriwal praises 'how women fulfil responsibilities honestly without making any fuss’.” She adds, this suggests Kejriwal hasn’t been listening to “thousands of Delhi women”, who “have in fact been 'making a fuss' about the gendered division of labour and at having to fulfil familial roles as if that's 'women's work' alone!”
“By praising women for not making a fuss about this, you have insulted the legacy of International Women's Day, the day commemorating a century of 'fuss' and fight by women”, Krishnan, who edits a Communist journal, “Liberation, and heads All-India Progressive Women’s Association, said.
“You praise women for their 'rock solid tolerance'. Tolerance of what? Is IWD an occasion to praise women for 'tolerating' injustice, inequality, unfreedom?”, Krishnan asked, adding, “You chose IWD as an occasion to give a message to men. But why a message of 'safety'? Why not tell men on IWD to share the roles of housework and childcare and cooking equally with women? Why not tell men to respect and defend the freedom of women inside their own homes?”
Appealing to all Delhiites to make the city safe, Kejriwal had said, “I want that we should make Delhi such a city where every woman feels free and lives happily. On the eve of Women’s Day, I salute all women of Delhi…Happy Women’s Day.”

Comments

ss said…
Extremely well put.. Thanks Kavita!!
Neeraj Nanda said…
I agree with Shabnam and Kavita that justice, equality and freedom for women is a must and that is the message of the International Women's Day. But does that mean reversal of roles or an equal sharing of responsibilities or no exceptional circumstances. If the Delhi CM was busy campaigning and his wife and mother took care of the home that does not mean an affront to women. I am sure the Delhi CM when not busy must be contributing to household chores or equally sharing the load. Both an extreme feminist approach or an extreme male chauvinist approach will not help in the aim to create gender equality. The answer lies somewhere in between. There are no straight answers and solutions.

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.