Skip to main content

To link Gujarat malnutrition to beauty conscious girls is a joke; it disguises ground realities: Top gender expert

Counterview Desk
Senior gender expert, Prof Pam Rajput, who chaired the High Level Committee (HLC) on the Status of Women, formed by the Government of India (GoI), has heavily come down on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's controversial statement three years ago, where he attributed malnutrition in Gujarat to 'beauty conscious' young girls.
In an interview with the US daily "Wall Street Journal" Modi, explaining the challenge of malnutrition in Gujarat, had said, "Gujarat is by and large a vegetarian state. Gujarat is also a middle-class state. The middle-class is more beauty conscious than health conscious -- that is a challenge. If a mother tells her daughter to have milk, they'll have a fight. She'll tell her mother, 'I won't drink milk. I'll get fat'."
Talking with newspersons in Ahmedabad, where she had come to attend a workshop organized by  a top NGO network, Working Group for Women and Landownership (WGWLO), on women cultivators' right to land, Rajput said, without naming Modi, that those who seek to link malnutrition in Gujarat being beauty conscious are "making a joke and disguising ground realities."
Rajput said, "There are two type of women: Those who are undernourished because they do not get anything to eat, and there are others who do not eat because they want to go on the ramp. The latter in an extreme, minuscule minority. You must go to the interior areas of India to find out whether people have anything to eat and see poverty to understand undernourishment of women."
In an indirect allusion to what is happening in Central Gujarat's milk-rich areas, where women are not fed with milk, as it is a commodity which needs to be sold for want of money, Rajput said, "Today, Punjab is competing with Bihar in undernourishment. Families do not feed milk to girls, because it has to be sold in the market. This is causing anemia among girls."
Rajput, who is former professor of the Punjab University, submitted her report to the GoI in June 2015. She said, the report has been "accepted" by the GoI, and its executive summary has been placed on the website of the Ministry of Woman and Child, while the final report will be uploaded next month. However, a search of of the website suggested that the Page does not exist (click HERE to see).
In July, the ministry organised a one workshop discuss recommendations of the Rajput committee report, attended by representatives of 22 Ministries of Government of India, 10 State Governments and 22 Civil Society Organizations. During the workshop, she reportedly highlighted the areas requiring action, especially legal aspects, financial inclusion, skill development, and so on.
The report wants the GoI to formulate a National Policy and Action Plan to end violence against women, even as strongly insisting that a separate committee should be set up to study the status of Muslim women in the country, which should study the impact of identity politics on Muslim women as such politics leads to communal riots and revives forces that impose outdated values on women.
The report takes strong exception to the two-child norm, saying the norm should be revisited as it is related to missing girl children. Recommending dialogue with Hindu religious leaders to arrest the falling sex ratio, it says, they should be asked to tell communities to include daughters in rituals and practices.
One of the most controversial recommendations of the report is make marital rape an offence, pointing out, this will bring down son preference related to socio-cultural practices. It also talked of allowing marital and sexual choices to be protected through amendments to IPC section 377, thus legalizing same sex relationship.
"We have highlighted in the report that while laws do exist to protect women, sensitivity among government officials, especially at the middle and lower levels, is lacking to implement them", Rajput told newspersons, pointing towards the issues discussed in it -- declining sex ratio, economic disempowerment of women, increasing incidence of violence against women, environmental issues which are linked to increasing incidence of cancer among women, and so on.

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.

Narmada Valley's fossil evidence: Ground for 'nationalists' to argue primates' India roots?

By Saurav Sarkar*  In December 1982, a geologist digging in India’s Central Narmada Valley found something he did not expect. Arun Sonakia, who at the time worked for the Geological Survey of India, unearthed a hominid fossil skullcap from the Pleistocene era. The discovery sent shockwaves through the field of paleoanthropology and put South Asia on the map of human prehistory. Some experts concluded that the skull likely belonged to a member of a predecessor species of ours, Homo heidelbergensis , or perhaps was a hybrid of homo species, while Sonakia himself suggested “ an affinity… to Homo erectus .”