There was something about Tulsi, as played by Smriti Irani. She was respectful, mindful of her duties, and yet unbent, unbowed, unbroken. She had a lot of strength. Of course we only came to know Smritiji after she started playing that character, so the question remains, did Smritiji become more like Tulsi, or does Tulsi have a bit of what Ms Irani always has been?
Well, no matter how it went, she is a firebrand. A confident, assertive, self-made woman who should have been a feminist icon, but will never be. She breaks so many of the ideas the feminists want us to accept.
Firstly, this lade, a successful model and actor, comes from an RSS family. Aren’t these paternalistic pigs supposed to lock up their women? How did she reach the finals of Miss India, then? How did she even enter Miss India?
It was not an easy road, though. Regardless of whether her family supported her ambitions, they never had the means to support her. At the age when most middle class people are becoming fascinated with Ghazals and Floyd, Smriti Irani was cleaning restaurants to support herself. Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi was not a fluke. She had already worked in TV, proved her chops. She became, and remains, the most iconic TV star of her generation. She brought to life a new kind of heroine, and popularized a new kind of TV. For the first time ever, the TV remote was controlled by the women in the family. She brought about a new kind of revolution, not even seen in the West. Soap was primetime, and prime money maker for the channels. Soaps had a huge female cast, and a few supporting men at the periphery. This could not have been possible without the ground broken by Tulsi. But Smriti Irani continues to receive zero credits from the feminists.
Route from entertainment to politics is not a new one. From the actor-CMs of south to the inconsequential stints in the north, celebrity politicians are a dime a dozen. And yet again, the path of Smriti Irani was most unusual. She didn’t join politics when her career started to fade. Nor did she do that to get an instant ticket to an easy seat. She joined at the peak of her career in 2003. She worked as volunteer, and proved her commitment. She has never fought an easy election. She fought against Kapil Sibbal on his home turf. She fought Rahul Gandhi on his family estate. And even in electoral defeat, she seemed a winner. She fought hard and fair, and keeps working at Amethi till date.
That tenacity, courage, perseverance should get applause from the feminists who want to combat portrayal of women as weak. Smriti Irani continues to get none of that.
Even as a minister, she has a notorious ministry. HRD is where people go to trade favors for money. HRD is where ministers lounge with no real thought to the work being done. No more. She has been working tirelessly, across party lines, and in a fairly transparent manner. She has managed to make the best of the opportunity given to her. Feminists should…… they won’t…… we know how this goes.
But why don’t they celebrate Smriti Irani? Ideology and agenda. The feminist ideology has always been to the left. Now it is dangerously so. They would never ever want a right wing strong female because that just challenges their world view that all problems emanate from the right-wing. They would also never celebrate a winner because they have identified themselves with whiners. They want stories of how bad women have it rather than stories about women achievers.
And that’s why they are no longer protecting the interests of the women they claim to support. They are just tools in the hands of the leaders of the left, all men. Thats the irony. Feminism is just something to do for the leftist women.
For everyone else, there’s the real life achiever, Ms Smriti Irani, our real life, improved version of Tulsi.