Human existence can primarily be seen through the prism of two process- one, the biological evolution of the human race as its consequent repercussions, and two, the development of distinct political ideologies which have divided modern humans into different categories. In the West, the conflict has largely been between the forces of Capitalism and Marxism. The former is generally viewed as being conservative, anti-freedom, and now anti-women, while the latter is projected to be the ‘ideology with a difference,’ a more liberating philosophy which has successfully created a utopian dream of a world order based on the principle of equality and justice. While these principles are indeed essential for human existence, it is not necessarily the prerogative of the Marxists alone. History is replete with examples of injustice being meted out to people in countries run by Communist governments. Joseph Stalin was no less than a dictator than either Mussolini or Hitler!
The war of ideologies has left an indelible mark on all corners of the world, and India is no exception to this. In our country, however, the war has taken an insurmountable turn. It is, indeed better to have tanks rolled on to the battlefield than engage in this war of minds with people from all denominations asking you on which side of the fence you stand. The situation is so grim that it is almost a crime to speak your mind and proclaim your ideological leanings. If one is left-wing, it is still cool but if you are right, the world comes crashing you, and the amount of horrendous questions people ask you, makes it difficult to even breathe. “So you must be supporting the dowry system?” “How can you claim to be feminist and talk about women’s empowerment if you are right-wing?” “What are your thoughts on bride-burning and dictates of the khaap panchayat?” these are just a few examples of the queries hurled at you.
So, one has to support rape, molestation, khaap panchayat, bride burning, dowry, and other social evils if one supports right-wing, because women’s empowerment is preserve for people like Kavita Krishnan, Shehla Rashid and Rana Ayyub! If Smriti Irani speaks about women’s liberation, she is ridiculed for being a hypocrite because she wears bindi, sindoor and mangalsutra, and how on earth can a women wearing these “symbols of slavery” ever speak about liberation? When Nirmala Sitharaman became the Defence Minister, the left-liberal gang starts murmuring about her credentials and her inability to be able to function independently under PM Modi and Shah. When Uma Bharti was given the task of cleaning up the Ganges, the gang hurled profanities at her, expressing their deep concern over how a sadhvi is going to get the job done. However, one should make no mistake about this, Indira Gandhi was an epitome of strength, Sonia Gandhi is an epitome of sacrifice, Mayawati is a symbol of grit and determination, Mamata Banerjee is the goddess of secularism.
A group organized a seminar in Delhi with an aim to present an alternative narrative to the existing left-liberal feminist discourse which is unfortunately the dominant discourse of our times. The reportage on the seminar in newspapers was so utterly fallacious that as an invited speaker, I felt stifled and nauseated. One paper claimed that it was an attempt by the RSS to demean women, not knowing that the only purpose of the seminar was to glorify the contributions made by Indian women in nation building.
In today’s times, it seems to be a despicable crime to think and speak from a perspective which differs from the left-liberal scheme of things. This is particularly evident in our treatment of women’s issues. The stranglehold of the left-liberal intelligentsia over academics and the non-governmental sector has forced everyone to believe that only they are the messiahs of women’s empowerment, inversely meaning that women who espouse right-wing thinking are doormats while those who shout their lungs out against the nation at JNU are the super-liberated ones.
Women’s liberation, it needs to be understood and has nothing to do with either Capitalism or Marxism, neither does it feature as a sub-theme in the political rhetoric of the Congress or the CPI in India. The BJP might not be a champion of women’s liberation either and neither does it claim to be, but by demeaning the efforts of women from the party who are playing a role in the development of the nation, the left-liberals are projecting themselves to be the miserable lot. Their erroneous arguments are not even substantiated by facts.
A word of caution for my left-liberal friends: Feminism is not what you wear, it is not what ideology you follow, it is how you celebrate yourself as a woman. Feminism is a celebration of womanhood, not the victory of a certain ideology.