From the Viewsroom

MJ Akbar must go

Poornima Joshi | Updated on October 16, 2018 Published on October 16, 2018

BJP has failed women and stood by bastions of male supremacy

It is with a sense of utter disbelief and despair that one watches the Prime Minister Narendra Modi allow MJ Akbar to not just keep his job but aggressively shame victims of his unwelcome sexual advances. In what seems like a parody of the US President Donald Trump mocking Christine Blasey Ford who testified that his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had molested her, the BJP-led Centre is lending its support to a man accused by at least 14 women of having been a sexual predator. The PM and the entire Cabinet, barring Smriti Irani and Maneka Gandhi, are complicit by their silence as the belligerent junior minister attributes motives and targets women. Perhaps, the fear is that acting against Akbar may empower #MeToo to take on other men in positions of power.

Quite clearly, the politically savvy men in the ruling dispensation have factored in the cost of keeping such a man as Akbar on. #MeToo and the spontaneous outrage against the culture of silence around men in power using their masculine entitlement to harass women, is accompanied by an equally strident conservative backlash against it. Mocking, questioning and attributing motives to women who have put forth their accounts is as common in the ongoing public discourse as the heartening support and solidarity they have received for their courage. It is a resilient patriarchy and entrenched conservatism striking back against the agents of social change. The ruling party has thrown its lot with the conservatives, and the brave women in #MeToo are presumably clubbed with the Lutyen’s Liberals/Urban Naxal et al as politically inconsequential chattering classes.But women will not forget that by brazening it out with Akbar and his bunch of posh lawyers, the BJP has stood with the bastions of male supremacy. The ruling party is failing not just the women in their collective quest for dignity and equality but the basic tenets of social democracy in India.

Published on October 16, 2018
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