By Kancha Ilaiah
The photograph of Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, holding a poster while standing alongside some Indian journalists and Dalit-Bahujan women activists, is being made into a big issue by Brahminical forces from BJP/RSS platforms. The poster read “Smash Brahminical Patriarchy”. Union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, apart from T V Mohandas Pai and others, made it an alarmist issue and some even used it as opportunity to intimidate the journalists and activists.
The poster must be seen against the backdrop of what is happening in the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The issue of women of menstruating age, between 10 and 50, not being into the shrine has drawn global attention. It is known that the RSS/BJP is supporting the anti-women agitation at Sabarimala. This, after the Supreme Court judgment in favour of women’s entry. The same group mobilised Muslim women against triple talaq for their freedom. However, in Sabarimala, they are mobilising Brahminical women against their own rights. Would the world understand this shift in stance?
The Western world, which follows a more liberal brand of spiritual engagement of women, sees this as the Indian version of Talibani patriarchy. The Talibani patriarchy wants the Muslim woman’s body to be hidden from men’s view in public. It is from this context that a Malala Yousafzai emerged from Pakistan as the global campaigner for girls/women’s rights to be equal with boys and men.
Brahminical patriarchy has constructed an equally horrible image of India by not allowing menstruating women to visit temples. The man’s body, which contains semen, a crucial bodily fluid, is acceptable, and he gets all the rights; but, a woman’s body, with its menstrual fluid, is deemed unacceptable, and she can’t get the same rights. This is shocking. Let’s assume that Dorsey looks at the poster from that point of view and wants to oppose this form of patriarchy. What is wrong with that? Can we hide what is happening in Sabarimala from the world’s gaze?