The mainstream media and so-called liberals have been mocking, sexualizing and abusing “right wing” women since around 2012 for being supporters of Narendra Modi. They have called Smriti Irani and Meenakshi Lekhi Modi’s cheergirls, ran petty polls deriding prominent right-wing women social media supporters, coined the term “hate hags”, which even the Congress spokeswoman was happy to endorse.
And after heaping all scorn, bile, and abuse, the same lot then goes on to talk about “trolls”.
For some reason, the women on the right-wing don’t play victim despite victimized very systematically. These brave women have stood up to these cheap tactics. They have on occasions even spoken up against the abuse, but largely they have believed in carrying on with their life and work while these real trolls surround them and try to scare them away.
Recently Hindustan Times started a “campaign” against trolls where they gave no platform to any right-wing woman to share their experience. If this was not enough, an enlightened journalist named Manu Joseph went ahead and wrote an article about right-wing women, where he poured all his sexual frustrations to demean and denigrate the same women who had put some trust in him and had decided to share their experiences. I hope Joseph is feeling manly now after releasing all his frustrations.
If you think I’m being unfair to Joseph, you have to look at his track record in writing about women. Many readers may be unaware of Anand Jon, a fashion designer who made it big in New York fashion industry. He has been sentenced to 59 years of imprisonment by the US courts for sexual abuse. Joseph wrote an article about Jon. Read what he writes:
There were many stories about him and he was linked to several girls. His world seemed to be very large then. A world filled with women. A world also called “the field”. As his male classmates now say, frequently, “He played the whole field.” Many years later some of those girls from the field would appear on Facebook, their faces somewhat bloated, mothers now, their husbands still in the dark about the times when Anand John touched them indecently.
There is no connection between Anand Jon being sentenced for a sexual crime versus the current looks of Jon’s female classmates. But Joseph feels the need to pull down these women and if no logical argument is available then by deriding looks of women with passage of time and life.
Not just Jon, the enlightened Manu Joseph had written an article about the erudite Tarun Tejpal, who was accused of rape by his junior colleague at Tehelka. The article was cleverly written to hint that the woman was lying and Tejpal could be innocent.
In retrospect, appears that Manu Joseph has some amount of ingrained misogyny that the women who agreed to talk to him couldn’t anticipate. And he extracted his “manly revenge” from them.
In his article on ‘women in the right-wing’, Joseph goes on to declare that “Most of the women drawn to the right started their adult lives with no strong political views but a crush on Narendra Modi and bitter personal experiences with some liberals seem to have tipped them.”
There is no context for the conclusion drawn that right-wing women have no strong political views. He presumes women can be only sexual beings with no intellect to develop logical arguments and opinions on law, financial policy, or any other governance issues. In the article, Joseph maligns and tries hard to show right-wing women as mumbling idiots with heightened sexual feelings for the Prime Minister.
One of those whom Joseph interviewed was Amrita Bhinder. I have briefly known Amrita in the last 2.5 years through Twitter. We both follow each other but have never met or had private communications with each other. I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to get a real interview that she was denied by Joseph.
The interview follows:
Q1. Do you regret having met Manu Joseph and agreeing to talk to him after the kind of article he has come up with?
Ans: I don’t regret talking to Manu. In fact, the way the article has turned out, it exposes the author’s mindset more than harming his subject’s image.
Q2. But this was betrayal I would argue. Will you be comfortable if someone from the mainstream media talks to you again?
Ans: You are right, but I will still talk to those calling themselves liberals if another of those approach me. I believe no space should be given up just for the fear of being misrepresented even when it’s a certainty. Every article cuts both ways. The subject as well as the author are at risk, and it is quite dependent on the readers understanding. And today readers are not that easy misled.
Q3. Coming to the content that was not coloured by Manu’s opinions, you had talked about your professional success and your triumph over medical issues. Can you tell us about your journey and evolution as a right-wing woman?
Ans: My journey into being a ‘right wing’ woman has a lot to do with the Prime Minister Modi, ever since he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. I am a firm believer that he is not personally culpable for the 2002 riots. It is a propaganda fed by the mainstream media to keep away a contender by inflicting fear and paranoia in folks. Under his watch, frequency of communal riots drastically dropped in Gujarat and law & order situation became better. His track record of development was also impressive and those made me his supporter.
At this point, I want to add that the tag of “Right Wing” is misnomer for me, because I’m a socialist and not a religious zealot. This categorization by media into Left & Right is a travesty. Those who claim they are left & liberal stand at odds with the definition of the term. The left-liberals in fact are the ‘elite’ in India and they are the high priests of the state.
But if being against them and being a supporter of Narendra Modi makes me a right-wing, be it.
Q4: Would you say you support right-wing because of Narendra Modi only? Is your support person specific or party specific or ideology specific?
Ans: My support obviously is for the Prime Minister. However, I also believe that BJP has always put the Armed Forces and the nation first, which other parties have not always done. So yes, even ideologically I’m inclined towards BJP, especially under Narendra Modi who gave a call for “India First”.
Q5. Were you a politically aware person since young age or it has been a recent development?
Ans: As I was growing up, my family did not discuss politics at home, for I come from an army background and normally we were kept away from the political space in discussion or on the dining table. But that’s not to say that one did not understand the role the then government played post 1971 war in downgrading the pay bands of the army in comparison to the civil services. To me, it seemed like a humiliating thing to do the nation’s forces that had just won a bloody war. And I started getting interested in politics as a result.
Q6. Are there any laws or governance aspects of the current government that you disagree with? Have you been vocal in your opposition to it? As a legal professional are there any suggestions on policy which BJP led government can easily adopt to bring major changes to governance and society?
Ans: On the fiscal front, I have some issues with the budget. To my mind, the exemption limit should’ve been raised to 5 lakhs, instead of bringing down the rate to 5% for 2.5 to 5 lakhs bracket. Post demonetization, many have come into the banking system and anything above 2.5 Lakhs would even cover even low paying blue-collar jobs or manual labor earning 30,000 a month in the cities. It is not worth the effort of tracking and compliance both for the government and people earning below 5 lakhs a year.
On the internal security front, the present government needs to empower the forces with modern equipment, decision making powers, and autonomy to strongly take on stone pelters, Jihadis, separatists, Naxals, Maoist et al. The government should show some political will on the internal security front.
Another issue that requires redressal is the ISI propaganda in India’s mainstream media. Indian Govt needs to take steps to fight propaganda shrewdly so as not let the narrative be led/defined by Pakistan. We must move away from reactionary problem solving. Move towards proactive counter psyops. So that Indian’s learn to think independently. Right now, Pakistan is winning on the propaganda front.
I have been very vocal about my opposition to some of the stands the government has taken, be it the delay in OROP or on the budgets proposals and all the rising casualty figures of our armed and security forces.
Q7. Have you faced flak from friends and family for being a vocal right wing woman supporter?
Ans: Yes, I have faced a lot of flak for being a supporter of the Prime Minister. A lot of my friends, many of whom believe that they are ‘liberal’ and open to other people’s views, have accused me of being radical just because of my support for Narendra Modi. The last thing I am is a radical or a religious person. In fact, I believe that religion is a private matter and cannot be a focus area for the nation’s policy. Economics, security, health should be vital areas for focus, not religion. That is why I am very surprised when I find liberals not speak about the social schemes available to the poor from Jan Dhan to the Social Security schemes, life insurances & low cost housing, electricity for all, LPG, and some such totally ignored for keeping the talks around only religion.
Q8. Do you feel women choose to support right-wing for reasons that are very different from a man’s perspective? Are there any particular issues that are more important to women than men?
Ans: I have a very general gender neutral take on supporting the Prime Minister or BJP. I think people of all classes, religion and gender support him for the hope and governance he has brought into India. Though on the issues such as triple talaq and bringing in Uniform Civil Code, there could be gender related support, but even there I see no reason why men shouldn’t support.
There are many right-wing women including yours truly, whose support for the Prime Minister and by that virtue the party, comes from a strong ideological pinning of Indic culture and values. Women from various parts of the country like @Unsubtledesi (Nupur), @Kuvalayamala (Anjali Geroge), Dimple Kaul and countless others are giving a large part of their free time to various Indic movements through their writings and activism work. These women have no personal stakes or expectations from the government. To continuously deride such women reflects very poorly on the media and “Liberals”.