Recently, several women displayed insurmountable courage when they came out in the open to call out the sexual predators who walk among us. Several accounts of unsolicited lasvicious behaviour, to put it mildly, came to the fore. Many took to Twitter to condemn and express utter shock at the allegations being levelled. As accounts after accounts of churlish behaviour by the victims poured in, the anger among the readers was palpable.
However, for some, their being a part of the ‘fraternity’, or that, the ones accused share the same ideology was perhaps far more important than the tales of the victims. The very liberals who scream the loudest about ‘feminism’, ‘gender equality’ etc, maintained a stoic silence. The few who spoke up did so with nonchalance. The lukewarm outrage from the liberal cabal would perhaps ease an aching back, not mend the battered soul of the victims.
It all started when Twitter user @AGirlOfHerWords, in a series of tweets, accused a stand up comic, Utsav Chakraborty, who was previously known as @Satan_Bhagat on Twitter (as Chetan Bhagat’s parody), of sexually predatory behaviour. This included allegations of advances he made towards minor girls. She also said that All India Bakchod (AIB), people who regularly hire him for their sketches, were made aware of the accusations levelled against him.
After these several allegations, AIB issued a statement. An apology saying his videos are being pulled down. The natural question to ask would be if their apology was enough considering the victim has explicitly said that the AIB management knew about Utsav’s predatory behaviour. But the very ‘stars’ who stood with placards and regularly talk about how women’s rights should be held paramount decided to pat AIB on the back. A job well-done indeed. The pat on the back was in turn ‘liked’ by veteran journalist Barkha Dutt.
The accused, Utsav came up with a cock and bull story that basically aimed at painting himself as the victim. What’s worse? He tried to justify his predatory behaviour by saying he has Attention Deficiency Disorder (ADD). I know of people who have ADD and none of them molests girls and forgets about it. The deficiency doesn’t compel one to behave like lecherous, predatory psychopaths.
Perhaps the first principle of condemning any sort of sexual misconduct towards a woman is to not psychoanalyze why the predator did it. There is absolutely nothing in the world that justified treating a woman as a mere body. A piece of meat to be devoured at will. Ab object to be used, abused and discarded. Trying to understand the perpetrator’s reasons for molesting a woman is the same as blaming the woman’s ‘short’ clothes for her being raped. It is a slippery slope that is used to justify the molester’s behaviour. Feminist and journalist Rituparna Chatterjee did exactly that. In a motherly tone, with her pinned tweet talking about ‘sisterhood’, she gently asked a predator why he did what he did. Asked him to help her understand.
Dear @Wootsaw, since July I’ve volunteered personal time to hear women privately when they needed to vent. I’ve lost count of the phone calls from women who felt lost, angry. I’ve broken down myself. Not one of those women abused men. Help me understand why you did what you did.
— Rituparna Chatterjee (@MasalaBai) 4 October 2018
Another comedian who is known for his brash behaviour, Kunal Kamra, in a fit of consciousness realised that all men need to introspect. Because calling out people from his own fraternity was a burden his comic shoulders just couldn’t bear. Calling out AIB for knowing about it and not doing anything was too tall an ask.
We as a scene, specifically the men here, need to reexamine everything right now. I myself am guilty of being part of a culture where we haven’t listened to the women. And this is the wake up call we need.
We are listening.
And we believe you.
— Kunal Kamra (@kunalkamra88) October 4, 2018
This, when there are claims that Kamra already knew about the allegations against his colleagues.
When I moved to Mumbai in 2015, one day Kamra told me that her friend Mahima got a dick pic from Utsav. I was shocked. Honestly, Coz he used to come across as very woke and why you shouldn’t send a dick pic is too easy to understand- Decency which I thought he had.
— Abhishek Upmanyu (@AbhiUpmanyu) October 4, 2018
These were just some of the reactions that were indicative of the all-pervasive moral bankruptcy of the ‘left’. The ones mentioned here have often taken grandstands with respect to women’s rights.
Kunal Kamra has often dragged the Prime Minister into women’s safety issues. He has often used women’s issues to take potshots at the Prime Minister, which, as a citizen is his right. However, today, when people from his own fraternity are being accused of gross sexual misconduct, he shifts the blame to all men without having the moral courage to call out his colleagues.
Sonam Kapoor has spoken extensively about how women should speak out when they are harassed. How men, who make women feel unsafe and vulnerable should be taken to task. However, today, she pats AIB on the back for taking down a predator’s ‘comedy’ videos while never once questioning why they did so today when it has blown up in their face, rather than earlier when they were alerted about their man’s predatory behaviour by the victim.
My views on sexual harassment are not only restricted to Bollywood, but for women around the world. We all have a responsibility to speak out against abusers and it is society’s responsibility to stand by us and hear our voices. https://t.co/ft1b54fPDt
— Sonam K Ahuja (@sonamakapoor) January 30, 2018
Ironically, the very AIB that Sonam lauds have made despicable “jokes” about child rape and the likes. Hell, they have even objectified Sonam Kapoor herself.
One wonders then, what is it about these ‘woke’ feminists that compel them to pursue such hollow ideals? What is it that makes them call themselves ‘liberal feminists’ and yet shy away from calling out their own in unequivocal terms? What it is about the ‘left-liberal’ ideology that this sort of predatory behaviour is so rampant even among men who pretend to espouse the cause of ‘feminism’ publicly and what is it about the ‘feminist’ women who stand by and do nothing?
One wonders why nobody really spoke up when this journalist with the left-leaning propaganda website The Wire compelled a woman to commit suicide. Or when a journalist with The Wire was sexually assaulted by ‘Dalit activists’ and the Editor’s of Wire asked her to ‘let it go’ because verbalising it would only hurt the ‘Dalit cause’. Why these feminists, male and female, kept quiet while the comedians of AIB made sexist, abusive ‘jokes’ even about child rape. Why they were silent when the Republic TV journalist was heckled and sexually harassed. Why they celebrated when the NBSA supported the molester and not her. Why they held placards for Kathua and not for Mandsaur. Why they are happy to use women’s issues to proclaim Modi is the problem, but keep mum when it doesn’t suit their political agenda?
Perhaps it is the dichotomy of left-liberalism. It encourages lascivious behaviour and looks down on conservative men who still uphold chivalry. Many fall prey to this behaviour which is considered “woke”, and before you know it, they spiral into predators. The ‘fraternity’ knew about this behaviour all along and chose to stay silent. Not just in the case, but in several other cases as well. The left-liberal coterie institutionalises predatory behaviour by giving free passes as they did in the case of Tarun Tejpal or even RK Pachauri.
They often maintain silence or justify predatory behaviour when it comes from on their own because it doesn’t suit their politics. One imagines that the concept of ‘third wave feminism’ that the ‘left-liberals’ seem to espouse is about enabling and encouraging women to shed the boundaries they have set for themselves so the men can eventually take advantage of them, and through it all, the ‘feminists’ keep quiet.
The Left’s approach to sexual harassment slights the cause of every woman who has experienced the prying eyes of lecherous men. The cause for women who battle sexism on a daily basis and the women who have been survivors of the violence of men.
The ‘left’ believes in tribalism. And the left in intrinsically anti-individualism and seeks to conform the society to its worldview. Where tribalism exists, principles have paltry space. Principles are often sacrificed at the altar of politics and the larger interest of the tribe. The left will never call out its own. Women be damned. Victims be damned. Ideals be damned.
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017