Monday, July 15, 2024
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Dear Congress, ‘Italy ki kathputli’ is a political jibe, ‘I want to keep looking into your eyes till you plead me to stop’ is sexual harassment at workplace

Perhaps Sonia Gandhi should take a stand and stand by Rama Devi instead of trying to pass off a political jibe as sexism.

Congress’ leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on the Azam Khan controversy said that Congress respects women. Chowdhury’s assertion of Congress respecting women came with a disclaimer that Former Congress President and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was also ‘disrespected’. He said that she was also called ‘Italy ki kathputli’, implying that it was disrespectful to her as a woman.

It is amusing how Congress has the talent to somehow find victimhood even when it does not exist.

Let me explain. “Italy ki kathputli” means Italian puppet. It is a political jibe because of her Italian roots. Just like the political jibes she has used on others like “Maut ka saudagar” (merchant of death). “Italy ki kathputli” may be as distasteful as “Maut ka saudagar” but it is definitely not an insult to her as a woman. She was on the receiving end of the jibe because of the political position she held (Congress President) and continues to hold (UPA chairperson). Not because she was a woman.

On the other hand, Azam Khan told BJP MP Rama Devi, who was the acting Chair of the Parliament, that he “wished to stare into her eyes till eternity.” He said that he “likes her” so much that he would stare at her for so long that she will have to tell him to look away. Not only did his party chief Akhilesh Yadav laughed at his comment, he even called it ‘poetry’.

Rama Devi was not on the receiving end of that comment because of the position she was holding (acting Chair of the Parliament). Azam Khan recited those couplets for her creepily because she is a woman. That is what makes it disrespectful.

That also amounts to sexual harassment at workplace. When a colleague passes a sexually coloured remark on another colleague, it is sexual harassment. It creates hostile work environment.

Perhaps Sonia Gandhi should take a stand and stand by Rama Devi instead of trying to pass off a political jibe as sexism.

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Nirwa Mehta
Nirwa Mehta
Politically incorrect. Author, Flawed But Fabulous.

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