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21 April, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 21 April, 2019 12:29:06 AM

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Defending the indefensible

When it comes to women and the line being crossed every one must stand together and condone transgressions
Kumkum Chadha
Defending the indefensible
Samajwadi party leader Azam Khan

Samajwadi party’s “Muslim poster boy” as veteran leader  Azam Khan is popular as, has gone and done it again. He has said the unprintable and with that started yet another controversy.

His derogatory remarks about Jaya Prada’s lingerie has stoked a controversy. His reference was political given that he was talking about her donning the khaki colour symbolic of the RSS but the remarks were disgusting.

It was at an election rally that Khan stooped abysmally low “...I want to ask you, should politics stoop so low? 10 years the person sucked the blood of Rampur, I held that person's finger and brought the person to Rampur. I made her familiar with the streets of Rampur. I didn't let anyone touch her. No dirty words were used. You made the person your representative for 10 years. But what is the difference between you and me. Rampur waalon , Hindustan waalon, uski asliyat samajhne main aapko 17 baras lag gaye(understanding the person's real face you took 17 years)…” and went on a smear campaign.  against his opponent Jaya Prada.

Azam’s bete noire Jaya Prada, cine star turned politician, is contesting the election from Rampur Lok Sabha constituency. She is BJP’s candidate: a party she joined last month.

Once known as his protégé, it was Azam Khan who took Jaya under his wings and helped her win her first Rampur elections in 2004 as an SP candidate.

The relationship turned sour when Jaya Prada moved to the Amar Singh camp. Since then, Azam Khan has been quite vocal about his contempt for Jaya Prada.

The two are daggers drawn and miss no opportunity to spew venom against each other.  Jaya Prada has compared Azam Khan to Alauddin Khilji who was a household name when Hindi film Padmaavatwas released. Khan, in turn, called her a "naachne waali." (dancer girl)

"When I was watching Padmaavat,Khilji's character reminded me of Azam Khan ji, how he had harassed me during elections when I was contesting," Jaya Prada had said.

Retorting, Azam Khan said, "Padmaavatwas made. Heard Khilji's character is very bad. Padmaavatileft this world before Khilji's arrival. But now, a woman, a naachne waali , has made some remark about me. Tell me, if I entertain this 'naachne gaane wali', how will I concentrate on politics?"

During the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Jaya Prada had accused Azam Khan of circulating her morphed pictures in Rampur: she alleged that pictures that showed  her nude were circulated:

"My morphed pictures were being circulated in the region. I was crying and saying I don't want to live anymore, I want to commit suicide. I was going through that trauma," she had said. Azam Khan, however, denied the charges.

Jaya Prada apart, Khan has hit headlines on his own too. As minister in the state  cabinet he had complained about his buffaloes being stolen. A team of  over 100 police personnel and sniffer dogs were deployed to trace the buffaloes.

Jaya Prada is  contesting on a BJP ticket from her old constituency against Khan. A nine time MLA, Khan is making his debut as a candidate  in the Lok Sabha polls. As against this Jaya Prada is a two-time MP from Rampur.

But this is just the beginning of the sordid saga. There is more that has unfolded: against a  national outrage  that has followed this controversy there are some voices that are being heard defending the indefensible.

And what is worse it is not men but a woman who has supported Khan. It is none other than his party colleague, Dimple Yadav,  Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav’s wife. Commenting on  Azam Khan’s sexist remark against Jaya Prada, she dismissed the controversy terming it ‘chhoti si baat’(minor issue).

She made it worse by asking:  "When Daya Shankar made a comment against Mayawati ji, where was the media? When such comments are made against Priyanka Gandhi or me, why don't journalists take it up?" Dimple was referring to an incident that took place in 2016 when the BJP leader had compared BSP supremo Mayawati to a prostitute. But Dimple forgot that two wrongs do not make a right.

To right minded people, Dimple’s defence is nothing short of blasphemy. It is more shocking than Khan’s crime. It is a case of the expected versus the unexpected. While it is in Khan’s DNA to look down upon women, this not being the first instance, it goes against  Dimple Yadav’s grain to let this pass.

For starters she is a woman herself and not  a hard core politician. If anything  she comes across as completely apolitical whose presence in Parliament is by virtue of her being married into a high profile family. Add to that the fact that she has an army background and comes from a family which has more women than men: Dimple’s father retired from the army and Dimple is the second of his three daughters. On her part, Dimple is soft spoken and chooses her words carefully that is if she speaks at all. She rarely does.

Therefore for her to come out and defend Khan is a transgression which is unbecoming, more so because she is a  woman. In fact her standing up for women, irrespective of politics, would have been more dignified and would have put her notches above others. It would have, willy nilly, helped her as a politician too and erased her dumb doll image.

One could argue that party loyalty may have compelled Dimple to support Khan but this argument does not hold good.

When it comes to defending women and their dignity every one must speak in one voice and rise above petty politics. Dimple has not only broken a rule but done great disservice to the cause of women and their dignity. In one single stroke she has undone what women have fought for because this is not about Jaya Prada and Azam Khan but about men versus women.

All may be  fair in love and war and during elections there is only war and no love lost but when it comes to women and the line being crossed every one must stand together and condone transgressions. Sadly Dimple Yadav has disappointed beyond words.

The writer is a senior Indian journalist, political commentator and columnist of The Independent. She can be reached at: (kumkum91@gmail.com)
 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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