Friday, August 27, 2010

The Irresponsible Use of Words by Those in Responsible Positions

The entire feminine discourse has been reduced to a grand celebration of infidelity and contemporary Hindi women writers are like prostitutes because they dare to promote female sexuality in their works.

So says Vibhuti Narain Rai, a vice chancellor at the Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University in recently published articles in the Naya Gyanodov Journal and in the Indian Express.

The Naya Gyanoday is a journal of the Jnanpith Trust, which confers the most prestigious Jnanpith awards. Sri Rai is also a member of the panel that chooses the prestigious Jnanpith awards. In this interview, Mr. Rai criticised that women writers of today are competing to prove themselves to become ‘sabse badi chhinal' and one can find the references of 'kitne bistaron men kitani baar' in their work. ‘Naya Gyanoday’ means ‘New Realisation of Knowledge.’

Mr. Rai, and also somehow Mr. Ravindra Kalia, the editor of the journal, prove that for them, their ‘new realisation’ is that repression of female sexuality is more acceptable for men to become themselves more sexually promiscuous. This modern-day double standard may have rather practical roots in their minds where they can use such ‘vulgar’ words to represent their reprehensible behavior. The honourable VC Rai acts in the way the fundamentalists often act. Readers can certainly mark how the socio-political fundamentalist groups often act to save their great cultures.

Recently, the TV channel Zee Chhatisgarh broadcast some undemocratic nuisance acts of the Dharm Sena, a state-based fundamentalist group. Members of the group forcefully tried to stop the celebration of Friends’ day in Raipur, the Capital of Chhatisgarh. The volunteers not only physically threatened the girls, but used vulgar language that could not even be broadcast by the TV channel when airing the report.

How can the decorum of culture be saved when fundamentalist groups and even a VC of a central university can’t control their vulgar language?

I forwarded a message on Facebook to my intellectual male and female friends separately regarding the culpable comments of vice chancellor Rai. I found it strange that all the female intellectuals and writers responded with their remonstrations but that none the male intellectuals and writers, responded -- for or against; except C.P. Aboobacker, the poet, critic and editor of Malayalam literature. Instead, the other males seemed to avoid the matter entirely, possibly thinking silence to be the best policy in this circumstance. But why?

What Feminism Is And Is Not

Feminism, to me, has often been misunderstood as a bunch of stereotyped hysterical man-hating fanatics who seek power and control rather than true equality. But to me, ‘feminism’ is not just a movement for the liberation of women, but rather a broad social movement striving for the equality of each individual worldwide. Feminism should emphasise the importance of such values as cooperation, tolerance, nurturance, and the freedom for each person to achieve her or his full potential.

I think feminism should not act in opposition to men as individuals. To me, feminism is against oppressive and outdated social structures which forces both men and women into positions which are false and antagonistic. Thus, everyone has an important role to play in the feminist movement. It seems ironic that feminism has been characterized as anti-male, when in fact, it seeks to liberate men from the macho stereotypic roles men often have to endure such as the need to suppress feelings, act aggressively, and be deprived of contact with children. I think we should emphasize our femininity rather to impose the so-called stereotyped feministic attitude of the second wave.

What Prostitution Is and Is Not

The honourable vice chancellor has uttered the word ‘prostitute’ for the Hindi women writers. Once, a poetess of Oriya litearture also asked me why I am promoting the idea of sexual rights for women. She asked me whether I wanted to promote prostitution in society or not. These are, I think, very superficial ideas that the VC or the poetess possess.

For instance, has a prostitute ever enjoyed sex any day from her profession? Is there any meaning of sexual rights for her or is she possessed so?

Prostitution is a product of ‘patriarchy’ and patriarchal culture rests on the principle that the unique duty of women is to satisfy men sexually in marriage or by prostitution. A woman as a wife is regarded with honour while a woman as a prostitute is kept away from society while her customers are not. Never does a prostitute do this by ‘choice’ or even by ‘taste.’ The beneficiaries of prostitution are not the prostitute but the pimps, dealers, customers, and all those who view sexuality as a mechanical act, deprived of reciprocity and any responsibility making those who receive the services of prostitutes agents of patriarchy.

As the original dictum of demanding sexual rights for women aims with ending sexual slavery, how can Hindi women writers be called prostitutes?

In 1998, the United Nations Organization (UNO) has declared the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is known as ‘The Rome Statute.' In its Article 7(2)(c), sexual slavery is defined by the situations where persons are forced into domestic servitude, marriage, or any other forced labour involving sexual activity, as well as the trafficking of persons, in particular women and children. So, human trafficking for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation is a major cause of contemporary sexual slavery.

To demand sexual rights and to support sexual slavery are opposite to each other. The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), in 1994 defined the sexual right for women as the right of women to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.

In Conclusion

Seemingly unaware of this definition, our intellectuals and those in responsible positions are acting like fundamentalist social pundits.

But I am always optimistic. In our considered opinions, it is necessary that esteemed readers are made aware of all the implications of even any rudimentary assimilation on the part of our impressionable young people of the novel ideas from the West, including some with innocuous labels such as ‘freedom’ and ‘equality.’ This is because we must know in which direction we are applying our minds, to what purpose, and towards what end. If whatever we think and do is believed to be correct without verification, does it necessarily enable mankind to continue progressing? What do you think?


  1. Some pseudo intellectuals occupying the chair of the intellectuals
    grab it and remove the good ones.
    Fast food is quickly available in the market but bad for stomach.
    good evening.

  2. Laksmisree Banerjee7:22 PM

    Women Writers speak out that which is true in a sincere,pure, unadulterated,spontaneous & uninhibited manner. As a Senior academic, a Woman Writer myself & as a Scholar-Administrator, having worked long and hard towards Women's Education & Empowerment & also having researched deeply into Women's Issues through intense studies of their writings (including my own) I wish to re-iterate what John Keats had so poetically stated in his Ode on a Grecian Urn : " Beauty is Truth &Truth Beauty/ That is all ye know on earth & all ye need to lnow"-------the purest form of Truth is born of a woman's heart & is then revealed through her pen-----this is also a basic & a quintessential value practiced since the Vedic Age: SATYAM-SHIVAM-SUNDARAM---------The patriarchic society today is an aberration in terms of our liberated INDIAN VALUES----& Male Chauvinists NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE GREAT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIBERTY & LICENCE-----BLESSED are the Women Writers who are able to speak the TRUTH without any fear or hesitation!!!


    Prof. (Dr. Ms.) Laksmisree Banerjee
    Pro-Vice Chancellor & Fulbright Professor, Kolhan University,Jharkhand

  3. i support wat he is true women need spaces to speak as much as a man need to speak,but many woman writers write vulgarity and boast of their prmiscusity to earn fame and create controversy...kamaladas began it......many other are fallowing it...actually now it is not a great deal now....who bothers about what others do in bed room...if real empoverment is needed so called feminists should go to rural women,adivasi women and other voiceless women and men in this country....there is nothing great in writing fake vulgarity abouth oneself.....look at the blog of meenakshi reddy madhavan....does it contribute anything positive to society...ya itz true that there are many people who read should be considered as person watching a porn film.....i consider the works of both men and women who write in this way as such...they may be facing some attention deficient disorder...they should go for phsycatric treatment...rather than sitting in air conditioned rooms and writing rubbish things,men and women should go out and help the needful....

  4. I strongly oppose the irresponsible words by persons who are in responsible position,i think they are trying to suppress women,shows their sick mentality.
    i agree with you by copy and pasting your words.
    How can the decorum of culture be saved when fundamentalist groups and even a VC of a central university can’t control their vulgar language?
    this type of conduct is entirely irresponsible.

  5. every body has right to promote its views, we should have open mind for the things that other believe,think that only we are right is stupidness

  6. Dr Sujatha S5:24 AM

    Scathing remarks.Today,women and men are building a new feminism that is working for ordinary, everyday equality.One should be aware of the distinction between pointing out wrongs that must be righted and giving oneself the immutable status of a victim.One cannot deny the fact that there is still a dragging weight of inequality on the backs even of powerful women, a knowledge of injustice.The reality of inequality runs throughout all classes.if women remember the the undeniable horrors,i.e the ways women are ignored by the law, abandoned to their abusers and left to suffer attacks without justice, we will not want to spend our time interrogating our own attitudes to sexuality.Rather we will find that we have concrete battles to fight on behalf of all women.We are burdened with knowledge.We must make sure that we can also act.

    Dr Sujatha S
    Reader in English
    NSS Hindu College, Changanacherry
    Kottayam District, Kerala

  7. Dear Ms. Sarojini Sahoo,
    This is a first rate article by you. Patriarchy has been a curse on mankind, and as Robert Graves and others of his ilk have shown, it was matriarchy which dominated the world prior to about 3000 years. The muses are feminine and symbolically dramatize the fact that poetry, music, tragedy etc sprang from the wellsprings of the feminine psyche, and the feminine side of the male psyche.
    I do agree that the remarks of this loud mouthed VC are boorish and culpable
    Keki Daruwalla

  8. Does this man deserve so much publicity for what he said? why should you waste your words on spent forces like him? Media make persons like him by publicising their comments. You should not fall their traps.

  9. You have raised an issue here which not only the VC but all of us have contributed to one way or another. However, the joint effort of both men and women is needed to take us away from these prejudices that surround women writers. Whether someone likes or dislikes descriptions of women’s sexuality could be a personal matter but freedom of expression is the birthright of both men and women alike. Only people with a very sick mind could dare to refer to writers as prostitutes. My humble request to the honorable men in position is to stop using such vulgar language. And please understand that women also want to tell their story in their terms as male writers do. As for attention deficit, all writers have it. They want people to read them. As readers you have the choice to do otherwise. But respect the right to express you must. Writers both men and women will write the way they want to! Sorry you have no right to infringe on this freedom.

  10. Dr. Satendra Kumar11:49 AM

    o my god so vulgar
    i agree with u

  11. I think not only does the VC insult women writers speaking out for sexual rights, he also insults prostitutes (by obviously implying that they are lowly women).

  12. Fide ERKEN1:07 AM

    I like the title of your article.The responsibles should know how to talk and behave.Our words show what kind of person we are.We need kindness and love to eachother.Women writers should continue to write.

  13. It is unfortunate that a VC of an university have use such language for the writers and he has also humiliated the prostitutes who are really in a very tragic state of existence. Instead he should have given a critical appreciation of the writers whom he had speified . If soem writers may be man or woman give shock treament to attract attention he can critise that in a positive way as a critic. it woudl ave been really digified of ihim.
    It shows his anger swhich is not justified.

  14. I am not surprised that a person in a responsible position said those words. I am saddened that I am not surprised nor shocked. That I believe is the biggest curse of patriarchy- that one just learns to accept inequality. The VCs remarks and their audience reveal his deep seated insecurities with his own sexual nature, as do those of anyone else who tries to justify those remarks. Whether sexuality and sexual descriptions be used for "literature" or for "shock value" is something only the writer can decide. The audience needs to understand that its choices lie in dictating, not what has been produced but whether they want to consume it. And here the issue is not that women writers write "obscene" things, rather that the VC is not guarded in his language as a self appointed guardian of culture. Of course it might just blow his mind that in some cases promiscuity or even prostitution may be by choice- and in no way to be judged by others, though his expression of opinion makes him very likely to be so judged.

  15. I don’t know the back ground of Vibhuti Narain Rai , but I know enormous which don’t learned anything from education. It is misunderstood that educational qualification is guarantee of sanity. Vibhuti Narain Rai has proved it. Who appoint her as VC , when she has no civic sense at all.
    Abraham Lincoln, the most renowned president of USA have gone to school for only one year than he never join any school or university in life.
    Vibhuti Narain Rai is an example who has not gains anything at all by education.
    हम केह सकते हें के इनसान पढ़ लिख कर भी जाहिल रेह जाता हॆ, ऎसे जाहिल आप को हर जगाह मिल जाऎं गे
    The word feminism is appears to be misleading for a common man, who take it something a struggle in favor of women.
    Which you have clarify, it is a good thing.
    You are right Sarojini, all happiness are hidden behind this thinking.
    If love is removed from life, the world has no color of life, even he achieve every materialistic thing one can crave.
    Love cannot be developed between master and slave, suppressor and suppressed. We have to design our social structure based on justice, where men and women enjoy the life equally
    Fundamentalist always favor the statuesque, may be good or bad for mankind, but everything is changed with passage of time. No one can stop changes which are best to mankind.
    सबात एक तग़यर को हॆ ज़माने में

  16. M.S.Gore10:03 AM

    To me feminism is a movement to ensure equal opportunities for women as for men in our society. The whole problem of prostitution is irrelevant in a discussion of feminism. Even when feminism is achieved and equality in law and practiced is achieved the problem of prostitution will continue. Women who are prostitutes are not more equal to men than other women in society. Even to day when men are considered to be superior in status there is the problem of male prostitution. Prostitution is both an economic and a socio-psychological problem.

  17. Jasvinder Singh12:41 AM

    Apropos your thoughtful expression on 'feminism'. I strongly feel that there should not be gender inequality or any kind of chauvinism. We have equality as concept in our constituion then why there is differentiation on account of gender bias. There is no logic to underestimate the faculties and abilities of women who comprise one half of the society. Undoubtedly women have shown their strength as administrators, literateurs and in many other fields. They move shoulder to shoulder with men. I also feel a saner sense should prevail to eradicate the differences.

  18. sexual freedom is a largely abused expression. grossly misunderstood and misinterpreted even by the so called learned simply because one finds it difficult to think out of box. i'm glad you gave such detailed info as to what this is all about.


    Excellent !!! It is worth to go through the blog. Your ideas are clear and obviate the reality. Remarks of VC are shameful!! An apology should be made by him.

  20. I recently learned about your blog. You are sharp and brave. Thank you for speaking truth despite the hostiles.

    Please tell, where is the image on this post from? Many thanks.

    Lansing, Michigan, USA

  21. Anonymous12:44 AM

    The war to suppress the female principle is not something new. It has been going on and on for ages and eras. Woman used to be burnt alive on the pyre of his dead husband in ancient India. In Arabia they used to burry alive girl infants. In Africa women used to be inherited after the husband's death. The above are just a few examples of how the female principle used to be suppressed in the PHYSICAL REALM.

    In the SPIRITUAL REALM the Human Spirit is composed of both the male and female principle. Here too, the female principle is greatly suppressed by each one us regardless whether we are a man or a woman. Patience, endurance, Intuition which are marks of the female principle are underused while Aggressiveness, force, Jealousy which are marks of the male principle have been overated and overused. Look at the world condition today and you will understand what i mean. Everyone of us are forcing our views on each other and this has farther led to the deterioration of the gap between the Male and Female principle in the physical realm.

    I feel we must balance our male and female in the spirit realm before we can manifest the needed change in our physical realm.


  22. Anonymous5:47 AM

    A part of the discussion at Facebook on this blogging:
    Shiva Biswal I appreciate and support your views. Feminism has been mistakenly interpreted by a many as anti-male or emergence of woman's power,command and supremacy.
    August 31 at 5:30pm · Like
    Rupa Talukdar I also agree with you with all my senses. Feminism is used widely in wrong sense. It should be oriented to uplift the existing status of women who are truly thousnads mile behind the present development of society. I think female for nurtur...
    See More
    August 31 at 9:07pm · Like · 1 person
    Usha Sharma i also agree with ur openion sarojiniji god gave us vardan to be a womwn who has all power she is simple shy bold can take any hard decission because she is a mother sister daughter n very kind like river nature cow earth .
    September 8 at 10:46pm · Like
    Shivani Agarwal I feel feminism is to prove one's intellect and individuality, which is often mistaken as anti-male. Perhaps, this is because of male chauvinism...
    September 8 at 10:46pm · Like
    Ashwini Kumar Srivastava usha sharmis very correct inher version, we agree with ushaji comments totally,there is slight anti-male views in shivani agagrwal 's last world male chauvinism, men hve given all powers n freedom to women in india more than any other country,women do not hve voting rights, it is with men's assent that women r going to get 33%reservations every where in india, pl.let us know , which r other countries in world giving such extra ordinary advantage to their females rights also
    September 26 at 6:17am · Like
    Amandeep Singh great mam going to share this .
    October 30 at 7:43pm · Like