View from the Right: Glamour and #MeToo
On the ongoing #MeToo campaign, the editorial in Organiser pronounces that as we are celebrating Navaratri, the festival of feminine divinity, it is unfortunate that stories are unfolding about the “sexual harassment” (sic) of women at their workplaces.” “One can always argue about the authenticity of the allegations; even the timing can be questioned. Regrettably, the partisan and polarised discussions are not addressing the roots of these #MeToo situations,” the editorial claims. “The entry of the trend in Bharat also coincided with allegations by a nun in Kerala against a bishop of the Church, where attempts of a cover-up were evident. Models, film actresses and journalists have joined the bandwagon by narrating their stories of harassment on social media platforms. These allegations should be investigated, and culprits should face the consequences as per law,” the editorial asserts. But at the same time we should understand and analyse the character of this phenomenon, according to Organiser. “This entire debate of sexual exploitation against professional favours is peculiar to certain industries, involving glamour and money. Why is it so that the professions like modelling and acting are infested with such incidents, and still many prefer to keep quiet or turn a blind eye? Which are the carriers of these industries that make them prone to such inhuman behaviour? Why the so-called liberal-elite class that is raising their voice now kept mum when the nuns were fighting for justice, and the Bishop was on the run?” Organiser says.
The editorial goes on the claim that the obvious corollary is, many common women who face uncomfortable situations at the hands of common men do not fall in the category of the #MeToo campaign. “This campaign is for the professions where women are treated or portrayed as a commodity. Unless the general trend of growing misconduct and mere sensuous attitude towards the other gender is addressed, #MeToo will remain an elitist campaign,” according to the editorial in Organiser.
A case of timing
While Union minister M J Akbar is facing allegations of sexual harassment, the editorial in Panchjanya on the #MeToo campaign targets the Congress on the matter. It claims that past misdeeds of senior Congress leaders were covered up by the government of the day. “Was sufficient debate done on such important cases in media? Upcoming generations will certainly ask that question,” the editorial claims. It says that incidents of sexual violence and harassment existed even before #MeToo and there were those with political influence even then. It then asserts that reactions from different quarters on social media were creating confusion and raising certain questions. Like questions are related to the image and integrity of renowned persons and the timing of the allegation. “There is also the question, a matter of concern, as to how the allegations would be investigated after the passage of such a long time and how the victims will get the justice,” the editorial claims.
Thakor to blame
An article in Organiser calls the recent attacks on North Indians in Gujarat a new kind of turmoil. It also says it is for the first time that the state is being defamed for attacking non-Gujaratis. Gujaratis, it claims, are known for “their assimilating nature and hospitality”. Then, why are there attacks on innocent labourers, who have come from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan? In answer to these questions, the article targets the Congress. “Thousands of non-Gujaratis started going back to their native states due to the threats from alleged Kshatriya Thakor Sena. Their stories of fleeing overnight are very traumatic. However, the police worked swiftly and arrested the accused. Then, why is violence taking place? The prime suspect in the violence is said to be the Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor, who has incidentally been made co-incharge of Bihar Congress just two months back. He delivered a provocative speech on Facebook live on September 29, just a day after the rape (which sparked the violence),” the article says. The article also claims it was not first time that Thakor spoke against migrant workers. The article then claims that Bihar and Gujarat Congress leaders are not happy with the Raj Thackeray brand of politics being practised by Thakor, but the Congress top leadership seems to be backing him.