The ‘Didi o Didi’ remark by the ‘grand’ leader is a petty insult to every woman

This deriding tone is not just a reflection of how base a ‘grand’ leader has become in his ambition, it also reflects the anti-woman, regressive outlook of a party, of an ideology

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter

Pragati Saxena

There, he speaks. With a white flowing beard, immaculate clothes and very erratic pronunciation, (it’s very strange that he has started lisping/slurring- is he suffering from ill health? My sympathy in that case), the grand leader of this country starts speaking using all his oratory skills in an election rally. The camera shows the crowd. Well, people are there, somewhat distracted. In an election rally, it’s difficult to have all people listen to you- the distraction is normal.

The leader, as usual is denigrating the sitting chief minister and promising skies if his party comes to power. Well, that’s normal too and it is at times welcomed by the cheers. And then suddenly, the leader starts addressing the chief minister (who happens to be a woman) as ‘Didi’. That’s also normal because the chief minister is popular in the masses as ‘Didi’ (elder sister in Hindi and Bengali too).

But then comes a taunting ‘Didi o Didi!’ And the crowd, mostly men bursts into cheers! There! the leader has finally struck a chord with the crowd in a state which is well reputed for its rich culture, intellectuals and heritage, a state which is considered one of the most liberal one as far as women are concerned in our male-dominated, largely regressive society.

Women like us sitting in the north of the country did not know what that tone meant when the leader used it. But hearing that, something inside cringed. The leader, who projects himself as a masculine, strong (remember 56 inch?) man, who can defend and protect; the leader who has a massive fan following among women of the country (most of whom think he can provide them with that safety and security and respect (most importantly) which their own family and society can’t, that leader uses the taunting ‘Didi o Didi’ for a woman chief minister and immediately, something inside protests strongly.

It is only later that we come to know why. Because this is the tone the roadside ‘Romeos’ use to eve-tease! Surprisingly, in that very state, another leader of the same political party, a ‘Yogi’ and a chief minister, in whose state crimes against women are breaking every record, promises women an anti-Romeo squad!

The ‘Didi o Didi’ remark is so humiliating that every time he uses it, I feel creepy within the four walls of my home too! And I am not alone in feeling so. Many, with whom I interacted have shared the sentiment- it actually feels as if we are out alone on the road and a group of men are leering at us. More so, because the crowd is cheering at this address- a friend shared.

I was immediately transported to my teens when it was a natural reflection to clutch the bag tightly and walk with a fast pace past those small-time goons sitting at a pan-shop on a roadside.

This deriding tone is not just a reflection of how base a ‘grand’ leader has become in his ambition, it also reflects the anti-woman, regressive outlook of a party, of an ideology. This tone actually is an alarm-bell for all the educated liberal women of this country.

And it leaves me sad and deeply hurt to feel humiliated even inside my house by our own leader!

Views are personal

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