NCW, Smriti Irani still silent on Ramdev’s questionable comment on women
While Maharashtra State Women’s Commission sought an explanation and Yoga Guru Ramdev has promptly apologised, questions are being asked about the role of NCW and the union minister
Yoga Guru Ramdev has expressed his regret and apologised for his reckless comment in poor taste on women. But the controversy shows no sign of abating with public outrage in fact growing. Questions are also being asked why the National Commission of Women and the union minister for women and child welfare, Smriti Irani, usually quick to condemn transgressions when it suits them, have been quiet on Ramdev.
Ramdev was last week addressing a large audience of mostly women at Thane with the wife of deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis sitting by his side on the stage. While he began by complimenting Amruta Fadnavis and women in general for being graceful and look good in whatever attire they chose to wear, he crossed the line and added that women looked good even without clothes. His audience, among them the very young and the very old, did not seem to be amused.
There were soon howls of protest and civil society in Maharashtra and elsewhere felt the comment was inappropriate, sexist and objectionable. Some sassy comments by women wondered aloud how Ramdev had come to the conclusion. Others questioned if Yoga empowered the ‘Guru’ with an X-ray eye.
Maharashtra, where female saints like Muktabai, Janabai and Bahinabai and statespersons like Jijabai, the mother of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Ahilyabai Holkar and Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi are revered, reacted even more vehemently.
The Maharashtra State Commission for Women sought an explanation from Ramdev and he promptly expressed regret and issued an apology.
The controversy took on a political colour with women’s groups questioning the deputy chief minister’s wife over her failure to protest then and there. She should have walked out, suggested many. Others pointed out that the Yoga Guru had addressed her first and said, ‘Amrutaji here also looks good in a salwar kameez’. She is being panned for not standing up for women’s dignity and letting the crass comment go unchallenged. To add to the discomfiture of the BJP, the son of chief minister Eknath Shinde, who happens to be an MP, was also seated next to Ramdev.
Meanwhile both National Commission for Women and Union Minister for women and child welfare Smriti Irani are under pressure to comment and condemn. Irani is known to react to the tiniest slight to any woman but her continuing silence is being increasingly described as duplicity and a lack of courage in taking up women-related issues when it comes to injustice by ‘friends’ of the BJP.
It's not a state secret that Ramdev is close to the current regime but he is not the only one to offend women. Early this month Sambhaji Bhide, said to be Narendra Modi’s guru, was rude to a woman reporter for not wearing a bindi and refusing to talk to her. Abdul Sattar, a minister in the Eknath Shinde cabinet had also made sexually explicit remarks against the Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule which triggered demands for his dismissal from the cabinet.
Chairperson Of MSWC Rupali Chakankar confirmed receiving an email from Ramdev but added that the Commission will examine the videos of the event in detail and take appropriate action, if necessary.