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No woman deserves to be hurled with misogynist slurs, neither Mayawati, nor the women of erring Dayashankar Singh’s family

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Former Uttar Pradesh BJP vice president Dayashankar Singh was arrested on Friday in Bihar’s Buxar. Singh was arrested several days after charges were filed against him for making a sexually-explicit remark against Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati.

What undid Singh was a Facebook post. He had visited a Shiva temple in Jharkhand’s Deoghar district. The priest of the temple, a digitally advanced man, thought he would show off a little, and posted photographs of Singh on his Facebook account. Although the post was deleted later, the damage was done. The police in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar got moving, and arrested Singh, who was hiding in a sugar mill.

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Dayashankar Singh(c) visited the Shiv Temple in Deoghar

Moving back to the derogatory remark, it’s a common thing that politicians get dragged into the mud; it’s an occupational hazard. But Mayawati is pulled down with acidic remarks because one, she is a woman, and second she is a Dalit. A non-bowing Dalit woman as a major political leader is an eyesore to the typical Indian man.

And how do they bring her down? Of course by alluding to her ‘low’ caste, by calling her “ugly” or just by calling her “worse than a whore” for alleged malpractices within the party. The irony is, no matter how corrupt Mayawati is, she is not the lone politician to indulge in malpractices. So why does she get called a ‘whore’?

Mayawati, national president of the Bahujan Samaj Party

The row had started early this month, when expelled BJP leader Dayashankar Singh attacked Mayawati by calling her worse than a prostitute for selling party tickets. Singh raised a political storm with his misogynist comment. An FIR was filed against him by BSP following the incident. The BJP expelled Singh from the party for six years to save its face.

But what followed was an ugly war between the BSP and the BJP, not to mention the dragging of the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) into the tussle. To counter Dayashankar Singh’s attack, one of Mayawati’s men, BSP general secretary Naseemuddin Siddiqui said women in Singh’s family ─ his mother, wife and his 12-year-old daughter ─ need to be given to the crowd. Siddiqui, in a twisted way, thought the best way to counter the slur was by degrading women.

BJP leaders are demanding arrest of Naseemuddin Siddiqui

Siddiqui refused to express any regret saying he or party workers didn’t say anything “obscene” or “objectionable” against Singh. And Mayawati, in her arrogance, defended her man, saying he said it in “burst of anger”, because she is considered a “deity”. This comes from a woman, who decried casteist discrimination.

Had Mayawati been sensible enough, she would have chastised Siddiqui. But her dismissive attitude only reiterates the old saying that a woman’s worst enemy is another woman.