The coming out of BJP’s (India's main opposition party) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as a “married” man has a lot of implications for the country and for Indian women in particular. Modi acknowledged for the first time that he is indeed married; to a woman called Jashodaben Modi. He never consummated the marriage nor divorced his wife and left her to suffer for the rest of her life.
This dereliction of duty toward his wife should be reason enough for 49% of India’s female population to shun his candidacy and other 51% to abandon him in solidarity with them. Can we allow "Mother India" to be led by a man, whose attitude towards women can be gauged from the fact that he abandoned his wife and did nothing to dispel the myth of him being a ‘bachelor’ all these years?
This man is no ascetic, if that is what his supporters have been dreaming of their hero. The recent Snoopgate involving the surveillance of a young woman named Madhuri on the orders of a “Sahib” (an apparent reference to Modi) reeks of the veritable “Saheb, Sahiba, aur Woh.” (The Man, His Better Half and the Other Half) This sordid drama involved the use of Gujarat police machinery and total violations of phone tapping laws to satisfy the whims of a Saheb (Master) of Gujarat.
The stalking of this woman, her future husband, and her family crossed several other state lines. Can India afford to have as its highest executive someone who is not averse to misusing the official apparatus for sleaze? This callousness and disrespect toward women is a defining characteristic of Modi and his supporters.
One of the most horrifying aspects of the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 was the brutal sexual violence inflicted on hundreds of women, many of whom were then burned alive. The utter savagery that was wreaked upon totally helpless women and girls can only be unleashed by those who do not value even the women in their own families.
Modi, his supporters, and the killers of Gujarat stand on the same pedestal, share the same disdain for women, and will give the country only what is dictated by their values, or lack thereof.
The country has already had enough skeletons falling out of Modi’s cupboard, with complicity in the riots, illegal encounter killings, Snoopgate, illegal detention of youth from the minorities and the intimidation of Sikh farmers in Kutch.
Modi cannot shut out the silent cries of the women who were raped, killed or burnt alive under his watch. The Indian masses must express their outrage over the rapes of these countless women by decisively showing Modi and those of his ilk, that the highest executive office in India is out of bounds for those who do not know the importance of safeguarding women’s rights.
[Zafar Siddiqui is an IT professional of Indian origin who lives in Minnesota, USA. He is a community activist, an interfaith leader, and a blogger for Minnesota's largest newspaper.]Last Mod: 14 Nisan 2014, 14:16