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Questioning Katju

Noopur Tiwari has a few points of contention to Katju’s response to her letter to him. We're dreading his response.

Noopur Tiwari

Dear Justice Katju,

This is Noopur here. Thank you for writing to me. Apologies for not writing this letter as Alice. I know you have a penchant for viewing women as fairy-tale characters. But maybe it’s time to start seeing women as real people with real problems.

The current conversation on India’s women is not a needless and dangerous obsession as your articles suggest. It’s an important dialogue for India’s women, something that your generation failed to initiate. I have noted and appreciated that you mention the need for “great social changes” to stop crimes against women. Great changes can start with small protests.

Please understand this is not just about one recent incident but also about our response to it, which is far from being flawless, yet raises important and complex questions. A confused first response is better than no response at all. There are so many sane voices in this clamour too. Turning a deaf ear to them or trying to silence them would be criminal.

As for the “Indian sisters and mothers” you speak of, they represent a model that glorifies women in sacrificial roles. I also have problems with your “teacher-student” allegory as it sounds excessively patronising. The vigilante action on women in the end is disturbing for me even as a metaphor.

Sometimes you speak in a detached tone like an erudite bystander making scientific observations about “rampant cruelty against women”. I would urge you to put down the 19th century French and Bengali authors you are quoting from, and read some of the hard-hitting stuff being written every single day after the Delhi rape.

Conspicuous by its absence from your examples, is the poisonous bias against women in the judiciary. Given that it’s an area of your expertise, we hope that you will blog about that soon in the context of violence against women (both rich and poor).

Here are 10 questions for you.

1. Are you a supporter of rape? Because if you are pro-poor, then by the logic you are applying to me, you must be?

2. When there are a multitude of problems, do you think we can afford to wait for one to get solved before starting to fix another?

3. What makes you think women who are against rape and sexual harassment are pro-poverty and pro-hunger?

4.  The day I wrote to you, rape or women’s stories were not in the topmost headlines. Did you see hunger, farmer suicides and unemployment replace them?

5. Did you know gender discrimination plays a huge role in preventing women from access to health care?

6. Do you know that employment is not just about getting a pay but also about “higher security through an established legal position”? (UNICEF)

7. Why are you positing rape against poverty & hunger, if not to express your contempt for women who are “liberated” enough to challenge authority?

8. If this were to become the women’s movement India has never had, would you still reject it as something quite as ridiculous as a war against “all” men?

9. You are asking the media not to give too much space to women’s issues. You do know that this is the opposite of what activists desire in the rest of the world?

10. Do you think women will be gifted their rights on a platter or do you think educated, relatively well-off women who have the freedom and the time to protest can play a crucial role?

Yours sincerely,

Noopur

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More from Noopur Tiwari


  • Ashish Baidyanathan

    I am sure, he will quote the SATI PRATHA legilation, Undp stats & some other figure, throw out some more insults and end his writeup answering any of these.

    • Indian Fool

      ROFL, exactly! But what I liked best about your response regarding Katju’s response … was the inevitability that there WILL be a response in the first place, and that Katju will 101% surely not pass up an opportunity to bless the world with the fragrance of his wisdom … ha ha ha!

      Today I saw in the news that Hollywood actress Jodie Fisher has come out as a lesbian. I am sure Katju will have (or probably already has) some profound theories and opinion on this matter as well, that he will no doubt articulate verbosely in his next letter / article / blog / comment … LOL!

  • Pingback: My spat with Justice Katju | Whirling

  • anon

    test

  • anon

    This could have been an interesting discussion but for the fact that Noopur has stooped low and accused Katju, J of being a supporter of rape. There are two perspectives on how to reduce or eliminate the problem of rape: adopt a focussed approach, or adopt a holistic approach. Both perspectives can be defended. Sadly, Noopur has chosen the path of confrontation using obscenities rather than of rational discussion and resolution.

    • LH

      Dear anon, the first ques is not attacking Justice Katju of being a supporter of rape. It is saying- just as Justice Katju in being ‘anti poverty’ is not ‘pro-rape’ the protesters being ‘anti-rape’ are not ‘pro-proverty.’ Got it?

      • anon

        This is what Noopur says: “Are you a supporter of rape? Because if you are pro-poor, then by the logic you are applying to me, you must be?”

        I leave it to others to decide whether Noopur is accusing Katju, J of being a supporter of rape. Just because Katju, J is in favor of adopting a holistic approach in tackling the menace of rape does not mean he is pro-rape.

        • LH

          You are having a problem of comprehension. But Justice Katju is smart enough to see the point. You are taking only part of the sentence to create polemic.

          • RA

            You misunderstand, Anon. She is trying to point out the ridiculousness in J Katju’s accusation that women who are anti-rape are necessarily pro-proverty. By the same logic, since J Katju is anti-poverty, he should be pro-rape, right? But he is not. Hence the argument is ridiculous. This is a classic form of argument in which you prove a premise to be false by following that premise as true and then showing how ridiculous the consequences that follow are. I am sure J Katju understood better than you did.

  • http://twitter.com/manjuado Manjunath K B

    Justice Katju lets hear your response for this lady’s questions. Don’t be ignorant please respond.

  • http://twitter.com/bhanuprakashtk Bhanu Prakash T K

    hi nupur, Katju , i think like all freedon loving indiviudals, why dont we just let them have their views and let the better idea prevail. or this could go on forver.

  • Ravi

    Probably both are saying the same thing. It is just that their passion and focus for one set of problems over the other make each look at the other as an opponent. I am sure both of them and us readers will agree and realise that the set of problems brought out by Mr. Katju and Ms. Tiwari need to be tackled. If each empathises with the other’s point of view and focus and join hands, we will probably have a stronger force to reckon with and fight the malaise.

  • martin

    “Questioning Katju” – what now? has he become the punching bag of all and sundry? If someone like Ramchandra Guha argues with Katju, I would still be OK. Noopur, in my opinion, presents arguments that come from half-understanding. And what’s with the overdone photo-shopped image of Noopur stretching her hand out? Is News Laundary getting into Tamasha Journalism?

  • http://www.facebook.com/sanjayjoshi01 Sanjay Joshi

    Katju, I hope you do not hide again behind a garb of verbosity, and address her questions one by one. I am also convinced if you do that, your pseudo-intellectual, pathetic first article will stand exposed for what it is – a senseless rambling of a man who wants to say something even when he doesn’t have something important to say.

  • RG

    @martin- not sure if Ramachandra guha will have anything to add- maybe just an exclamation mark!! Why don’t you ask him if he disagrees with Noopur’s view? @anon – I’m afraid LH is right about the interpretation of that sentence.

    • martin

      Now that you have written on Guha’s ”behalf” and that he might only add ”exclamations” – I have nothing more to say – are you his chaddi-buddy or something? NewsLaundary must encourage arguments and discourse which are insightful – I am really disappointed with this one.

  • Fakir

    Dear Nupur,

    I am writing this letter to you to make a very small question to you. The question is as follows:
    Why don’t you stop harassing Justice Katju with your feminist way of aggressive arguments? Do you realize that these kind of arguments only harasses the nice people (like justice katju) who are already very sincere towards the issue.

    I don’t mean to be rude to you, but seriously you really need to do more study on this subject. There is a lot of research done on this issue. They are available on internet. Please spend some time on that. And try to read as much as you can, without your pre-existing biases(news channels are stuffed with that). Believe me, It won’t harm you.

    Once again, i wrote this letter in all sincerity, and not to embarrass of you.

    Hope you will take this in right spirit.

    Thanks
    Fakir

  • http://www.facebook.com/phanireddy.baddam Phani Reddy Baddam

    OMFG! FemiNazism at its best.

    This article is a perfect example of ignorance and pseudo-journalism!

    Who on earth with senses can be a supporter of rape or violence against women, the comments by Mr.Katju was in the context to awaken the educated population to not only fight on singled out & media hyped issue but also on every other serious issue out there.

    Does any media report the world record Indian farmer suicides in the same extent as they did in Delhi rape case and make the Indian youth react the same way they did in this particular case. Bollocks, they will do!

  • Mona

    Omg Misogy-Nazi! Before setting the house on fire please re-read Noopur’s ques. Don’t you see she has used the same tone & logic that Katju uses on Alice & Little red riding hood, to demonstrate that he cannot be called ‘supporter of rape’ just because he is ‘pro-poor’ just as Alice & Riding Hood in supporting women are not crazy haters of the poor. Please note also that Noopur talks about poor women. In fact re-read the whole response because you seem to have understood nothing or don’t want to perhaps.
    What a shame! Well done Noopur for asking perfect questions. Katju type of people depress me.

  • Puja Mandayam

    Shocking how Katju and his supporters are non stop singing the same song. Noopur’s response is balanced. Katju should acknowledge that his articles were offensive and insensitive towards Indian women. It’s ridiculous to say great change required and then make fun of people who are making an effort to do so.

    Mature response expected from someone who is Press Council of India chairman. He should take this in the right spirit or he should resign.

    • LH

      Agree!

  • RG

    Oho! phani and fakir have missed the bus completely- Not understood a word of what is being said. Katju has i think- therefore no response this time . Never mind boys.. Keep trying- read the articles again- aloud and slowly. I’m sure you’ll get it eventually!

    • Fakir

      Well i read it once more as you said, loudly this time so you can listen to it clearly. Justice Katju also replied to this letter. So, RG, Oho!!

  • discus

    Noopur has misintrepreted the whole thing!! First people are whining about rape and atrocities, but the same people should have raised voice against dowry,domestic violence,poverty at the same time. They should realise that rape is just not the only crime against women.

    Moreover many people are hanging boards to hang the culprits. if they are to judge the kind of punishment culprits should be handed why courts? what is the meaning of democracy? did the protestors ever think about wives of the accused? not everyone has equal share in the crime, someone among them might be afraid that retaliating with other five could harm him. There are so many other factors that are to be considered. Moreover the victims friend was the first man handled the culprits had he gone the gandhian way it would have been different( probably there wouldnt be rape and assault at all) infuriated man doesn’t know what he’s doing. I’m not supporting or finding fault with the victim or supporting the culprits. All i’m saying is a probability. Protesting is good but judging isnt.

    Fair trial is to be given no matter what kind of offence it is. I was happy to see people coming to streets and demanding justice and change in the law. I would’ve been more happier had they voiced the concerned the voice of poor people at the same time i.e., against domestic violence.

  • S Kumar

    So, it boils down to as expected – Ms Tiwari putting words in Justice Katju’s mouth. I never expected a journalist to be competent enough to take on a Supreme Court justice, but this is a new low.

  • Vir Inder Pal Singh

    Noopur ! Do read this hard hitting open letter to Katju –

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/opinion/Open-letter-to-Justice-Katju-Free-the-press-dont-muzzle-it/articleshow/18114083.cms

    You seem to have inspired some more people !

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