The English media went into overdrive yesterday. They’d managed to find another misogynist to quote, and as a cherry on the sexist cake this quote was from Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of the RSS, the English media’s favourite bug bear. According to most of the English press, Bhagwat, a chauvinistic prig, had the temerity to make a public speech stating that women are bound to look after their husbands by contract, and if they didn’t fulfil their duties, their husbands could and should leave them. And that a woman’s place is in the kitchen doing household chores. Many news channels ran with the story. And their public school educated reporters and editors tweeted and retweeted gleefuly with gay abandon, exposing the shakha-types.
Only problem, Bhagwat – whose main sin appears to be that he wears khaki bermudas despite the effect the vision might have on unsuspecting viewers – has been misquoted. He was commenting on the Western model of modernity. And in that context, he was articulating his view of their view. Get it? He said in the “modern” interpretation of marriage (not his), women are bound by contract to serve their husbands. He also said that husbands were bound to look after their wives. Much like women are supposed to look after household chores and keep their husbands satisfied, men are expected to provide for their wives and look after them, as per the modern version of the marriage contract. And if either the wife or husband didn’t manage to do so, the dissatisfied party breaks the contract and contracts a second or third, as per the modern version of the marriage contract. Get it?
But that’s too boring a story to run with. So let’s pillory the bermuda-clad wonder instead and say that “BHAGWAT SAYS WOMEN SHOULD STAY IN THE KITCHEN AND COOK”. “AND THOSE WHO DON’T COO,K WELL SHOULD BE BEATEN”. Ok no one actually ran with that, but admit it, some of you were itching to. Yes you. You know who you are.
Here are just some of the reports which carried the incorrect quote.
Only to have to retract the story the very next day. So the morning of January 7, 2013 saw a flurry of tweets from editors and journalists alike eating their words and wiping the egg off their faces. And of course, blaming ANI (which is everyone’s favourite whipping boy [after the RSS] ever since the Theek Hai fiasco) for posting the wrong story. Maybe, just maybe, the various news channels could have cross-checked the video (a mammoth 4-minute clip that too) themselves and then carried the story.
Thanks to the English media’s prejudice against the RSS and the right-wing, the RSS has managed to get a free PR campaign for itself. Suddenly, from being viewed as chauvinistic and misogynistic (not without reason), the RSS and Bhagwat have come across as misunderstood and wronged. Take a bow, o English media. You’ve done it again.
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