All women are equal to men but not to their husbands. Or that's what BJP MLA Nandkishore Gurjar seems to believe. The Uttar Pradesh MLA from Loni recently gave a shout out to actress Anushka Sharma's husband and cricketer Virat Kohli, asking him to divorce her because he did not like a show she produced.
After filing a complaint against the actress-producer for using his photo in Amazon show 'Paatal Lok' without his permission, Gurjar went one step forward to deliver the ultimate blow - he complained to Anushka's husband.
While the demand sounds irrational, even laughable to the extent of being a total joke, it comes from a place of understated misogyny that is only too common in India. Women are equal to men and the pride of the nation but ultimately, they are at the mercy of their male guardians. From father to brother to husband to son, women always seem to be at the mercy of the men in their life.
Despite women proving themselves independent and successful across arenas, men like Gurjar continue to refuse to allow even talented and highly successful women such as Anushka the dignity of their own independent identities. Women to them are still someone's wife or mother - a relationship that not only defines her but can also be used as a punitive measure to keep her in check.
Gurjar's comment was, in fact, one step away from a call to beat his wife for what she had done.
But Gurjar isn't the only one to reduce Anushka to nothing but an extension of Virat, whom she married in 2017. Every time the current captain of the Indian cricket team and inadvertent poster boy of the hedonistic Indian male fails to impress on the pitch, wife Anushka gets the rap.
An entire country of trolls descends upon the woman with accusatory tales of how Anushka's presence distracts Virat, leading to poor performance, every time he doesn't match up the expectations of the cricket fans. While everyone loves "Virushka", Anushka often ends up as the punching bag for disgruntled Indians looking to place blame for their own failures and the failures of their country and cricket team.
Perhaps it's too simplistic to try and tell the Gurjar that Anushka is not her husband's daughter and that her marriage to Virat is not pocket money that he can withdraw because she was bad. Perhaps it is too optimistic to hope that Gurjar realises he has no right to tell anyone whom to divorce or marry based on personal grievances. Perhaps it is too late to hope for a change in the way a majority of Indian politicians speak about women public without receiving any censure.
But this is what the BJP MLA and other politicians need to understand-- asking someone to divorce their wives isn't really a punishment for women. Also, if Kohli didn't seek your permission to marry Anushka, we are pretty sure he doesn't care for your divorce advise either.