Newly appointed chief minister of Uttarakhand Tirath Singh Rawat has defended his “ripped jeans remark” saying that he stands by what he said even after intense backlash. Earlier, Rawat had objected to ripped jeans saying women wearing ripped jeans set a ‘bad example’. After the backlash, Rawat has said that he has no objection towards women wearing jeans, but objected to ripped jeans. Earlier, he had expressed his apprehension towards bare knees being exposed and went on to draw a parallel between the Indian and western culture. He also said that while the western world is following our tradition of yoga and ‘covering up’, Indians were running towards ‘nudity.’
“Kaynchi se sanskaarn (sharp manners) – showing bare knees, wearing ripped denim and looking like rich kids – these are the values being given now. Where is this coming from, if not at home? What is the fault of teachers or schools? Where am I taking my son, showing his knees and in tattered jeans? Girls are no less, showing their knees. Is this good? While the western world follows us, doing yoga … covering their body properly. And we run towards nudity,” he had said.
Hitting out at the sartorial choices of women, Rawat recalled an incident where he had come across a woman ‘in ripped jeans’ who ran an NGO and expressed his concern about the kind of ‘message’ she is putting out to the world.
“If this kind of woman goes out in the society to meet people and solve their problems, what kind of message are we giving out to society, to our kids? It all starts at home. What we do, our kids follow. A child who is taught the right culture at home, no matter how modern he becomes, will never fail in life,” said the Chief Minister.
After Rawat’s remark, women took to social media to express their displeasure with his remark and started posting their pictures with #RippedJeans. Several women, including celebrities like Gul Panag, posted pictures in response.
Meanwhile, Rawat’s wife professor Rashmi Tyagi, defended his statement saying it was “blown out of context” and “wrongly interpreted”. She said Rawat was talking about blindly aping western culture while ignoring their own.
“He was talking about how we are aping western culture blindly and not following our own traditions and values which are seeped with thousands of years of cultural wisdom. But his one word was picked up and blown out of context and wrongly interpreted. He spoke for nearly one hour, but nobody talks about the whole theme he was trying to focus on. Did he say only one word-jeans?” asked Prof Tyagi, who teaches psychology at Garhwal University.