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Dear Governor Swaraj, Your Response to Troll Who Asked You to Beat Up Your Wife Reeks of Patriarchy

External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, has been facing abusive, violent tweets for a while now after she granted passport to an inter-faith couple last month.

Adrija Bose | News18.com

Updated:July 2, 2018, 5:45 PM IST
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Dear Governor Swaraj, Your Response to Troll Who Asked You to Beat Up Your Wife Reeks of Patriarchy
Union minister Sushma Swaraj with her husband Swaraj Kaushal.
In the dark world of Gilead’s religiously motivated misogyny, the Commander unzips his belt and beats up his wife Serena when he finds out that she had broken a rule. This was the ‘punishment’ meted out to wives for disobeying their husbands.

While Margaret Attwood’s ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ is set in a dystopian world, the misogyny that women witness online, regularly, is real. Very real.

External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, has been facing abusive, violent tweets for a while now after she granted passport to an inter-faith couple last month.

Things got really ugly on Saturday when one of the trolls tweeted at her husband asking him to ‘beat her up’ for ‘Muslim appeasement’.
Governor Swaraj has always taken his wife’s side. This time too, he defended his wife. And, rightfully so.

“Your words have given us unbearable pain,” Swaraj Kaushal tweeted.

He, then, went on to explain why he and his family adore Mrs Swaraj.

“Just to share with you, my mother died of cancer in 1993. Sushma was an MP and a former Education Minister. She lived in the hospital for a year. She refused to engage a medical attendant and attended on my dying mother personally…..Such was her devotion to the family. As per my father's wish, she lit my father's pyre. We adore her. Please do not use such words for her,” he wrote.

Now while Mr Swaraj may have meant well, this defence is way too messed up.

The reason for adoring the Foreign Minister can’t be just this, right? Just the fact that she spent an entire year, taking care of Mr Swaraj’s mother? Is Mr Sawaraj trying to say he had a ‘devoted’ wife and therefore, she shouldn’t be beaten up?

“We are first generation in law and politics. We pray for nothing more than her life. Pls convey my profound regards to your wife,” he further tweeted.

The troll’s tweet was obnoxious—he called for violence. Just like in ‘Handmaid’s Tale’, he wanted the husband to ‘teach’ his wife a ‘lesson’, because, according to him, she broke a rule. She did her job, by helping a couple get their passport when they were in trouble. But of course, how can a woman take such decisions, right?

This was the chance for Mr Swaraj to tell the world that men have not been given some superior rights. Men have not been tasked with ‘fixing’ their wives. And that, Mrs Swaraj, as the Foreign Minister, just did her job. But he made it all about her ‘devotion’ and her taking care of his family.

What if Mrs Swaraj didn’t take care of his family? What if she had to take care of her own family at the same time when Mr Swaraj’s mother was sick? What if she was so busy that she couldn’t have left her office to go to the hospital? Would Mr Swaraj not ‘adore’ her then? Would it be alright to use such words against her?

Governor Swaraj, also, very conveniently, ignores the ‘Muslim appeasement’ part of the troll’s message. Wasn’t this the perfect opportunity to send out a strong message—to let the world know that ‘secularism’ is more than a word in the Indian Constitution?

In a patriarchal world that we live in, the idea has always been that woman has to be ‘devoted’. Apparently, that’s what makes a ‘good’ woman. Mr Swaraj, in his own way, just conformed to all those ideas, and that’s a disappointment.

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