India continues to struggle with political and social issues, especially those affecting women, even at a time when the country is struggling in the grip of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Between the fight for human rights and one of the biggest festivals celebrated in the country, social media was ripe with interesting comments this week too.
Award-winning journalist Rana Ayyub and top standup comedian Aditi Mittal both shared disturbing developments which throw light on anti-minority sentiments in the country:
Muslims and Pets not allowed. This is one of the most posh addresses in Mumbai, Bandra. This is 20th century India. Remind me we are not a communal nation, tell me this is not apartheid ? pic.twitter.com/OFxGNDzTMq
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) October 24, 2020
Much before 2014, 2012 to be exact, I overheard a drunk conversation between two men at a diwali pandal at the building I lived in in Andheri West, Mumbai. They were both discussing how relieved they are since the only Muslim family in the building moved out that year.
— out of context aditi mittal (@awryaditi) October 24, 2020
It’s not just Muslims, but Hindu ‘lower’ caste people who continue to face this discrimination.
Supreme Court lawyer Karuna Nundy highlighted the larger picture with an apt tweet...
When you have been used to Dalits sitting on the floor, being beaten for wearing slippers or bright shirts, of course you're going to think Chandrashekhar Azad is flying too high if he uses a helicopter like other politicians.
— Karuna Nundy (@karunanundy) October 19, 2020
... as did Communist Feminist Kavita Krishnan, on a fiery tweet-thread on how upper caste scriptures have determined the fate of everyone but upper cast men:
The essence of the Manusmriti isn't that it "treats women like prostitutes". It is that it treats women like mothers, daughters, wives, sisters to be controlled by fathers, husbands, sons - and decrees that women must NOT be treated as autonomous human beings. @thirumaofficial
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) October 24, 2020
Incidentally, lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat - who had represented the victim in the infamous Kathua rape case of 2018 - was targeted by online trolls as well as hooligans chanting death threats to her outside her house, all for a tweet on the ongoing Hindu festival and the lack of safety of women in the country. She later said, “My intention was not to hurt religious sentiments. I did not abuse Goddess Durga. I have received calls and messages threatening me and my family members. But despite the controversy, I had the guts to let my tweet be. I did not delete it.”
Also Watch: Karuna Nundy speaks to MAKERS India
While one section abused her, many came in her defense too - among them actor and activist Swara Bhasker:
Tweeting this cartoon led to a mob collecting outside the house of @DeepikaSRajawat last night. Why? Can we no longer comment on the hypocrisy of our society - where we worship the Goddess but where rape is like an epidemic? Let’s take a moment & ask ourselves what have we become https://t.co/sL4Tb1LAQO
— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) October 21, 2020
And author Kiran Manral, as always, made an observation that was quite spot on!
“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”
― Isaac Asimov
— Kiran Manral (@KiranManral) October 22, 2020
Of course, the world - including a billion Indians - are still fighting the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and NASSCOM President Debjani Ghosh called for simple yet effective steps to protect ourselves, via interesting tweets:
Happy Dussera let’s not test positive for Covid but think positive for economic resurgence pic.twitter.com/1WEYI6dFRK
— Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (@kiranshaw) October 25, 2020
This was a difficult share as I am heartbroken for my friend n his family. I shared it as he urged me to....he wants others to learn from his mistake. We all make mistakes...but very few of us have the courage to not just learn from our mistakes ...but share it with others. https://t.co/xIFGQ8ZQqq
— debjani ghosh (@debjani_ghosh_) October 24, 2020