If the scholastic maxim, ‘actio sequitur esse’ – action is in accordance with the person that acts – is to be trusted, the fruitfulness or the futility of an action depends on the one who acts. For, every action and feeling is preceded by a thought. A clean mind and pure thoughts are sine qua non for making external cleanliness a reality. The three-year old Swachh Bharat Campaign with its best of intention to clean India from its external filth cannot wash unless the minds of the campaigners themselves are first cleansed of their mental cobwebs. The recent outburst made by a District Magistrate in Bihar, “Sell your wife if you can't build a toilet”, while on his swacchta drive is a case in point.
The filthy words spoken by a civil servant brought downright condemnation on his appallingly anti-women and misogynic mindset. However, the DM in question reportedly denied the allegations and asked the public to read his full speech. Well, the ‘wife-selling shame’ flashed on the various news channels and the YouTube have left little to our imagination. July 23 reports in mainstream newspapers and channels have one of the villagers from the audience saying, “Sir, I don’t have the money to build a toilet.” To this, District magistrate of Bihar’s Aurangabad Kanwal Tanuj responded, “I will talk to you. If that is the case then go and sell your wife. If this is the mentality you have then go and sell your wife. So many people talk about advance payment, they get advance and then spend it on useless things.”
Such foul language of the DM is but a reflection of India’s collective mindset on women. The gender discrimination and commoditization of women in India has been a blatantly obvious evil in this country. Gender stereotypes and traditional norms have been perpetuating the male dominance in India. Despite the media’s condemnation of such obnoxious, arrogant and abusive words spoken by a district magistrate who is bound by his office to protect every citizen of the district, few political leaders and women-organizations in India have come out against the filthy language of the DM.
Purity of speech is an expected norm for public figures anywhere in the 21st century world. A district magistrate u ttering vulgar words in public degrades himself and defames the country. It’s high time to tame the leaders in India and get their attitudes towards women changed or else such scandalous and socially unacceptable language will become permissive in India. Worst still will be the negative influence they will have on the young generation.
The aphorism, "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he," literally means that a man/ woman is what he/she thinks, his/her character being the complete sum of one’s thoughts.
(Published on 31st July 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 31)