Women shouldn’t have mobile phones, politicians should: politician
Witness the latest public relations trap for a loose-lipped Indian politician, courtesy of the Deccan Chronicle:
BSP MP Rajpal Saini has now launched a tirade against mobile phones and has publicly declared that women and children do not need mobile phones… “Why do housewives and school going girls need mobiles? It encourages them to make futile small talk and get connected with people outside their homes.”
Mobile phones distract women, Saini said, and offer nothing useful for them, the Chronicle reported.
Saini did not say how Indian society would benefit from confiscating women’s mobile phones, but the context is wide and deep. Many more Indian women than ever before hold jobs, wear what they like, associate with whom they want and go out alone — and they talk on the phone. Meanwhile, many men cannot understand why this should happen during their lives. They have a hard time thinking of independence without the implication that its evil twin is sexual promiscuity. To them, independence leads to sex, which leads to rape, which leads to sullied family honour — and that is not just a quaint idea for much of the nation.
And that’s where the mobile phone confiscation idea comes. As the Chronicle notes, a Khap panchayat — or group of village elders — in Baghpat earlier this year banned women under 40 years of age from using mobile phones. When you’re on a mobile, you can go anywhere and say what you like in privacy to whomever you want. If you want control of your family, you don’t want this.
To me, it’s a pity that mobile phones should become an object of liberation. Those of us in India or elsewhere who must use them often wish we could shut them off. Maybe Saini feels the same way. According to the newspaper article, he said that among the people who should have the phones are emergency services personnel… and politicians. Why? They need to be connected all day long. What about politicians who are women?
(Bollywood actress Preity Zinta takes pictures with her mobile phone during the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit 2011 in Gandhinagar. Reuters photo: Amit Dave)