Justice Markandey Katju-
Today on 8th March Aurat March ( March by women ) will be held in several cities of Pakistan. I have expressed my full support to this march in my article ‘Why I as an Indian support Pakistan’s Aurat March’ published in nayadaur.tv.
Nevertheless, there are many slogans proposed in this march by some persons which I believe will do much more harm than good to the cause of women’s rights and women’s emancipation despite their intentions as they are liable to be misconstrued.
I have already mentioned my opinion about the slogan Mera Jism Meri Marzi in my articles ‘The slogan Mera Jism Meri Marzi is doing more harm than good’ published in punjabtoday.in, and ‘Aurat March should withdraw the controversial slogan Mera Jism Meri Marzi’ published in nayadaur.tv.
I have stated there that this slogan can be construed to support the glass of water theory propounded by the Russian revolutionary Alexandra Kollontai ( 1872-1952 ) which says that desire for sex is like the thirst for water, as expressed by the character Zhenya in Kollontai’s story ‘Three Generations’. Zhenya lives with two men, is pregnant by one, doesn’t know by whom, and doesn’t care.
Lenin condemned the glass of water theory, calling it ‘bourgeois prostitution’. He said that sex between humans is different from sex between animals, inasmuch as it has a cultural aspect to it too, and is not just physical. Ordinarily, no woman will surrender her body to a man unless she loves and respects him, and knows that he wants a stable relationship with her, and will take care of her, particularly when she is having and rearing her children.
But apart from that there are many other objectionable slogans, which I earnestly request should be withdrawn.
Some of these are :
(1) Apna khaana khud garam kar lo
This is a silly slogan. As long as women were not working and earning, she had the responsibility to cook for the family. But when both husband and wife are earning they can share the household chores ( as is done in Western countries ), including cooking. Moreover, with pressure cookers and other modern gadgets cooking is easier now.
(2) Lo baith gayi sahi se
One cannot conceive of a more vulgar ( behooda ) slogan, and no further comment is needed about it.
(3) Mujhe kya maloom tumhaara moza kahaan hai
I fail to understand what this slogan seeks to convey. Socks can be misplaced by wives too, in which case the husband will be told to hunt for it ( this many husbands can say from personal experience; one’s wife is constantly misplacing things, and then the husband will be told to look for it ).
(4) Dupatta itna pasand hai to apne aankhon par bandh lo
Is this such a vital issue for women? The vital issues for them are mentioned in my article ‘Why I as an Indian support Pakistan’s Aurat March’ viz nourishing food for them and their children, proper medical care for their families, good education for them and their children, job opportunities, freedom from violence e.g. rape, domestic violence, etc and complete equality with men in most spheres.
I am perhaps more modern-minded and pro-women than most people, but I request that the above slogans be withdrawn immediately. As I noticed from the net, they are giving a handle and ammunition to reactionary opponents of women’s equality and emancipation to propagate against the Aurat March and build up public opinion against it. Why give them this opportunity? Surely other slogans can be coined which do not do so.
[Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own]