Person of the Week: Abu Azmi


Person of the Week: Abu Azmi

Illustration: Mandar Mhaskar

Abu Azmi should write a book. This self-help guide, addressed to women, will detail rules on who they ought to meet, suitable time of day for such a meeting, appropriate dress, the dangers of listening to Beyoncé, and the right amount of alcohol it takes for it to be the woman’s fault that the guy molested her (zero point none per cent).

Abu Azmi has so much poor advice stored in his body, even his poop is patronising. As women in Bangalore brought in the new year with one tragic incident after another, Azmi escalated the situation by claiming such incidents are bound to happen since women equated fashion with fewer clothes. You’d think that by this point, a minion would have slunk up to Abu Azmi – who is the chief of the Samajwadi Party in Mumbai and an elected representative – and said, “Psst. Your misogyny is showing.”

Azmi instead, in the manner of male politicians the world over, decided to double down. He continued his tirade with something about how India’s daughters should not be allowed out after sunset with a man who isn’t their husband or brother – thus ensuring that sales at his son’s flourishing restaurant business tank. What if a girl has no brother or husband, Mr Azmi? Is she supposed to go back home at 7.59 pm, lock herself up in her room, and read your party manifesto?

We shouldn’t be too surprised with Azmi’s statements, given the fact that a couple of years ago, his party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav started down this stellar path of blaming everything except the sexual offenders. Yadav is a hall-of-famer who argued that “boys will be boys” in a conversation about capital punishment for rapists.

Enter, on cue, #NotAllMen. Friendly tip: If you used that hashtag to mansplain molestation to women, you are a small part of the problem.

Then again, when have male politicians not held women responsible for the sexual violence done to them? Azmi’s statement came soon after G Prameswara’s, the Karnataka Home Minister who acknowledged the mass molestation with an insightful, “These things happen.” As if he hadn’t gutter-mouthed us enough, Azmi then went on to seal the deal with the most cringe-worthy statement a man his age can make: “If there is spilt sugar, the ants will come.” Abu Azmi has now proved to be about as useful as a Chipmunk. Some people (his party cadres, I suppose) are happy to have him around, but nobody really wants him to open his mouth.

Even considering the Indian politician track record, this series of statements is especially disturbing. For one, it’s 2017, and we thought we were really done with this shit. Two, these are statements of actual elected representatives, not some fringe conservative group in the hinterland. Three, not only do these leaders clearly have no sympathy for the women in question, they are outright condoning molestation of someone who isn’t dressed to their standards. Take for instance Abu Azmi’s son, who at first distanced himself from his father’s remarks, but then went on to “slut shame” Esha Gupta by retweeting a photo of her “nangapan”.

Enter, on cue, #NotAllMen. Friendly tip: If you used that hashtag to mansplain molestation to women, you are a small part of the problem. Telling an entire gender something they are clearly aware of with oodles of condescension doesn’t make you a hero. Then there are the few who explained, much like Abu Azmi, that “Western culture and clothing” was really leading to more rapes, even as their left hands typed “Hot Bollywood item song” into Google.

What the fuck does “Western culture” mean, anyway? Who comes up with this shit? If it means that you aren’t wearing “traditional attire”, then Abu Azmi should burn all his shirts. If it means staying out at a restaurant, he should burn down his son’s Basilico, Chai Coffi, and Koyla. If it means drinking alcohol and partaking of drugs, he should really be reading more about the history of India. Then maybe someday, he’ll realise how wrong it is to blame some obscure foreign culture for rape – which is, by now, clearly an Indian problem.  

Until that happens, we are content naming Abu Azmi Person of the Week. Lock up your female friends and dictate their dress codes, because at this party, everyone is an expert on how women should behave.