Surinder Singh Sohal
THOSE knocked off their pedestal or perch in politics and in the world of glamour and showbiz by the #MeToo wave must be ruing their sexual peccadilloes and wandering hands that belatedly did them in: their comeuppance. Suffering the blowback of their misdeeds, they must be pensively humming the line of a KL Saigal song, ‘Hum pe aisi bhi banegi humein maloom na tha’.
Times, they are a-changing. The campaign has outed them for what they are: control freaks, using their position of power to exploit vulnerable juniors with little or no restraining power. In their defence, the accused may say that the woman was asking for it and why did she not complain earlier. From the standpoint of a victim, it is understandable that she thought, better a known devil than an unknown one, given that society is overwhelmingly patriarchal. Moreover, she feels emboldened now — as the accused was earlier — by the campaign the world over and dares to stand up and be counted. Those victimised similarly rose in protest in chorus. An isolated case can be termed as politically motivated, but a wave and a chorus of protest cannot be termed as motivated by politics of gender.
But our past misdeeds, as distinct from youthful indiscretions, are in the habit of revisiting us, particularly if we happen to be in public life since detractors are always out to dig up dirt. Those facing the allegations of sexual harassment should have known better! The journalist-turned-politician, who had to resign as minister, knew the power of the Press but not the Pulpit and the Petticoat.
If an accused is convicted, he may say that he knew the victim, but not in the Biblical sense. You cannot win the affections of the opposite sex by harassment. You can do so by sheer force of your character; by conducting yourself in a dignified manner, consistent with whatever exalted position one may be holding; by inspiring confidence among juniors and through delegation of power, thus endearing oneself to them.
It all boils down to the fact that though the eternal plight of a woman is her physiology, but since we are civilised beings, our conduct towards them should be tempered with empathy, compassion and fellow feelings at home, at work and everywhere in the public sphere.
Even in the animal kingdom, mating is guided by natural instincts — there is no coercion. In this domain, even nature is protective of the female of the species. Suitor males may violently lock horns to win her favour. Is it not cue enough for us humans to be more humane vis-a-vis the distaff side?
Source Link: https://www.tribuneindia.com