The second month of the jittery twenty nineteen is ringing anxious bells all over the country. While this year has been colder than usual, even for dehydrated states like Gujarat, the political heat wave has been burning the minds of leaders, followers and the opposing masses who do not like the previous two.
January took everyone by surprise with the announcement of Priyanka Gandhi finally taking the much-awaited leap of faith. It is an exciting phase for INC members and supporters, but a pendulum alert for BJP, SP and BSP as the enchantress decided to take the caste-oriented parties head-on from UP East. The year of Lok Sabha elections are the only years in which people from UP earn some neutral attention and importance. Otherwise, they are only labelled as illiterate criminals who shift the local crime graph of the provinces they migrate to in the guise of earning a livelihood. Duh, Who cares about the vast labour force!
Valentine’s week has just begun and Modi’s army couldn’t get more romantic with their favourite Robert Vadra. Don’t be surprised if he is also blamed for relatively newer issues like the controversial credits of the movie ‘Manikarnika’. Indira Gandhi has sometimes been referred to as ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’, after all! ‘It’s all in the name’, will say the wounded BJP who keeps crying foul for nepotism like Kangana Ranaut.
Ms Gandhi has not even given her first official speech yet watching news has become more glamorous, with some men leering at her and wondering how on earth could Vadra woo her. But how did they end up marrying anyway? Priyanka and Robert were childhood friends. Robert also provided great support when Priyanka was dealing with grief after suddenly losing her father in 1991. Gone are the days of Sardar Patel’s honesty, Vadra took the son-in-law advantage to launder money and acquire land illegally. The courts have been dying to see him but like a shy bride he just doesn’t want to unveil his ‘Chaand sa mukhda’. BJP has been acting like a groom doomed with functional disorders on his first night.
Let’s think about our neighbour in the same context. Benazir Bhutto, the first woman to head a democratic government in a Muslim majority nation and an enthusiastic economist who encouraged privatisation, entered into an arranged marriage with a businessman, Asif Ali Zardari. Her friends from Harvard and Oxford were shocked to know this, given her modern attitude and interest in two men during her education at Ivy League Universities. Her liberal approach in personal life could not fight the political pressure from the conservative Islamists and she always supported her husband publicly. Benazir was loyal to Zardari throughout the many accusations and periods of imprisonment he faced despite not considering her husband to be an equal partner in the marriage. The multiple charges of corruption against her husband influenced her political image to the extent that a Pakistan Muslim League leader once expressed that the fate of PPP would have been entirely different had she married someone else. While their marriage was on the rocks, Benazir was assassinated soon after and Asif went on to become the President of Pakistan. Men always have it easy!
Moving our focus to a country so powerful that power-wastage is the last thing on their mind, Hillary Clinton has suffered in ways more than one. Bill Clinton’s own presidency survived the Monika Lewinsky scandal but Hillary Clinton had to lose on multiple fronts. Ironically, she continued her relationship with the unfaithful husband, perhaps to image herself as a family woman in front of the eyes of a pseudo-modernist America. But in reality, her beloved country is not so cool with a woman President even in the twenty first century (political reasons aside). What’s worse? She lost to an orange piece of crap! Society has always been unforgiving and insensitive to women who unlike them, chose to forgive the cheating husband. Opposing campaigns were tracking down Bill’s womanising spree and to no one’s surprise, in the midst of Hillary’s historic campaign, Bill was involved with other women. He never really apologised or felt sorry like Amitabh Bachchan, but Monica was ridiculed like Rekha and later wrote about ‘Shame and Survival’ in a Vanity far article. Jacqueline Kennedy was rumoured to have known at least about two of John’s affairs. Arnold Shwarznegger, however, tried to play smart by leaving the governor’s office in 2011 and announcing separation from wife Maria shortly before the news of his illegitimate child broke.
Priyanka has had a happy marriage for 22 years but Benazir, Hillary, Jacqueline or Maria weren’t that fortunate. Relationships are always volatile and much beyond the scope of human understanding, but whats worrisome is the pattern of guilt-free erring by men yet suffering for men’s actions by women. Keeping the political angle aside, I feel extremely sorry for how ironic and unfair life has been for Hillary and many women like her who choose to remain in unfaithful and abusive marriages for the sake of children, career or pressure from family and society.
The expectation to hold her family together at a moment of crisis and to provide future political viability for the spouse solely rests on the tired shoulders of a woman. We never even expect from men to take responsibility for a mistake or adultery, forget not committing them in the first place. The woman goes through so much personally, and then such harsh assumptions create a second level of humiliation. Cheaters do not look that bad if their wives still stand next to them, so the whole responsibility is ultimately on the women. Isn’t it time for us to let such unjust traditions go? Men will be men, agreed, but let a woman be more human than a wife!