When liberal misogynists 'insist' Twinkle Khanna must share husband Akshay Kumar's ideology

Whether it is the Left or the Right, patriarchal beliefs and values are shared equally by men in India.

 |  4-minute read |   10-05-2017
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Whether Left wing or Right wing; conservative, liberal or fascist; capitalist or minimalist, there is one thing that's common among all Indian men — patriarchy. Or so it seems.

While we have come to expect misogyny as a default feature in the Indian Right wing, it should never come as a surprise that the same bug infects those who champion the liberal cause on the internet.

Recently, Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi. According to reports, the actor talked to the prime minister about his upcoming film Toilet: Ek Prem Katha — a comedy based on Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Akshay Kumar also shared a photo with Modi on his Twitter account.

As is expected, any photo with Modi in it gets blown out of proportion, especially one that features one of Bollywood’s most loved actors. Tweets and comments about admiration for both, soon gave way to arbitrary mud-slinging, and of course, misogyny.

A Twitter account by the name IndiaExplained, a regular keyboard warrior in the battle to rid India of a fascist government, went the extra mile to prove that all Indians are united by a patriarchal mindset. He tweeted a photo of Kumar and Modi, with the caption: “Kind of cute how Twinkle Khanna writes ‘progressive’ fluff pieces in ToI [Times of India] while Akshayji dances with Pogrom Modi. Indian elites in nutshell.”

Of course, in a land that still believes in the Bharatiya naari to place her “pati parameshwar” above all, it is hardly surprising that men still hold the belief that a man’s wife — no matter how educated or accomplished they are — just can’t subscribe to an ideology or belief system that differs from that of the husband. Why else, would Akshay Kumar’s photo with the prime minister warrant an attack on a former actor and a reputed columnist, who also happens to be his wife?

Khanna, a headstrong lady that she is, did not choose to ignore this attack. Replying to the Tweet, Khanna wrote, “Better than a regressive tweet like this that calls 'progressive' pieces fluff and believes that marriage means sharing the same ideologies.”

Sexism like this is so ingrained that people don’t even see it for what it is. This is more problematic when it comes from places that are usually known to be more liberal and broad-minded in their approach.

When men who call out the government and the Hindutva Right on its misogyny, choose to be deluded about their own internalised beliefs, who does one turn to?

So, what's Right? Are rightists less prejudiced than liberals? Are liberals not liberal enough? Then who is Left, or rather what is left for the rest of us, but to tweet and outrage.

 Khanna’s response, nevertheless, won her a lot of praise.

Of course, her response is unlikely to change anyone or anything. No matter how liberal or “antifa” or feminist a man claims to be, there are always instances of them not acknowledging their internalised patriarchal values and their privilege. Instances like these only bring out what we as a nation suffer from, a belief that women are not equal to men.

After all, if a woman takes up the surname of another man, she immediately loses all rights to have a separate opinion altogether, right?

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