There was an article in Punjab Keshri about Kanhaiyya which mentioned a certain picture that had supposedly gone” viral” over social networking sites. Punjab Kesari has taken off the article from its website but reader comments can still be seen on the web-link. The woman in the picture is called a “teacher” however she is a fellow student. Ever since Kanhaiyya got bail by the court there have been various rumors and slander against him. JNU has been portrayed as a hub of anti national activities and a haven for “immoral” characters. BJP leaders and supporters have left no stones unturned to attack Kanhaiyya personally. Since all the videos are now proved to be doctored and the evidence is shady now they have stooped to personal slander. Many have commented on the age of JNUSU president and other students.
It has also been suggested that since JNU students can’t get jobs even at the age of 27 they should be given vocational training. India is already lagging behind when it comes to research and development and to create a public opinion against higher education is not going to help us. India can’t rise if we continue to import education and research from the west. Now they have been circulating this picture to malign the image of Kanhaiyya and the institution. Although the woman in the picture is not his teacher but even if she was, it would have hardly changed anything. It’s a shame that they chose today of all the days to publish this.
I would not go into the debate of how it is harmful for the society to portray women like this but on this working Women’s day let’s talk about Men. Why is it that one harmless picture of two adults goes “viral” and gets people talking in the first place and Why Punjab Keshri had to publish an article on the same? Why is it so abnormal in our society for men to share even a harmless human touch? Why are we robbing men of the opportunity to behave as mere human beings? Being expressive both emotionally and physically is only okay for women because they are considered weak. Women can be comforted by a friend but man can’t. It’s our homophobic and closed minded patriarchal conduct that is stopping us from being true to ourselves and to let others be.
Touch is an experience that is extremely necessary for the emotional growth of anyone, but as soon as a male child reaches the age of five, he is supposed to be a man. Even cuddling and hugging by his parents stops. Many researchers have found time and again that Human contact is an important factor in the emotional growth of a human being and it also relives stress. However in India it has become a taboo especially in urban areas in last fifty years. This case has proved it. JNU provides us a safe space to be who we are. It makes us unlearn the do’s and don’ts of the society. Here men and women are indeed equal and we learn and struggle together. I am proud of the culture where a man could be comfortable with something as innocent as a “human touch” and not be ashamed or laughed at.
Salonee Shital is a second year of MA at school of International studies, JNU