Abhijeet Mukherjee, son of the President of India Pranab Mukherjee, is the latest addition to the league of men who may live in the 21st century, but actually belong to the age of dinosaurs. In the hall of shame, he ranks alongside Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, Union coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal and Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam and countless others who still cannot accept the notion of gender equality. His derogatory comments about the women protestors in Delhi — “pretty women who were dented and painted” — show that such misogynistic notions not only cut across the political spectrum, but also class and caste divides. To top it all, Mukherjee, a Congress MP from Bengal, is an educated man with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Jadavpur in Kolkata.
When his comments went viral and drew a barrage of criticisms, he was quick to recant, and his sister Sharmistha had to step in with an apology.
Did Mukherjee, by any chance, think that he was helping the Congress’s cause by issuing such insensitive remarks? Then he must have noticed that his party was prompt enough to distance itself from his blunder.
In spite of holding public office, Mukherjee is disconnected from ground reality. Has he realised now that women who wear make-up can rally against injustice, hold candlelight vigils and even brave police atrocities? And that it wouldn’t take them much to make him scurry for cover next time he commits such a faux pas.