The effect such speeches have on impressionable minds is the biggest barrier that women need to break.
I thought long and hard about whether I should even write this piece because I felt that by doing so, I was giving Dr Rajith Kumar the importance that he certainly isn’t worthy of.
A botany lecturer at Kalady’s Sree Sankara University in Kerala, Dr Rajith is the person who recently attributed that women who wear jeans give birth to transgender children.
This is not a one-off comment—he has a long history of making sexist and homophobic comments at various public forums.
In one such earlier speech, he said that if a boy jumps, then in recent times, the attitude of girls is to show that they can jump more. However, in attempting to do so, the girls may fall and hurt their backbone, and their uterus will be displaced—making it impossible for them to bear children.
It is this ludicrous mentality that treats women as sheer objects of sex, and fit only for bearing children, that is pulling our society back.
What is even more surprising is that this speech was made in front of hundreds of college girls. The video shows one girl who got up and walked out, in disgust. One wonders why others did not follow her example. The effect such speeches have on impressionable minds is the biggest barrier that women need to break.
At a time when the nation is celebrating the commissioning of the first three women fighter pilots, and athletes like Meerabai Chanu who have brought laurels to India, one wonders if our ‘celebration’ is restricted to forwarding messages on Whatsapp and social media.
Now back to the most recent incident. At a counselling session held in Kasaragod, Rajith claimed to have a “scientific explanation for why trans and autistic children are born.”
What he went on to say has made headlines and angered many like me.
To quote him, “Children of parents who are not of good character turn out to be “autistic and suffer from cerebral palsy.”
There are no words to express the disgust that those words produce in a sane mind. As a professor and a man who has is not lacking in exposure, it bothers me to know that this is his world-view.
What is even more troubling are the comments that various ‘supporters’ of his have left on his videos on Youtube.
Some people have hailed him as a Messiah and take his word to be the gospel truth. In a country where we have enough and more people propagating agendas, which are mindless and baseless, not unlike this one, I wonder if the need of the hour is not regulating fake news but such fake newsmakers.
Making such statements is a slap in the faces of parents who have kids with special needs and are working extremely hard to provide them with a normal childhood and tools to lead a regular life.
My 25-year-old cook has a 6-year-old son who suffers from cerebral palsy. She has never worn jeans or indulged in any ‘vice’ that Rajith speaks about. Would he be able to scientifically explain to her why her son was born with cerebral palsy?
I wonder if this man’s absurd tirade has affected my rational mind because I cannot understand why am I even thinking along these lines. All I feel is a helpless rage.
In a country where we are learning to exercise the defamatory laws that exist, shouldn’t these statements outrage us and push us to act? Can we not collectively file a defamatory case against Rajith—on behalf of all those parents whose character he has questioned with one statement?
Or do we wait for one more gem to emerge from his mouth?
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)