An episode of misogyny and then mansplaining by a former governor

The BJP leader reacted in the most unexpected way when a woman criticised him and RSS ideology

Tathagata Roy
BJP leader Tathagata Roy has served as the Governor of Tripura and Meghalaya | File Photo: Wikipedia

What’s worse than misogyny? Justifying misogyny! Which is better understood by the term ‘mansplaining’, meaning ​”the practice of a man explaining something to a woman in a way that shows he thinks he knows and understands more than she does,” according to the Oxford Learners’ Dictionary.

Before delving into Oxford and Merriam Webster, here’s something that raised several eyebrows on Twitter on Tuesday: a former Constitutional head using a derogatory term for a woman and then justifying why there’s nothing wrong with it.

BJP leader Tathagata Roy, who has served as the Governor of Meghalaya and Tripura and is now back to his home state West Bengal ahead of the crucial assembly elections, reacted in the most unexpected way when a woman criticised him and the RSS ideology.

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He called a woman user “sl*t” who had replied to one of his posts with a photo criticising the Sangh. “#RSS Agent and a young Tathagata Roy,” the user said, to which the former governor replied, “Like didi,like bahin! Thank you for crossing the line, so that with a clear conscience I can give you the treatment you deserve. Out,you sl*t.”

He certainly didn’t have enough of it. He followed his comment up with a call for reporting the user’s account, “This woman abused me and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh this way,accusing me of excreting on my people and my culture. Now a whole bunch of fellow-travelers are threatening to report me to twitter, to the police and probably to God! Report her,please!”

But wait! This is not the end. He followed that up with two more tweets trying to justify why it’s nothing wrong to call a woman by the derogatory word.

“The RSS-hating philistines didn’t consult a dictionary to find the meaning of ‘sl*t’ (word censored). A ‘sl*t’ is a ‘slovenly woman’,obviously including one slovenly in speech. That is the first meaning in Merriam-Webster and alternative meaning in Concise Oxford. Egg on your faces,philistines!” said Roy.

(The word has been censored within quotes even though the words were written properly by the person the quote has been attributed to)

“I value my status as a Swayamsevak a thousand times more valuable than one as an ex-Governor. Criticism of RSS is one thing. But I cannot and will not take lying down anti-nationals or Urban Naxals abusing it in filthy language. Even if the abuser is a woman or a transgender!” he added in another tweet.

Though Roy hoped dictionaries would defend him, he perhaps didn’t look properly at the word “derogatory” mentioned in short before the explanation in The Concise Oxford Dictionary. Besides the fact that people know their words, requiring no further searches on this issue.

Related news | Kamal Nath’s ‘item’ remark part of a debased political diction

It isn’t new for politicians to make misogynous comments, especially in India. In October, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath had courted controversy after he was seen in a video referring to a woman BJP candidate, Imarti Devi, as “item”.

Earlier, ahead of last year’s parliamentary elections, Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan chose to speak on an obnoxious line during a rally in Uttar Pradesh, literally talking about the colour of underwear of a woman BJP leader, Jaya Prada, who was his opponent from Rampur constituency. Khan won the election.

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