Dear Ms Maneka Gandhi,
I watched your interview with NDTV recently, and the answers you gave to the questions were surprising, to say the least. Of course, I only say this because of how much sense they made, and your well-thought-out answers impressed me a lot.
My mother worked with you when I was young, and she told me that you were a little hypocritical between what you said and what you practised, but about 10 years later, you proved her wrong. I completely disagree with my mother, and having you as Minister of Women and Child Development has indeed been refreshing.
But let’s get to the point of this letter because I want to congratulate you on your solutions. As a college-going student, I too faced issues around hostel curfews but I could never figure out a proper solution. I was really concerned about my safety, and your wisdom has indeed solved my dilemma.
You see, all of my feminist friends and I just couldn’t figure out what would be the right time for us to get back to our dorms and PGs. Now that you’ve laid out your ideas so eloquently, all the efforts that were made for the Pinjra Tod movement seem kind of futile. After all, how come we never thought of 6 PM as the perfect curfew to solve all our problems!
To come to think about it, 6 PM is absolutely the right time to fix. It’s neither too dark, nor too light, and it’s totally unsanskaari for us to be outside after that time anyway. God forbid we want to spend time with our friends or grab some dinner. You are right, all of that is a waste. With the rising incident of rape and sexual assault in the country, why wouldn’t you want to lock up the potential targets and refuse to implement laws so that predators roam freely?
I think that one of the most profound things you said in the interview was about how we need protection from ourselves. I must applaud your understanding of how the human body and sexual urges work, because your analysis was spot on! It’s true; as youngsters it is impossible for us to control our urges. And how nice of you to consider that we shouldn’t be exploring and having consensual sex if we want to, because we definitely do need to save ourselves from our own urges and needs. Maslow was wrong, Ms Gandhi, for sex is not a basic need in our Indian culture. Genius!
Need I mention how scientifically accurate you were when you told us about our hormones? Your expert opinion on how hormonally “challenged” we are not only provides us great insight into our flawed morals but also makes us understand how much we must work towards controlling our “outbursts”. Perhaps you should fund some scientific programs for us poor students to control our natural desires? I think it would be a huge success!
Madam, you are way ahead of your times, for it’s 2017 and you’re still sticking with generalizing people on the basis of where they come from. Of course, the only job “two Bihari gentlemen” can do is that of a guard, and of course, guards can only be Bihari. And of course, we must not ignore the condescending tone of your generalization, for it truly tells us how superior you are.
And how could I forget – I am grateful towards you for granting me, a female student, the liberty to at least go to the library for two nights if I want to study. Obviously, the only place I want to visit at night is a library, and I understand that throughout my college life I should dedicate myself into ignoring any other place in the world because my wish to roam freely whenever and wherever I want is extremely and completely ridiculous.
Madam, I am struck by your thoughtfulness! I am so glad that you thought of protecting us students not only from rapists but also from “traffic accidents”. Most of us forgot that traffic accidents just do not happen in the day, they happen only after 6 PM, and young students like us are too vulnerable.
Most of all, I must commend your understanding of gender equality. I was happy when I learnt you wanted to keep boys in after 6 PM too, because we just cannot allow members of the opposite sex to interact after dark. It’s evident; men and women are incapable of having platonic relationships, after dark all they want to do is haraam. This is the right way to implement the equal treatment of our binary genders, restricting the rights of both!
I just want to end this letter by thanking you, Ms Gandhi. Thank you for trivializing a student’s autonomy over their own bodily and mental freedom. Thank you for underestimating students and thank you for underestimating our sexualities. Thank you for invalidating a powerful movement like Pinjra Tod and everything it stands for. Thank you for treating us as property to be protected, and not as adults. Thank you for ignoring my personal right and liberty to roam in a campus, a city, a country that is mine.
I am not Sita, and I didn’t ask for you to be my Lakshman. So thank you for your Lakshman Rekha, but no thanks.
A Female College-Going Hosteller.