“Let your child be adventurous”, says Swamy Sukhabhodhananda in the Deccan Herald. As far as parenting advice goes, there doesn’t seem anything particularly objectionable about that. But then, here’s how he opens his article:
One of the qualities of male energy is creativity. The male energy in us always wants to achieve; always wants to reach some goals.
A man who has more of male energy sees a mountain, wants to climb to the top of the mountain and hoist a flag. If he sees the Himalayas, he wants to go to the top of the Himalaya. He sees the moon; he wants to go to the moon. A woman is not interested in going to the moon. She says there is no shopping on the moon. So, what is the point in going to the moon?
A person who calls himself a “swamy” is usually one people look up to for higher knowledge and advice (that’s a whole different story in itself, but let’s leave that aside for now). Ironically, in the DH, Sukhabhodhananda comes across not just as sexist, but ill-informed and, frankly, ignorant.
His remarks are demeaning to women and reek of unfair generalisations not backed up by any facts. Perhaps it has missed Sukhabhodhananda’s notice that women play — and have always done so — an active and equal function in the world ticking over. These misogynistic observations appear to have no bearing on the rest of the column, unless one stretches the imagination to conclude he is suggesting that the positive male energy equals ambition and creativity, while women are only good for frenzied shopping. This short-sighted notion shows the writer to have little understanding and respect for human beings in general.
Comments such as these also denigrate the efforts and struggle of countless women and men who continue to strive for a fair and equal society. As contemptible and irresponsible the words are, it is every bit so and even more disappointing that a mainline newspaper such as the Deccan Herald could publish it.