By Ila Ananya
There’s been a lot of drama around bangles in the last two days.
Yesterday, the Bihar Pradesh Mahila Congress decided they’d send Union textiles minister Smriti Irani bangles from 38 districts if she didn’t gift bangles to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They were referring to her 2013 statement about former PM Manmohan Singh, when a soldier had been killed at the Line of Control, and Irani had offered to send bangles to Singh because he apparently hadn’t taken appropriate action after the soldier was killed.
This time, after the recent killing of two Indian soldiers along the Line of Control, the bangle has made a comeback in Indian politics. Even before the Bihar Pradesh Mahila Congress made these statements yesterday, Congress leader Kapil Sibal had said the same thing, telling Modi to “remove your bangles and show what you can do.”
Essentially, both Sibal and the Mahila Congress meant that Modi should beat his 56 inch chest and step up and be manly with Pakistan, because the phrase “chudiyan pehen lo” refers to how if someone can’t do this chest thumping, they should just stay home, because there’s no other way to assert yourself in this world. And since anybody using moderation in their approach is necessarily woman-like and weak, “wear bangles” is supposed to be the biggest insult.
Of course in this case, as Ipsita Chakravarty pointed out in Scroll.in, this ridiculous desire for manliness to come out of one’s ears is only multiplied many times because the conversation is about Pakistan. It reminds us of how there were a flood of casually violent tweets, all about raping or ‘conquering’ women from the other country by Twitter users in India and Pakistan when India retaliated to the attack on the army base at Uri with surgical strikes.
So somebody please tell these politicians of ours to stop throwing bangles around, because they’re essentially reinforcing ideas of masculinity and femininity. Just let bangles be bangles, ya.