Don’t you love it when sanctimonious men accidentally reveal how lecherous they are? (And don’t you just love the satisfying richness of the word lecherous?)
Farook College in Kozhikode, Kerala is back in the news today. A three-month old video of social science professor Jauhar Munnavir from the apparently prestigious institution has now gone viral, after it was brought to the public’s attention that he had used a speech on “family values” to make some fruity statements about Muslim women students and their breasts.
First, he took aim at Bangalore’s Christ University’s worst fear—women wearing leggings. He said that he was a professor in a college were 80 percent of the students were girls and the majority of them Muslim, but the situation was that while many of them observed purdah, they also wore – oh horror – leggings. According to Prof Jauhar, women hold up their purdahs higher than strictly necessary in order to show of these sinful leggings.
Now come the really juicy bits (sorrynotsorry). The professor says that we can’t even talk about muftah, because these days, women just throw a shawl over their heads, leaving their chests uncovered. He continues, “A woman’s bosom is one of the body parts that attracts a man. And so, it should be covered. But our girls expose some part of their chest. You know, like how we slice a small part of a melon to see if its ripe? Just like that. They want to say that rest of their body is also like the exposed part.”
Such poetry from the mouth of Jauhar! This is the soliloquy of a man who has gazed at many a cleavage and contemplated deeply upon the subject, for this descriptive, poetic and carefully thought out a metaphor really doesn’t just arrive on the fly.
Intriguingly, despite the video evidence of the professor making these offensive and thirsty remarks, the principal of the institution, CA Jawahar, told The News Minute that no action can be taken against him. This is because he did not make the comments on campus, and no student has filed a complaint against him. Which is interesting, and of course immediately brings to mind how Ambedkar University recently expanded the enquiry into a case of sexual harassment involving law professor and erstwhile academic dean Lawrence Liang by taking up a complaint made by a non-student of AUD and which took place off campus. While that was a case of sexual harassment investigated after a student filed a complaint, it’s still intriguing to see how different universities choose to evaluate their jurisdiction and the kinds of cases that they’re willing to take up.
The principal of Farook College refused to comment on whether Munnavir’s statements were right or wrong (but then again, perhaps no comment is necessary). But he did say that Munnavir was speaking generally at an event about “family values and dressing style”, and that his statements had been taken out of context on social media.
Farook College, of course, is no stranger to the news, and has an impressive track record for being a particularly distressing place for its students. It made headlines back in 2015 after suspending a student, Dinu, for raising his voice against gender-based segregation in classrooms. Dinu successfully took his case to the Kerala High Court and was sheepishly admitted back into the college after the Court stayed his suspension. The College also featured prominently in Bina Paul’s recent, lovely documentary The Sound of Silence, which explores sexism on various fronts in Kerala colleges, and we reviewed back in September 2017.