By Deeksha Aggarwalla
Today, we have with us Mrs. Maneka Gandhi, not sure if she is a boon for pets, but definitely not for people. A sensational character since the 70s, she has transformed from a drama queen bahu, to an animal rights activist in a blip, switching political parties like fashion in Paris, Maneka is currently the Union Minister of State for Women and Child Development and mother to a political prince who carries genes of both the Gandhi and Nehru family (so fortunate for India).
Welcome Ma’am to ED’s Fake Friendly Fridays.
Maneka Gandhi: (seems mildly offended yet determined not to crack, she adjusts her pallu): erm… Namaste.
ED: Mrs. Gandhi, we would like to begin with your love for animals.
Maneka Gandhi: Animals cannot speak for themselves. It is, therefore, our responsibility to take care of them, whether they are pets or strays. It is so funny, how people are scared of stray dogs fooling around on streets. Hundreds of men, scared of disinfected fangs! (Bechare gali ke kuttey, thinks ED) Not like they’re going to bite or something, eh!
ED: Ma’am, don’t they bite? Will they not be dangerous to dogs and humans and other animals if they get rabies?
MG: No…. This is the problem, see? This fear makes animals very vulnerable. Are you suggesting that you should murder those sweet dogs, because they may have rabies?? (tears glistens in her eyes)
ED: Ma’am what is your alternative? Organise a shelter home for stray dogs or something like that?
MG: Find a tree in the vicinity and climb on them, nah? And I am sure dogs don’t bite. I have had 9 dogs as pets and none of them have ever bit me.
ED: That is so…. Enlightening. Do the same ideals extend to your compulsory sex determination idea as well – protect the submissive? Will it not increase the probability of feticide?
MG: *laughs* We can look at it that way. If we have to work for the protection of women and children, we will have to start at the root level, which is with a female fetus. That way we protect both the woman and the child. To have determined the sex, the idea is to monitor the pregnant woman – so that there is no opportunity to abort. She can be under surveillance of police to make sure abortion does not occur and she and her family can be taught what a blessing it is to have a female child. Basically, to cage them – the mother and the child, give them enough nutrients to allow proper growth, and breed them, before allowing them the wings that a child is always looking for.
ED: Who are going to look into the logistics of monitoring the women? Recently, the proposed number of rape rehabilitation centers was reduced from 660 to mere 36. Can you guarantee a proper implementation?
MG: Logistics can be very tricky. We have shut down the rape rehabilitation centers because they had no job to do. It was a sheer wastage of money and resources. See, we are a country with a rich cultural and moral background. Rapes does not happen here. Women are worshipped in our country right? And all this attention the media gives to rape is the part of a propaganda to reduce the income by tourism in India and thereby break down the economy. It is a plan of foreign countries and their pawns like Pakistan. And of course, eve teasing, harassment- boys will be boys na? Women should learn to take precautions instead of pleading justice to government, we got helluva job here, you know?
ED: One last question, what do you feel about your short stint as a journalist?
MG: It was very adventurous and it taught me how to uphold dignity and courage even at dangerous situations, like when I exposed Suresh Ram, how he was involved with a university student. And no one better than a top-notch politician’s son’s conduct in private to show the whole country, whether the father is fit to run the country. Over all, it was good experience. Gave me a slice of what to expect before I joined politics! What more, helped my husband with his objectives!
ED: Wow! What an adventure Ma’am?
MG: How dare you take that taunting tone woman? You know who I am? I am your minister and to tease a minister is a crime against nation do you know that?
ED: Sorry if you felt it as a taunt or mockery Ma’am, it was not intentional. We truly admire you and moreover we feel proud of the tolerance levels of our country. Thank you Ma’am, seriously.