Who’s anti-women, Modi or the media?

But the media did not spend a fraction of the time discussing these vital issues concerning women and democracy. Instead, for hours and days on end, we heard militant feminists breathing fire and brimstone and TV anchors emoting profusely only over the insult levelled by Modi at Shashi Tharoor's wife.

If Modi's concern for reducing women's drudgery is genuine, if he has actually delivered piped gas to seven lakh rural households and intends to cover all the rest, if every household in rural Gujarat is getting round the clock power supply, his frivolous remark against Sunanda Tharoor is not enough to damn him for being anti-women. Mere lip sympathy for women won't do. I prefer politicians who care for women's well-being in concrete ways.

The purpose of writing this is neither to defend Modi, nor brush away his uncouth remark. It is only to highlight the fact that when serious issues are shoved under the carpet and a highly disproportionate amount of time is spent on relatively frivolous issues by our national media, is it not fair to complain that large sections of our journalist biradari, especially our 24x7 news channels, are trivialising politics in general and women's concerns in particular in their insatiable hunger for high-decibel cockfights over sensational sound bytes? No politician dare marginalise the life concerns of the mass of our women as systematically as large sections of our media do, with their disproportionate attention to glamour dolls, film stars and the doings of the fashionable elite. It is easier to call monstrous politicians to account than media monsters.

I know by writing this piece I will be damned forever by my "secular" friends. To those who see Modi as evil incarnate and want to see him defeated, I can only request: please have the courage to stay close to facts and fight him on his home ground. Taking potshots at a straw man or caricature will only weaken the case against him.

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