ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Dear Governor, What if YOU Were “Patted’’ While Addressing MLAs?

Sir, how are you making amends? 

Updated
NEON
3 min read
story-hero-img
i
Aa
Aa
Small
Aa
Medium
Aa
Large

Turns out, Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit pulls no punches. Filled with the milk of human kindness, this gentleman doesn't hold back.

Recently, at a press conference, right after the esteemed gentleman had warded off a stream of questions regarding allegations of sexual misconduct against him, he decided to let loose the touchy-feely grandpa in him and pat a senior journalist on her cheek when asked a final question.

Sir, how are you making amends? 
This gentleman doesn’t hold back.
(Photo courtesy: Twitter) 
ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

'Decorum' and its ilk are clearly man-made boundaries for a man whose paternal instincts are brimming over. He wears his grandfatherly affections on his sleeve and showers journalists with appreciative pats, lest they feel like they're missing out on unwarranted physical contact.

Mr Governor, humour me.

Imagine a regular day at work. You are addressing, let’s say, the President, along with twenty other officials. You are mentally ticking things off a check-list and you’re quite amped about seeing things through. Now, for some reason, the President announces that he needs to leave and attend to something urgent. Fair enough. He is a busy man. You chime in hurriedly and try and get a last word in. At this point, Mr President comes close, smiles “affectionately’’ at you and “pats’’ you on the cheek.

Then, he leaves.

Does your heart, at this point, melt with reciprocated affection?

Does the “pat” make you feel all warm and fuzzy or does it make it you feel violated?

Mr Governor, when you appreciatively “pat” a journalist on her cheek, you leave her with a feeling that erodes her sense of professional value while she is on the job.

Sir, you are in a position of power. And while your actions might have been completely “innocuous”, it sets a dangerous precedent for others who might not have similar intentions.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

You've apologised and said that it was a ''grandfatherly gesture''. You did not want to let her journalistic efforts go unnoticed. Thus, you reached out and ''patted'' her cheek.

You see, the operative word here, as you yourself have used, is ''journalist''.

Unlike a helpless canine that needs to be touched gently since it is incapable of comprehending verbal overtures of appreciation, she is, without a semblance of a doubt, qualified enough to understand and “appreciate’’ exclusively verbal indicators of recognition. 
ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

None of us have the right to invade her personal space.

A while back, when George H W Bush was accused of groping multiple women, his spokesperson claimed that ''he had patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner.''

Similar accusations. Similar responses.

Sir, how are you making amends? 
His office issued a statement suggesting this is a routine joke the former president tells since “his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures.” 
(Photo courtesy: Twitter) 

In 1989, the late KPS Gill was awarded the Padma Shri. This was after he was booked for allegedly walking up to a woman officer at a party and slapping her posterior without her consent.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD
Sir, how are you making amends? 
In 1989, the late KPS Gill was awarded the Padma Shri.
(Photo: The Quint) 
Why are we so FAR away from understanding consent?

She is a journalist and a woman at that. She is, in all probability, already braving battles given the current socio-cultural landscape. As a public figure holding a position of power, would you really want to add to her troubles?

If women keep putting up with assumptions, ''pats'' and comments related to their bodies, we don't know what else they will have to keep tolerating in the near future. Your ''affectionate'' gesture is yet another microaggression that, this time, a woman refused to put up with.

How are you making amends?

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Published: 
Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
Read More
×
×