Speaking on Sunay, 4 March, at a DMK event ahead of International Women's Day, Kanimozhi took jibes at Prime Minister Modi, who was recently in news for mocking Rajya Sabha MP Renuka Chowdhury’s laughter. Fellow Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi had invited Chowdhury for the event.
Modi had mocked Chowdhury in Rajya Sabha and said to Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, who was presiding over the session, “I request you to not say anything to Renuka ji. After the TV serial Ramayana, this is the first time that we have the privilege of hearing such kind of laughter again.” Modi was slammed for this apparent reference to Surpanaka, Ravan’s sister from the epic Ramayana.
“She (Renuka) asked me why are you so insistent that I should come? I told her, we love Ravana and we love Surpanaka in Tamil Nadu,” said Kanimozhi.
Slamming those who have an issue with women laughing, Kanimozhi said, “When the Prime Minister spoke, she could not accept certain things which were far from the truth and she had to laugh. But generally for men, especially few of those who are in power, if a woman laughs, they get scared. Is it true or not? We have seen it written on many autos that all is lost if a woman laughs, all is lost if tobacco leaves are opened.”
“I don't know how women are related to tobacco leaves. But usually they keep writing it. Why is Duryodhan angry with Paanjali (Draupadi) in the Mahabharata? He falls down. Paanjali laughs. Because that angered him, he humiliated her in his court... Even in Ramayana, all Surpanaka does is express her desire and laughs... but her nose is cut off,” said Kanimozhi.
Referring to the incident where Modi had mocked her colleague, Kanimozhi said:
Many are scared of women’s laughter. But we are proud. If one woman’s laughter can make all the men sitting there tremble – right from the Vice President – then imagine the kind of change the voices of all the women here can bring about.Kanimozhi
Extolling DMK’s women cadre to never back down, she also said, “In all political parties, there are those who think that only a woman who listens patiently and stands in a corner is fit for public life. If that attitude has to change, women like Renuka Chowdhury must come to politics. That mentality has to come. Whoever it may be, we should have the courage to question them.”
(The story has been originally published by The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)
(Hey there, lady! What makes you laugh? Do you laugh at sexism, patriarchy, and misogyny? Do 'sanskaari' stereotypes crack you up? This Women's Day, join The Quint's Ab Laugh Naari campaign. Pick up that beer, say cheers, and send us photographs or videos of you laughing out loud at email@example.com.)