Kerala

Speaker’s ruling prompts Kerala CPI(M) leader M.M. Mani to withdraw ‘misogynist’ remark against K.K. Rema

M M Mani

M M Mani | Photo Credit: MAHINSHA S

Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] legislator M.M. Mani on Wednesday told the Assembly that he recanted the controversial comment on Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader and legislator K.K. Rema.

Speaker M.B. Rajesh's arguably damning ruling on the point of order raised by Congress legislator Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan prompted Mr. Mani to disavow his contentious statement.

Mr. Mani said: “I meant no offence. I did not intend to cause insult. But as a communist, I should not have said that Ms. Rema’s widowhood was her fate. I should have avoided the word. I withdraw my comment.”

Meaning of words

Mr. Rajesh said that a "wrong concept" seemed ingrained in Mr. Mani's statement when viewed through the prism of contemporaneity. It was not in congruence with the progressive values.

“The Chair will expunge obvious unparliamentary remarks from Assembly records. Precedence demands that members withdraw of their own volition words that are deemed unparliamentary expressions,” he said.

Speaker M B Rajesh

Speaker M B Rajesh | Photo Credit: MUSTAFAH KK

In his ruling, Mr. Rajesh said, “Meanings of words are relative to the social context in which they are used. Some words resonate with feudal values and run against the grain of a modern democracy’s moral code.

“Many adages and dictums are a throwback to the medieval ages and shunned by present-day society. Some familiar words are now viewed as a slur on people’s physical limitations, jobs, caste, religion, social status and gender. They are best avoided.”

He urged legislators to weigh their words carefully and considerately when referring to women, transgender people, physically and mentally challenged persons and marginalised sections of society.

“However, several lawmakers seemed unaware that their words are subject to fierce social audit. The Assembly should march in lock-step with social progress. It should not seem behind times. Such an ethos should evolve through critical introspection and not the Chair’s diktats alone,” he said.

Aftermath of the comment

Mr. Mani's comment had drawn flak from either side of the political spectrum and caused a public uproar.

KK Rema MLA

KK Rema MLA | Photo Credit: RAGESH K

The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) opposition had disrupted the House on July 14 and 15, accusing Mr. Mani of making light of Ms. Rema’s widowhood and the martyrdom of her husband, T.P. Chandrasekharan, at the hand of “CPI(M) assassins” at Onchiyam in Kozhikode in 2012.

They agitated outside the House for Mr. Mani’s unconditional apology and demanded the Speaker expunge the “disagreeable, revisionist and misogynist” remark from Assembly records.

The politically explosive remark prompted the Leader of Opposition, V.D. Satheesan, to compare the treasury benches to the mythical Kaurava Sabha, which humiliated Draupadi.

He asked whether CPI(M) had shunned the Marxian principle of dialectical materialism for Manusmriti.

Mr. Sateeshan said the ancient Hindu text justified caste segregation, stressed fate's inexorability, accorded a subaltern social status for women and argued for relegating widows to the penumbra of darkened homes and away from the public eye. Mr. Mani's words echoed Manusmriti's ethos, he alleged.

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader and general secretary of the National Federation of India Women, Annie Raja, had also slammed Mr. Mani for his “anti-woman” statement.


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Printable version | Sep 16, 2022 1:37:26 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/speakers-ruling-prompts-kerala-cpim-leader-mm-mani-to-withdraw-misogynist-remark-against-kk-rema/article65661385.ece