New Delhi — Women lawmakers in the upper house of Parliament today expressed anger and demanded that politician Sharad Yadav apologize over his sexist remarks about south Indian women even as the JD(U) president remained defiant.
“What’s wrong in what I have said?” Yadav said as Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said he would not allow any further discussion on the subject amid loud protests.
"The bodies of women from the south are as good as they are beautiful. The women in our region are not that good as those (in the south) know how to dance," Yadav had said last week in Rajya Sabha during a debate on the insurance bill.
The statement had raised the hackles of women members.
Rajya Sabha members were discussing a bill seeking to raise the FDI cap in insurance sector from 26 per cent to 49 per cent yesterday when Yadav spoke about "sanvli" (wheatish) south-Indian women.
Yadav was criticising the said proposal, when he digressed to "our affinity" for people with white skin. He talked about how Leslee Udwin, director of the documentary India's Daughter, must have got permissions and interviews "easily", because of her skin colour, according to reports.
The Indian Express quoted Yadav as saying, "Your god is dark like Ravi Shankar Prasad (present in the House), but your matrimonial ads insist on white-skinned brides." To which, Prasad replied, "There was also a dark man — Mahatma Gandhi who drove the 'goras' (whites) out of the country."
Yadav went on to say that women from the southern parts of the country were more beautiful and referred to their bodies.
"The women of the south are dark but they are… their bodies…" he said and referred to their dancing skills. Thankfully, DMK MP Kanimozhi interrupted Yadav asking him to focus on the issue.
Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said a veteran politician like Yadav should not have passed such remarks. "That time I was not there in the House. Sharad Yadav is a very senior leader. He has been in the Parliament for so many years. Even I came to know (about his reported comments) through media only. I object to his comments. This should not have happened," Sitaraman said.
“Don’t refer to the colour of women’s skins,” women lawmakers demanded as Yadav was seen gesticulating angrily.
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters yesterday: "I think he has explained, but this is very bad and these (comments) are bad in taste."