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Hautetalk: MP Subramanian Swamy Called PM Narendra Modi A ‘Political Hijda’. Can We Stop Defaming The Marginalised And Using Them As ‘Insults’?

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Do any of you remember the first time you were called offensive slang in a derogatory way? I do. When I was younger I remember that a boy from my housing society referred to me as ‘chakka’. I wasn’t completely sure what that word meant, I must have been around 11, I suppose. And at 13, when I did figure out what it meant, my first question was, “Was that supposed to be insulting?” However, the older I grew and the more I studied the history of feminism and various LGBTQ+ movements, I figured out that we as a society have somehow reached a point where not only are the marginalised oppressed but we somehow use them as insults or derogatory slang. Like… how audacious and disgusting is that? My rant comes from the news of Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy called PM Narendra Modi a hijda in a derogatory fashion. 

Subramanian Swamy called Narendra Modi a hijda as an attack for not standing up against Russia for Ukraine. His words were and I quote, “a Prime Minister of 1.4 billion cultured people cannot be a political hijda”. So, my question here is, for how long are we going to accept the defamation of the marginalised just so the people in power can use them as means to attack each other and stroke their egos?

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And it isn’t only limited to this community, right? How many times is the word ‘gay’ used as an insult? Or how many of us have heard that being ‘like a woman’ is somehow supposed to be insulting? As if belonging from these sexualities and/or genders are supposed to be bad things. And let’s be fair, most of these slangs are used by people (usually men) in power against one another. Toxic masculinity is given birth to by the fact that doing anything which is even remotely perceived as feminine is an insult to one’s manhood. News flash: If you are that insecure about your masculinity then I don’t think avoiding the colour pink or avoiding makeup is going to save you.

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Coming to the matter at hand, we are aware of the way the LGBTQ+ community is struggling in India. While we have more acceptance than we used to, it is still not remotely enough. Amidst all that, I find it absolutely ironic and laughable that a politician like Subramanian Swamy who holds a PhD in Economics from Harvard and is a professor does not have the social and political awareness to refrain from using such a derogatory and stigmatized word as an insult. 

It is beyond me how Subramanian Swamy can have this much concern regarding the ongoing Ukraine invasion and can have complete disregard for a community in his own country.  What is this duality? He has 10.6 M followers on Twitter. Even if you might not have heard of Swamy before, what he says is impactful and significant. And in India where eunuchs aren’t treated as human beings in the first place, using such disgusting slang to publicly insult the Prime Minister is pathetic and ignorant, to say the least. Because at the end of the day, it is all about causing conflict and attacking each other’s fragile masculine egos. Who cares about the marginalised that suffer the consequences of such actions?

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