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Sthree Dharma

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Sthree Dharma
#41
Deccan
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->‘<b>Hinduism forced chastity on women’ </b>Chennai, Sept. 29: Dalit Panthers of India leader Thol Thirumavalavan believes that “chastity is a concept imposed on society by Hinduism,” but he respects the sentiments of women and supports their protest against actress Khushboo’s remarks on sex and women. Khushboo had stirred up a controversy in Tamil Nadu with her remarks to the Tamil edition of India Today that there was nothing wrong with pre-marital sex provided women took care to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. She later apologised for the remarks.

Members of the DPI have since demonstrated against Khusbhoo. But Mr Thirumavalan does not seem to share his party’s views on the subject. “I feel that like casteism and male chauvinism, chastity is a concept imposed on society by Hinduism. But when a protest erupted spontaneously in response to Khushboo’s remarks, as a feminist I had to defer to the women’s wing. This does not mean that I have diluted my ideology,” he told this newspaper.

Explaining that the agitation against Khushboo was not organised by the party leadership, Mr Thirumavalavan said that he had tried to control the situation. “The protest was confined to Chennai and Madurai. If the party leadership had instigated it, it would have spread across the state,” he said and added that the media, which had never bothered about the DPI and the issues it raised, “blew the Khushboo episode out of proportion.” He said that he had urged his partymen to give up the agitation.

“We have so many important issues before us. But the media created the impression that we are obsessed with Khushboo,” he said and denied that the DPI had targeted Khushboo because she had forced director Thangar Bachan to apologise for his remarks against actresses. Asked whether he agreed with Khushboo’s opinion, Mr Thirumavalavan replied, “Her opinion has nothing to do with women’s liberation. She has only advised women to take precautions against pregnancy and disease while indulging in sex,” he said.

Mr Thirumavalavan said <b>chastity had taken root as a “virtue” among Tamil women and it was not easy to eradicate it overnight. “We cannot ignore it completely since chastity is seen as a mutual trust between the husband and wife. It is common even in western society. But there is no point in imposing it on women alone,” </b>he said and quoted national poet Subramania Bharathi who said, “if chastity is to be insisted on, it should be common for both men and women.” <b>Mr Thirumavalavan said his party would organise a workshop in the state to discuss “gender psychology” to educate women about the “alternative ideas on sex.</b>”<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
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