Tirath Rawat bristles at ripped jeans

Troubled economy, poor governance don’t bother Uttarakhand CM Tirath Rawat; ripped jeans do

Ravi Shanker Kapoor |

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat

When Tirath Singh Rawat was appointed as Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, it was said that he had very little time to prove himself, as Assembly poll is due in February next year. Seems that’s not correct and he has a lot of time, so much so that he can even bother about non-issues like “ripped jeans.” Or perhaps he wants to indicate to the saffron commissars that he is no less sanskari than any other Bharatiya Janata Party leader. Hence the reprehensible remarks about women’s choice of clothes.

Kaynchi se sanskaar (culture by scissors)! Showing bare knees, wearing ripped denim and looking like rich kids—these are the values being given now. Where is this coming from, if not at home? What is the fault of teachers or schools? Where am I taking my son, showing his knees and in tattered jeans? Girls are no less, showing their knees. Is this good,” he said at a workshop that was organized by the Uttarakhand State Commission for Protection of Child Rights yesterday in Dehradun.

The Chief Minister said he saw a woman who runs a non-governmental organization or NGO. This shocked him. He wondered what kind of example she was setting for society. “If this kind of woman goes out in the society to meet people and solve their problems, what kind of message are we giving out to society, to our kids? It all starts at home. What we do, our kids follow. A child who is taught the right culture at home, no matter how modern he becomes, will never fail in life,” he said.

There is a great deal that the new Chief Minister can do to boost the economy of the state, improve the lot of people, and thus help himself and his own party in the oncoming election. Those who matter in the ruling dispensation apparently were unhappy with his predecessor, Trivendra Singh Rawat; this is the reason Tirath Singh Rawat holds the top office in the hill state in the first place.

Governance is in a mess; the Chamoli disaster reportedly underlines this fact. More than 85 per cent of districts in Uttarakhand are hot spots of extreme floods and associated weather events, according to an analysis by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW). CEEW programme lead Abinash Mohanty recently said, “The recent devastating flash flood in Uttarakhand is further proof that the climate crisis can no longer be ignored. In the last 20 years, Uttarakhand has lost more than 50,000 hectares of forest cover, leading to micro climatic changes in the region. This, in turn, has triggered a rise in extreme climate events in the state. A focus on land use-based forest restoration could not only reverse the climate imbalance but also help promote sustainable tourism in the state. Equally important would be climate proofing of infrastructure, investments, and policies. This is no more an option, rather a national imperative to tackle such extreme events and ensure minimal loss and damage.” (https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/over-85-uttarakhand-districts-hot-spots-of-extreme-floods-analysis-101613031554384.html).

Environmental degradation is not the only problem plaguing Uttarakhand. Its economy depends quite a bit on tourism, and this is one sector that has suffered grievously because of the coronavirus and the consequent lockdown.

But what bother Tirath Rawat are ripped jeans, rapped sanskars, and wayward women—wayward from his perspective. Evidently, any women not wearing saree and covering herself as much as possible—almost like a Muslim woman in a burqa—is unacceptable.

Some people in India seem to favor saffron Talibanization.

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