In today’s edition of ‘even educated people can be morons’, an International Relations professor from the prestigious Jadavpur University, Kolkata, compared virgin women to “sealed bottles”. After facing major backlash for equating women to inanimate objects and dehumanising them in his sexist statements, Kanak Sarkar has removed the post he remarkably titled “Virgin Bride – Why Not?”… making us wonder if we’ve travelled back to the fifties.
However, Sarkar has not only NOT apologised for his post, as it turns out, he has a history of such misogyny. He does it quite regularly under the guise of what he calls “Value Oriented Social Counseling For Educated Youth”. He believes just like feminists who “abuse men and patriarchy in seminar and Media”, even he has every right to express his thoughts because of his right to freedom of speech.
Sarkar has been trying to defend his now-deleted post by claiming to have spoken in favour of women in the past by re-sharing the posts where he condemned rape and sexual exploitation of women. The irony is that Sarkar seems to have completely missed the point of the criticism he is facing.
The thing is, Sarkar has been airing his problematic views on Facebook for years now. We found a post he had written way back in December of 2016 where he attempted to dissect claims made by feminist scholars. And by dissect, we mean he went on to claim that feminists are hell bent on “creating psychiatric syndrome among common innocent women” by feeding them baseless lies.
Apart from firmly believing that women should celebrate their virginity because it signifies they have more “value, culture, sexual hygiene”, Sarkar also notes that men should also be celibate till marriage. In one of his “Value-oriented social counseling” posts, he wrote. “Similarly a man should remain celibate and both should be moral in conjugal life. Without such positive values our life cannot prosper.”
While many students have been outraging on social media, according to The Times of India, JUTA’s (Jadavpur University Teacher’s Association) general secretary, Partha Pratim Ray has remarked in an official statement, “JUTA unequivocally condemns the highly deplorable, misogynistic and sexist comments made by Kanak Sarkar of IR department.”
Incidentally, Sarkar was named in the list that tried to collate the names of sexual harassers and predators in the academic world about two years ago.
Echoing our sentiments, Leena Gangopadhyay, chairperson of the state women commission, has said, “It only goes to show there has been little change in the mind set of certain people… What pains me is the statement has been made by a person who is very qualified and educated.”
Recently, Indian cricketer Hardik Pandya drew a lot of flak for his sexist commentary on the talk show Koffee With Karan. While many people argued that this kind of behaviour is due to lack of a proper education (Pandya is a class nine dropout), Sarkar’s incident is yet another example of the fact that sexism has got nothing to do someone’s intellect and academic accomplishments.