A professor of international relations from the prestigious Jadavpur University in Kolkata (West Bengal) has written a controversial Facebook post on the topic of a woman’s virginity. The excerpts from his alleged post which presently stand deleted’ are misogynistic and sexist in nature, unsurprisingly representing the thoughts of millions.
Kanak Sarkar, a proclaimed professor with more than 20 years of teaching experience and a doctorate to his resume, wrote an eyebrow raising Facebook post comparing the virginity of a girl with a sealed bottle or a biscuit packet. The Facebook post which stands deleted as on date, has been circulated widely, the excerpts of which are produced below:
Sarkar asks “Are you willing to buy a broken seal while purchasing a bottle of cold drink or a packet of biscuits? The boys remain such fools that they are not aware of the benefit of having a virgin girl as a wife.”
He states that a girl is born “sealed” and that a virgin wife is “like an angel”. “A girl is born sealed from birth until it is opened… A virgin girl means many things accompanied with values, culture, and sexual hygiene …” Echoing the victorian age ideals of “The Angel in the House”, he states that “To most boys, a virgin wife is like an angel.”
Although, the post was deleted on the furore, but the evidence and traits of his misogyny still lingers on social media. Something for all to see and learn from.
The thoughts and opinion of Sarkar further extends to attaching his values to virginity while emphasising his precious honesty and morality to statements like “boys and girls these days think that celibacy and virginity are not part of ethics and morality. This is the reason that girls end up being exploited by the cunning boys”.
In a similar post (another per se), dated December 22, Sarkar has equated virginity with dignity and categorically stated that a woman should be proud if she maintains here virginity before marriage, and celebrate the same.
“Express your virginity during marriage negotiation or during love affair or even in married life. I am sure you will be honoured by your husband or lover,” he wrote.
He continues “every man respects and aspires for a virgin wife. To the men folk, virgin wife is like angel. Women should know this fact.”
As an example of preserving virginity among girls, Sarkar cited the Japanese as an example- “They proudly claim that 99 percent Japanese girls remain virgin till marriage. Japanese society is so progressive and developed.”
Despite the uproar, once again on January 12, he reiterated that a woman should remain virgin until she marries. “Unfortunately, many women are found breaking their virginity and men breaking celibacy before marriage” . Blaming modernity and the western society for such actions and not the narrow-mindedness of harbouring such ideals, he states that the loss of value of virginity was due to the general ignorance of the social values.
The statements of Sarkar have not mellowed down well with people and educated masses (a categorical few), and as reported by IndiaToday.in, a faculty member from Jadhavpur University has assured that the matter has been poised before the authorities, and everything possible shall be done to ensure that justice is served.
However, Sarkar has staged his clarification on another Facebook post titled “I Write My Personal Opinion”. He has asserted that he writes in favour of women and has only exercised his freedom of expression-
“Supreme Court has repealed section 66 A of IT Act and given freedom of expression in social media. When Taslima Nasrin wrote against a particular religion we supported her freedom of expression. We are supporting Bengali poet Srijato who writes about Hindu Gods. I have not written anything against any person, individual or anybody without any evidence or proof or any reference. I am doing social research and writing for the good and wellbeing of Society. The recent post I have given in “Kalom” and “Mukto Kalom” public group only. Many are sharing screen shots. I request not to confuse. It’s everybody’s right to express his / her thoughts. I have given many posts for and in favour of women. Can verify them in my Timeline.”
Interestingly, Sarkar has also been accused of sexual harassment. Allegations have surfaced wherein Kanak Sarkar had asked a female student if she wanted to become a model as her “figure” was “very model-like” and if she has male friends to comment, since she is “what men would enjoy”.
However, the details of the said allegations are not verified.
A quick verification from the Jadavpur University’s website, Kanak Sarkar is specialised in political sociology, political thought, the Constitution and government, human rights and law, development administration, and ethnicity and terrorism.
Despite his educational credentials, the thoughts expressed by him are not his alone. His mindset is echoed by millions of people across the country, although not on a social profile. The misogynist ideology is ide-sync to the cultural upbringing of a regional mindset wherein the topic of menstruation and virginity are considered tabooed. Male counterparts boast of their sexual battles under the consideration of their sexual supremacy, while harbouring the idea of having a virgin wife.
I recently encountered a senior figure from the Indian ministry, who narrated a similar thought. As he stated “As a father, I would never bring my son a non-virgin wife. A girl who has lost her virginity has lost her morals, culture and values, and is not deemed fit to be my family member”. However, he declined to comment on the pre-requisite of his son not being a virgin.
While promiscuity is extolled among men and worn on their sleeve with much pride, women are shamed for the same, highlighting the double standard.
Unfortunately, people compare their manhood with their sexual exploitation, while subsiding their women counterpart to an organ between their legs.
The aforesaid misogynistic ideology is not limited to males in India. If you take a look around, you will realise that women support similar ideology. In words of a woman I spoke to once “this is our pride. Once taken away I would not be accepted anywhere, and married to none”. However, she could not condone her own thoughts while blemishing other women for destroying her utopic culture.
Shedding some light on the rural and cultural mindset, virginity continues to be a desired quality in a woman when it comes to marriage. If the arguments of many Indian were to be taken seriously, such as Professor Sarkar’s, one would be left to believe that Indian culture is rooted and safeguarded in a woman’s vagina. While not being a pre-requisite for a man, many in laws or would be husbands expect a girl to be virgin.
The misogynist point of view is so deeply shredded in the Indian culture (irrespective of the religion), the obsession of virginity is linked to purity of a girl. This mentality amongst the Indian psyche is an example how men tend to view sex as a way of claiming ownership over a woman.
Men in India (and globally) perceive women, who have lost their virginity, as a “second hand product”, resounding the thoughts of Professor Sarkar who compared the same to a sealed bottle. While promiscuity is extolled among men and worn on their sleeve with much pride, women are shamed for the same, highlighting the double standard.
Whether a woman wants to be virgin and wait until marriage or whether she aims to express her sexuality should be her prerogative, but men and women alike should refrain from giving virginity the importance it does not deserve.
It’s high time that people worldwide refrained from this barbaric mindset, and stopped judging people through their legs or to what is between it.