“It is the duty of every husband to protect his wife. It is the duty of every wife to accept the discipline of her husband. If there is no control of dharma over politics, it will be like an elephant out of control,” said Jain monk Tarun Sagar while addressing the Haryana Assembly in what might be the most peculiar marriage of religion and state.
He was in the nude, in keeping with his regular practice.
His views about women – controversial as they might be – are not out of tune with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s views, who famously blamed women for rapes, declaring, “If a girl is dressed decently, a boy will not look at her in the wrong way.”
When asked whether young people should have freedom of choice, Khattar had replied, “If you want freedom, why don’t they just roam around naked? Freedom has to be limited. These short clothes are western influences. Our country’s tradition asks girls to dress decently.”
Sagar's views on Pakistan were in line with the government’s. Blame them for most of India’s problems. “Everyone knows that the neighbouring country is harbouring terrorism… creating Bhasmasurs to trouble India. If someone makes a mistake once he is ignorant, if someone makes a mistake twice he is innocent, if someone makes a mistake thrice he is the devil, and if someone makes a mistake repeatedly, that is Pakistan. And the one who forgives repeatedly is India.”
Since he was in Haryana, where, according to the 2011 census, the gender ratio of 879 is the lowest in the country, Sagar also suggested how female foeticide could be stopped in the country. “At the political level, the government should decide that those who do not have daughters should not have the right to contest Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections. At the level of society, people should not marry their daughters into families that do not have daughters. At the religious level, saints should decide that they will not accept alms from houses where there are no daughters,” he said.
Implementation of this rule would mean that out of Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal, only the Delhi Chief Minister would have the right to be in office.
Sagar ended his speech with praise for the government, "There may be allegations against the Khattar government that they have saffronised politics, but I would request you that it is not saffronisation of politics, rather it is the cleansing of politics."
Commenters on social media poked fun at the situation while pointing out its absurdity.
It was also a chance to make false equivalencies.
And to go on apologising sprees.