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"Chal, Charitra and Chehrah" exposed once again
It would be by now a stale news that Meghalaya Governor Shri V Shanmuganathan has resigned days after nearly 100 members of his staff alleged that he had "compromised the dignity" of the Governor's House and turned it into a "young ladies club".

The letter was addressed to Prime Minister Modi and signed by 98 workers of the Governor's House in Shillong. It has listed a series of his misdemeanours including sexual misconduct and "torture and humiliation" of officers and staff.

The honorable governor is accused of hiring or posting only women in his staff and turning the Raj Bhavan into a place where "young ladies come and go at will with direct orders from the governor." It is important to notice that Mr Shanmuganathan also had additional charge of Arunachal Pradesh.

He is an old RSS hand and RSS always claimed itself as a cultural organisation that is proud of Indian Culture and Traditions. Indian ancient culture is fed rather brainwashed for the cultural nationalistic aspirations of its volunteers.

V Shanmuganathan is also a senior BJP leader and he was appointed governor by the Modi government in 2015, first of Meghalaya and then of Manipur too. His famous howler got wider public condemnation when he had asked an audience that consisted of Manipur's top cultural personalities to write about the "meaning of culture" in 100 words in exchange for the promise of tea at the governor's residence.

In response, Mr Aribam Syam Sharma, one of the most accompalishd filmmaker in Manipur and a leading light of Indian cinema, wrote an open letter to him.

Your Excellency,

The inauguration of the University of Culture and Manipur State Film and Television Institute on August, 12, 2016 is a realisation of a dream for many who have worked for the conservation, transformation and evolution of Manipuri culture. Your august presence in the inauguration is appreciated by those assembled lovers and proponents of Manipuri culture.

In your address, your excellency, in an inimitable style of interactive deliverance, had asked those assembled to write in 100 words the meaning of culture with the promise of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have tea with you. (This invitation was translated to Manipuri by the ADC on your excellency's command.)

I shall not attempt an answer to your question here, so, I forfeit any claim to tea with your excellency. But I shall make an observation that I hope would be entertained by you.

Your excellency's playful challenge to those who assembled, amongst which were gurus of the arts and culture of Manipur, is considered as thaksi khasi naidaba, leibak macha tadaba* in our culture. I would not attempt to translate these phrases in English because what is significant here would be lost in translation.

Norms and propriety are part of any culture. There are norms of distinction and measure: what is proper and what is improper. What counts as proper and what counts as not may differ from one culture to another. Whether there are invariants in these norms, cutting across communities and civilisations, here again I admit my ignorance.

But at least this much I can say that in the culture of those assembled on that occasion, asking such a question - fit for school children - to those who have dedicated their lifetime, who are living embodiment of culture, is considered as uncultured, in our culture.

Perhaps, this is a case of culture shock. At least, the shock was on our part. The culture, the milieu which has shaped your excellency's tastes and sensibilities are markedly different from the culture of Manipur, it seems. My humble submission, therefore, is that this shock has happened because there are not only diverse but sometimes irreconcilable sensibilities. Because of this, an overarching definition of culture might not be available. Your excellency should not, for that reason, be surprised if not many hundred-worded definitions of culture reach Raj Bhavan.

Just like we breathe without the need for the definition of what it is breathing, the people of Manipur know what culture is. It is the prana of our making, that makes us live, that makes us who we are. It is the spirit that we create, in which we immerse and live, and make sense of that living.

After the inauguration of the University of Culture and the State Film and Television Institute, we expect a Sports University to come up in Manipur. We expect that your excellency would grace the inauguration. I would like your excellency to make the adventure of asking those assembled - which would include Olympians - the meaning of sports in 100 words. In a gathering of politicians, we would also like to see you invite a definition of what politics is, in hundred words. Or is it too much of an asking, your excellency?

Yours sincerely,

Aribam Syam Sharma

This governor who had time and again advocated the RSS causes despite occupying a constitutionally neutral status has met his nemesis today. RSS needs to do some retrospect about its claims.

And we have another star from this Juggernaut -the great orator and Bhagat Shri Vinay Katiyar who is the founder-president of Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of the Hindu nationalist organization VHP. He has served as a National General Secretary of the BJP, and as a MP in the Lower House. He is currently a member of the Upper House.

Following the foot-steps of Shri Sharad Yadav, he has also triggered a controversy by saying they were "more beautiful women star campaigners than Priyanka Gandhi. He had made the comments in response to a reporter's question on the Priyanka Gandhi, a 45-year-old lady, featuring in the Congress party's list of campaigners in Uttar Pradesh.

There is a nation-wide hue and cry against his comments as many in media are calling it scandalous, prejudiced, racist, casteist, chauvinist and hateful. However, Mr Katiyar is still refusing to apologise.

The philandering political remarks were further aggravated when he made another sexist gaffe, saying: "I think Smriti Irani is as beautiful and she is also campaigning."

Where are the honorable ladies of BJP and why they are silent?

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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