Women Not Dictated In India: Says Smriti Irani

Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani on Friday found himself in a spot when her remarks: ‘that women in the country are not told --- what to wear, whom to meet, and where to go drew voices of dissent from an audience she was addressing.'
“In India, I don’t think any woman here is dictated what to wear, how to wear, whom to meet, when to meet….I am of the opinion, I don’t think anybody is dictated here, you are not told,” she said while interacting with New York-based journalist Tina Brown at an event here.
As many from the gathering vociferously disagreed with the Minister’s remarks, Brown drew her attention to it.
Putting up a brave front, Irani retorted, “Are you told? I am sorry. I am not. My apologies ladies.”
Trying to justify her remarks, Irani said she didn't hail from a celebrity family; but an absolutely lower middle class family who told her to determine her own future.
The minister, however, admitted that there were challenges which everyone had to face
She contended that countries around the world have to face push and pulls. She said that there were statements even in countries like the US in which students were urged not to wear provocative Halloween costumes and also for others to respect other’s right to wear what they wanted to.
It would be naive to assume that problems like domestic abuse and female feticide are more in rural areas and less in urban areas, she said while noting that a prosperous area like South Mumbai has a high rate of female feticide.
Asked about the raging debate on intolerance, Irani said that “India is aware of its challenges but is also proficient in handling those challenges through rule of law.”
She emphasized that the country is secular where oath, even at the highest level, is taken on Constitution and not any religious book.
Irani was asked by Brown about her earlier criticism of Narendra Modi and what made her change her stance later.
“I think I am a living example of Mr Modi’s capacity to forgive. I am a living example of Mr Modi’s capacity to reckoned talent and to reason,” Irani said.
She said that in 2004 when Modi met her, he told her to not to judge him through newspapers articles but by his work.

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