"Be honest enough to accept that this is a problem, rather than saying that the process is so flawed,” he said. 

Liberals can be problematic TM Krishna slams focus on process in Raya Sarkar list
news Speech Thursday, January 04, 2018 - 15:52

Slamming the opposition that arose to the list of ‘sexual predators’ in Indian academia created by Raya Sarkar, Carnatic musician TM Krishna said, “I felt some people missed the sensitivity that was required for the women who shared their experiences.”

His comments came at a conference organised by Anna University and the Network of Women in Media, whose theme was ‘Gender and the Media: Challenges and Opportunities’.

He opened by saying, ‘I’m still not sure what I’m doing here’, then dove straight into the privilege he holds as a man and the gender issue.

Addressing the Raya Sarkar list that shook the country last year, the Carnatic musician criticised how the focus moved to the process that should have been followed, instead of the list itself.

The list, which asked women in academia to share the names of those who had sexually harassed them or someone else, should have started a discussion on harassment in academic circles. Instead, the focus moved to the due process that should have been followed to file complaints of harassment.

“The fact that there were women who had gone through those experiences and, in order to find the problem with the process of what Raya Sarkar did, some of the voices, I felt, missed the sensitivity that was required for the women who shared their experiences,” he said.

“The world of multiple genders should be willing to look at this as a problem, and be sensitive and honest enough to recognize that there could be members of their own liberal fraternity who may be problematic and have the courage to say ‘Yes, we need to talk about this’.”

He added, “Irrespective of what you think of Raya Sarkar, the battle is lost right there. And in the conversation of gender equality, this is a very important subject to be discussed. How do we address that there may be people among us who may be part of such actions? How are we going to deal with this situation? Be honest enough to accept that this is a problem, rather than saying that the process is so flawed.”

He also spoke about the problem with the reaction of men to various issues, and specifically, to that of women journalists being attacked.

“The man does something that is so deeply disturbing. He uses that opportunity to further paint the woman as weak. Because the man is saying, ‘Oh, these women journalists are going places, women journalists should not go there. Who asked them to go there? It’s dangerous for them.’ Then he goes one step further and says that women need protection. This is a fundamental problem in the way men think. We do not realise that the idea of access and security is a universal idea, irrespective of the gender of the person. Fundamentally, we protect men more than we protect women,” he said.

“There is a problem in the way men address the problem of journalists being attacked. They address it in a protectionist way, rather than seeing that the system itself is flawed.”

He believed that there was an ‘aggressive push for a homogenous understanding’ of everything in the country. “Whether it is the belief system, whether it is the idea of a woman, the idea of rationality, the idea of patriotism – the idea that is being pushed down our throats with the active connivance of the corporate media … We may not even realise it that we are being influenced by what is being fed to us.”

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