A sharp rejoinder from Parvathy, actress and activist to the article written by Sunitha Krishnan, which had alleged that the media is making the Solar Scam accused a ‘celebrity’.

Saritha Nair is an icon a woman who dared
Voices Opinion Friday, February 05, 2016 - 11:25

By Parvathy T

At a time when the Solar Scam issue is burning, Sunitha Krishnan, a renowned rights activist has recently alleged that the Malayali society is celebrating scam accused Saritha S Nair as a ‘celebrity’ by giving undue publicity to her statements. She also opined that the visual media was the main culprit for sensationalizing mere trivia. Here is a personality, which the whole nation respects. But with due respect, I must express my dissent to several of her views regarding the issue. 

First, I must say that she went wrong when she said that the media and society is celebrating the Solar scam and its protagonist Sairtha S. Nair. Using the term ‘celebrate’ here is itself incorrect, what we are celebrating, are the unlimited possibilities of scams. From time immemorial, the general public in Kerala firmly believes that our political leaders are quiet susceptible to honey trapping and palm greasing. We used to hear such stories of weakness of our politicos as well. We used to have only names before in stories of corruption, the glare of visual media is a recent development. With the advent of visual media, channels began beaming stories of scams with tell-tale images. Since then, scams began to get a clear picture. 

Several women had come up with stories of scams even before Saritha came. But they were not as brilliant and smart as Saritha was, they were sidelined; and their stories gradually faded into thin air. 

Saritha is an icon. What she is narrating are live stories. With her, the Malayali society which used to think that politicians are capable of many things has started to give a face to those stories. An average Keralite thinks that the secret acts of political leaders will be revealed through her. This is why Saritha has gained importance.

Sunitha also said much of the attention Saritha hogged is due to her physical charm, to her seductive feminity, a point where I am on the same page with her. Her songs like ‘vaiyaveli’ and her decision to act in movies is all to use this opportunity.

Still, Sunitha's comment that Saritha's disclosure will be a reason for people in the upper echelons, including politicos, to keep away from women entrepreneurs sounds strange. Will those reacting against abusers face such a situation? Will the leaders be ready to help out those who are sure to burn the bridge by revealing everything? I am sure that no wily politician will be ready to help anyone who wears his heart on his sleeve. Then, how does the question of ruler's fear for helping women arise? I would say that only those who want to abuse have to be afraid of. We approach a government; not a person.

Why are the political leaders appearing nervous? The reason is that though it’s been happening for years, no woman has dared to reveal that she or someone of her ilk was abused by those in power. In a patriarchal society, the rule is that these things should not be revealed. That's the rule of thumb. Saritha went against it. By doing so, she turned herself into a woman who is getting no respect. People around her are ridiculing, insulting and isolating her. Yet, bravely, she is ready to react, willing to stand in the media glare. 

Think how many of our women folk have been chewed and thrown away by these leaders? Most of them would have been those who didn’t want to speak out. She was exploited physically, they took money from her and reneged on their promises. Doesn’t that amount to cheating?

People want to know what their leaders are up to. That's what made Saritha a point of discussion. The people want to know what's taking place behind the screen. It's their right. Is it wrong if the people want to have individuals with some amount of integrity and credibility at the helm of affairs? Every Keralite has the right to know whether these khadi-clad leaders are honest. If the Solar scam is a means to know the truth, even if it's a CD that contains the details of the scam, the people of Kerala have the right to use it. 

Agree that Saritha has the skill to seize the moment. She has the skill to wax eloquent before mediapersons. She has that guts. Saritha’s integrity is not our matter of concern but the trustworthiness of leaders is. Is it right to say that the probe becomes irrelevant as she is a woman of ill repute? Is it wrong if we wonder how she came to know the secrets of our leaders, which we didn’t?  Please do not forget that the visual media played a pivotal role in bringing many scams to the attention of the people.  

(This article first appeared in Malayalam on the news portal SouthLive.)