OPINION
RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.
- By Sanehead*
RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.



I AM SO GLAD Renuka Choudhury laughed and laughed uninhibitedly, laughed loud and long, at Narendra Modi’s extraordinary claims in the Parliament.

I am glad, even if sounded like a cackle, or seemed hysterical - for it was a full throated mature woman's honest, instinctive and uninhibited reaction, to what she found utterly ridiculous.

For it not only was the most natural, intelligent and instinctive human response to the vitriolic bombast but it also, at the same time, punctured the self important delivery like no words would have. It forced the demagogue to descend from his flight of fanciful anger to the level of bathos that was the real level of meanness he often embodies

I'm glad it evoked the indignation of the Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu whose attempts to chide Renuka Choudhury as if she was a schoolgirl and he her class teacher were themselves punctured by his master Modi's mock request- rebuke invoking the laughter of Ravana and the Rakshas and Rakshasis not in the actual epic Ramayana but befittingly only in its celluloid version in the TV serial of that name produced by Ramanand Sagar which was one of the factors that helped create a tinsel Hindutva unification and revival that propelled BJP into political power on the basis of a majority vote from an ill informed nation

I am delighted that it has exposed the innate misogyny and chauvinism of so many of the male intellectuals and shown just how many of these supposedly liberal men are simply insecure males repulsed and disgusted by a mature woman's full throated laughter.

For nothing deflates and destroys an insecure male ego like mocking female laughter.
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I am delighted that it has exposed the innate misogyny and chauvinism of so many of the male intellectuals and shown just how many of these supposedly liberal men are simply insecure males repulsed and disgusted by a mature woman's full throated laughter.
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Duryodhan in Mahabharata was infuriated by Draupadi's laughter when he was taken in by the mirages in the cunningly built new royal palace and slipped and fell down. The foolish angry insecure male warrior sought revenge against the carefree uninhibited instinctive laughter of a beautiful woman and that finally led to the enormous destruction of the Mahabharata.

There is no episode of any woman laughing mockingly at a man in Ramayana. In the case of Tadaka, Vishwamitra got Rama to kill her because he was scared of the destruction she could cause. In the case of Surpnakha, it is Rama and Lakshman who make fun of her and cut off her nose, for daring to propose to them, and her disfiguration and the violence done to her as well as the insult leads her to complain to her brother Ravana, who then abducts Sita leading to the war between Rama and Ravana which forms the main substance of the Ramayana, leading to the death of many, including Ravana, and victory to Rama.

If he was not making a general reference to demonic laughter from Rakhshasas in the Ramayana, then this was one more example of Modi's crass ignorance, where he cannot even tell the difference between the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
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There is no episode of any woman laughing mockingly at a man in Ramayana.
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Given his dependence on hearsay and the false oral history that RSS preaches, it would not be surprising to find that he has not read even a single literary authentic version of either of the classic epics on which modern Hinduism to a great extent depends as scripture- nor would a single one of his blind supporters thumping their desks in Parliament after his cheap attempt at humour and a put down to counter the sharp ridicule of his lying diatribe by the lady Member of Parliament , which made the rest of his speech even more adversarial, combative and bitterly defamatory.

Renuka Choudhury may at best have been guilty of an impropriety but Narendra Modi is guilty of the crime of outraging the modesty of a woman by his remarks and would have been liable under section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code as well as for sexual harassment of a woman in her workplace while she was at work.

His privileges as an MP protect him from action under these laws but then he is open to action for breach of privilege of a fellow member of Parliament with his insult, jibe and mockery by name against "Renuka ji."
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Yes, she laughed. Out loud, full throatedly, and for a good few seconds. In Parliament. At a royal buffoon telling royal lies making royal boo-boos.
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The Vice President and Chairman of the Upper House Venkaiah Naidu is guilty of undermining the dignity of his chair by naming Ms Choudhury and singling her out for rebuke amid the general ruckus by opposition MPs simply because she laughed.

Yes, she laughed. Out loud, full throatedly, and for a good few seconds. In Parliament. At a royal buffoon telling royal lies making royal boo-boos. Like saying Indira Gandhi signed the Simla Agreement with Benazir Bhutto in 1972 when Benazir was a 19 year old college student accompanying her father Prime Minister Zulfikaar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan who actually signed the Simla Pact with the then PM of India. Like saying Nehru and not Patel wanted to give Kashmir away to Pakistan when facts were the other way around. Like forgetting that Congress fought for the Independence and unification of the country and saying instead that it was responsible for breaking the country into pieces.

For lying through his teeth in Parliament, on issue after issue, minute after minute, trying to mislead the house, and the nation which was listening. Even succeeding perhaps with some. But punctured, deflated, like a balloon by a beautiful woman's uninhibited laughter which could be heard above the din of other protests, and over the meaningless cacophony of words. 

Disruptive laughter. Effortlessly rebellious laughter. An immediate instinctive and effective retort to Modi's painstakingly constructed rhetoric of saffronised lies. A retort that halted him in his tracks and forced him to react. A retort that immediately made itself felt at every level of the discourse that hit straight at the consciousness of each and every member of the audience whether watching in Parliament or via television. Entering the public consciousness at a level much more basic even than Modi's insidious hate filled rhetoric designed to hit the lowest common denominator.

Modi does not live with his family of whatever variety. He is feared in his party and his office. It is safe to conclude that nobody has laughed at his pompous speeches so openly, so publicly, so fearlessly, so naturally for a long, long time.

This is the antidote to the evil gospel of  false hatred being preached pompously: let the nation laugh it out of countenance.
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Let a million Renukas laugh at anyone peddling unauthentic stuff. Let them learn from that laughter.
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Gandhi ji would have loved this non violent protest, this instant demolition of dangerous lies and poison. Laugh at their banal evil. Laugh them out of court. Laugh them out of the collective consciousness, the collective subconscious and unconscious of the Indian mind by showing up their mean petty ridiculous lies.

Let a million Renukas laugh at anyone peddling unauthentic stuff. Let them learn from that laughter.

Bravo, Renuka Choudhury, the laughter warrior of India. Thanks for bringing back laughter to this grim and humourless era of Indian politics. Thank you for reminding us to laugh when we want to. Let the nation laugh with you. More laughter please, fellow Indians. God knows the nation needs it.

By doing so, Renuka Chowdhury freed something in my soul. She reminded me that I still live in the India where Tagore had prayed the mind would be without fear, the head held high, and where the tireless striving stretch their arms towards perfection.

Long live the laughing Renuka Chowdhury! 

Long live Free India where we may laugh freely for many millennia to come!

*(The author is a retired IAS woman officer.)
 



 

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