Anti-rape protests are justified: Sharmistha Mukherjee

Updated: Jan 05, 2013, 20:40 PM IST

President Pranab Mukherjee’s daughter also feels unsafe being a woman in Delhi, in the wake of the horrific Delhi gang rape case. Ms Sharmistha Mukherjee, a Kathak dancer, said that for the past 15 years she has been driving alone at 12.30 at night but this nightmarish incident has made her feel unsafe and now she has to think twice about it. She said her mother, the first lady Mrs Mukherjee, is also anxious about her whereabouts and worries for her safety.

Talking to’s Swati Chaturvedi on Kahiye Janab, Sharmistha Mukherjee said that the mass protests were entirely justified and hoped that they would prove to be a tipping point in India’s attitude towards women and their safety.

In a reference to her brother Abhijeet Mukherjee’s recent controversial remarks, where he described the protesting women as dented and painted, Sharmistha said that her father - the President - had brought them up and treated them in exactly the same way, and Mukherjee family women are very strong. “Not just me, my aunt, my grandmother we are all very strong and vocal women, we have all followed professions, my mother has been a Rabindra sangeet singer and a painter. Whatever I am is a product of my family”.

On being questioned on position of women in India and tragedy with the 23 year old girl Sharmistha said, “This protest is justified and this has brought about public awareness in the society and the public anger has come out in the open”.

On being asked whether this incident would also be forgotten she said, “I think this is a tipping point, I don’t feel it will come and go this time. Constantly in Delhi public outcry is going on despite the extreme cold temperatures and this has even shook the government and all political parties”.

As regards sexist comments made by politicians such as Narendra Modi’s remarks on Shashi Tharoor’s wife as a Rs 50 crore girlfriend and Sanjay Nirupam’s attack on Smriti Irani calling her a ‘thumke waali’, Mukherjee said, “It was very derogatory, and particularly being political leaders they should be extremely careful in what they say”.

On being asked about her entry into politics she said, “No, for sure. I have no interest in politics”.

Asked if she felt safe being a woman in India? She said: “I have been driving myself for 15-20 years. I used to go places at 12 or 12:30 at night but today doing the same you have to think a lot. There is fear, but we have to live in this system. We can’t escape this. We have to be in the system and improve it and we can’t do it by only criticizing the system. If I am driving late my mother still calls me and enquires, where are you going? Why are you going so late?”