A survival guide for ?unsanskari? women MPs like Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan

By Kahini Iyer

This Lok Sabha election has been historic in more ways than one. It all began with the giant sweep by the BJP, earning the party a whopping 303 seats. Narendra Modi became the first PM in almost 50 years to win a majority in the second consecutive term. Amit Shah is sworn in as an MP. All that is great, but we’ve seen almost too many women MPs setting an exciting record of 14 per cent of seats — including Odisha’s Chandrani Murmu, the youngest ever representative at 25 years of age — and an all-time high for MPs who have criminal records, at 43 per cent.

But that last detail is not important right now. Let’s go back to the real news: All the temperamental laydiss-log who have boldly left the kitchen to take charge of our government affairs, without having so much as a reservation to pave the way. Like Shobhaa De at a Page 3 party, the womenfolk in Parliament are already causing a stir. Just look at the two Tollywood actresses-turned-Trinamool Congress freshers, Mimi Chakraborty, 30, and Nusrat Jahan, 29, who were caught clicking selfies to mark their first day on the job. Women, it’s a Parliament not a party. No wonder the defenders of morality had to step in and chastise the two for being “shameless” and “uncultured porn stars”.  

If the selfies weren’t outrageous enough, Chakraborty and Jahan were wearing pants and sunglasses. How dare they? And how can they possibly think of development while also wearing makeup? These women have a lot to learn from fellow MP and sanskaari rockstar Tejasvi Surya doing pranam outside the House, setting the standard for good behaviour.

So here’s what a girl is supposed to do to win the hearts of Parliamentarians and the discerning public alike. Emulating a joyless 60-year-old uncle who asks his millennial aides to “open the Phess-book” is a solid start. But there’s more to being a great woman MP than just winning some damn constituency.   

Ladies, if you want to get into politics, don’t be an amateur like Urmila.

The first and most obvious fix to your image is, as always, your looks. Watch your weight or you are bound to upset Sharad Yadav. If you get too fat, this over-caring LJD chief will ask you to take rest like he told Vasundhara Raje Scindia. Also stock up on discount Fair and Lovely. Because our netas don’t like it women when they are dark. But don’t go overboard, or you’ll fall into the Priyanka Gandhi trap and have BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya accusing you of being no more than a “chocolatey” face.

If you aspire to be Congress leader Digvijaya Singh’s idea of “sau tunch maal”, however, you’d better hope you were born beautiful. Wearing make up means you are what Congress MP Abhijit Mukherjee calls a “dented, painted” woman who (Natraja forbid!) goes to discotheques. Luckily, men are easily fooled by the natural look, which means unless you dial it all the way up to Radhe Maa, you could probably get away with a light foundation and lipstick. Plus, you can save money by using cheap brands, so that our illustrious PM can’t possibly call you anyone’s “50-crore girlfriend”! Who says the modern woman can’t #HaveItAll?

If you want to make it big, you can’t be too old. You’d be called a budhia. And if you are too young, of course you are a gudiya. It’s best to hide your age, as you’ve always been advised. And remember not to laugh too loudly like some character straight out of the Ramayana.   

Now, on to the next crucial aspect of being a lawmaker: Wardrobe. Nusrat and Mimi made the fatal mistake of tainting Indian culture by wearing the same scandalous jean-pant and shirt as their young, office-going constituents. They should have obviously worn saris. Was BJP’s Harish Dwivedi calling out Priyanka Gandhi for wearing Western clothes on a campaign trail not enough? Why do you women continue to upset these wise old men?  

Pay attention and you’ll know how to dress right.

At this point, you might be confused as to how you can possibly dress correctly for Lok Sabha. No fear, this is just your excess of lady hormones making you stupid. Pay attention and you’ll know how to dress right.

But only draping a sari is not good enough. You better not have had any kind of life before joining politics. And it’s disgraceful if before this stint you were doing what Smriti Irani did – TV pe thumke lagana. Anyway, if you have been a “thumke lagani wali” already, please don’t be holier than thou and complain like Irani about petty things like a hidden CCTV camera in a changing room. Like Outlook Magazine rightly asked: Why should such a small camera bother a woman who has spent so much time facing much bigger television cameras? Suspicious, indeed.

Remember, your past inexperience could come back to haunt you. Just ask Gautam Gamb, sorry, Urmila Matondkar, ‘90s superstar and current Congress member. She lost resoundingly to BJP MP Gopal Shetty, after he insisted she was only fielded due to her celebrity and good looks.

Ladies, if you want to get into politics, don’t be an amateur like Urmila. At least make sure you’re qualified and have several years of community experience in rotary clubs and women’s groups behind you. Or better yet, just sit at home where you belong, until your hubby generously lends you money to go sari shopping. Doesn’t that sound so much less exhausting than the mean streets of Lok Sabha?

This article was originally published on Arré.

Indian PoliticsLok Sabha Elections 2019SatireWomen Parliamentarians