New Delhi : Condemning Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt’s remark that married women should not use their father’s surname as archaic and patriarchal, women activists have pointed out that his statement is also in contrast with the ideology of the founder of the Samajwadi Party that he has joined.
“Ram Manohar Lohia, founder of the Samajwadi party that Sanjay Dutt has joined, was against caste. Therefore, most of the former socialists didn’t even write their surnames,” said Ranjana Kumari, chairperson of Centre for Social Research.
“Therefore, Dutt’s comments on a women adopting her husband’s surname and not her father’s after she is married is against his party’s ideology,” she told IANS.
Sanjay Dutt had taken a dig at his sister Priya Dutt in an interview to a newspaper, saying that she should not have continued using their father’s surname after marriage.
“Women should not stick to their fathers’ surname after marriage. It is disrespectful to their husbands. They must adopt their husbands’ surname. I would have felt bad if Manyata had stuck to her father’s surname,” Sanjay Dutt said.
His comments were immediately labelled archaic and unconstitutional.
Pragya Nath, an activist, said: “Sanjay Dutt’s comments were not just patriarchal, they were also unconstitutional. A person has every right – legally and constitutionally – to choose his or her surname. An aspiring politician like him and a veteran like Amar Singh block the autonomy of women’s rights. They are really light years away from Lohia, whose party they belong to.”
Haimanti Das, a student, went on to say that Sanjay Dutt’s comment is a testimony that he simply does not understand the essence of Gandhigiri, which was propagated by his popular film “Lage Raho Munnabhai”.
“He just proved that he does not understand the essence of Gandhi’s principle of equal rights. It’s not enough to just say that one believes in Gandhigiri. Actions speak louder than words,” Das said.
Reacting to Sanjay Dutt’s remarks, Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury had said that aspiring politicians like him should take some lessons on the constitutional rights of women before thinking of entering parliament.
“Sanjay Dutt played Munnabhai, who believed in Gandhigiri. However, he has forgotten Mahatma Gandhi’s lessons in equality. He should live up to the role he played in the film,” she said.