Thoughts on Devyani Khobragade’s op-ed on Indrani Mukherjea and Feminism

Devyani K.

A friend sent me the following article by the previously infamous Devyani Khobragade, she who is/was the India Foreign Service officer accused of unfairness, slavery and such and was poorly treated when she was arrested and held by the American authorities. In this article, she ponders on the unfair treatment of the current leading lady of tabloid-fare and speculation – the infamous Indrani Mukherjea, accused of a laundry list of lies and manipulations but most prominently of having coldly and calculatingly killed the woman who she made the world believe was her sister but was in fact her daughter.

I am always hit by a mixture of amazement, amusement and face-palming by such things – the things that the human mind is capable of not just considering but actively believing to be true.
Not unlike the excessively radical fundamentalist who refuses to see any reason, even from their own fellow believers who are not quite as tunnel-visioned.

Indrani M.
Indrani M.

The sad part of this article is that a certain basic point (i.e, “a strong, unrepressed, woman, aware of her sexuality” and for a women in this modern day to be able to not have to be “wife and mother” alone or at all and simply be whatever she wants to be – even if that is someone driven purely by ambition, power, money, idealism, art, whatever) is a valid point in and of itself. This is something that society should try to aspire to where there are no “standard roles” and no “place” for any person that they should know is theirs to have to live with. Everyone should be able to pursue what Plato called the “telos”, the thing you believe you are meant to become.
Whatever that might be.

Unfortunately for this (pardon my lingo) self-absorbed ignorant dumbass, this is not a matter of societal order or norms. This is about someone who may have started out with the good intention of getting out of a bad place and aiming high, but (a) there is a reason we have the saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions and (b) truly exceptional would a situation have to be where the ends justify the means. This situations ends do not even remotely justify the means.

This degree of lying, this degree of manipulative behaviour. Coldly plotting things like murder and of not just family, but your own child. You don’t have to be a saint to feel that there is something fundamentally very, very wrong and very, well, evil in the mindset. Either that or she is an amoral sociopath who just is incapable of realising what she did was wrong and feels no remorse or hesitation beyond knowing intellectually that “people think it’s bad so we should hide and do it”.Is a femme fatale a good thing?In fiction? Yes, for entertainment. But even there she is pretty much the worst thing to happen to all the other characters – male or female. And what makes her a femme fatale is usually that she came from a bad place in her past life or she is just a bad person. Neither is something to aspire toward.

There is a HUGE difference between a strong, independant woman who wears what she likes, lives her life the way that makes her happy and fights to make her own choices – and a femme fatale who is a damaged person that manipulates others for often poor reasons, on the fly and for selfish gain with little to no regard for what it costs anyone else no matter who they are or how heavy that cost.
However you look at it, her actions cannot be justified away and unless a sudden burst of evidence comes forth to contradict what stands against her, she is a danger to people around her and incapable of functioning under existing fair ethical and moral standards (shaky though they seem at times, more so these days here in India with the notable upswing in hate-mongering).
That Khobragade actually believes any of what she says in the article, for me says a lot about her state of mind and I have to admit, I’m curious to see what any of you out there have to think of her views here.

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