File photo of actor Rhea Chakraborty | Wikimedia Commons
File photo of actor Rhea Chakraborty | Wikimedia Commons
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The controversy over Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death by suicide is just refusing to die — from BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s conspiracy theories, calls for CBI probe to Rajput’s father blaming his former girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty.

But never did I expect that the tragic incident would be used to target Bengali women.

Earlier this week, Rajput’s family lodged an FIR against Chakrabarty under various sections of the IPC, including abetment to suicide. Soon, people on social media began to accuse Chakraborty of performing ‘black magic’ on the actor, saying it may have driven Sushant to his death.

While Chakraborty has refused to comment since the matter is now sub-judice, Twitter has been flooded with stereotypical posts against Bengali women — because Rhea Chakraborty is a Bengali.

Trolls have labelled Bengali women as “gold-diggers”, “manipulative”, “dominating”, “bish kanya” (poisonous daughter), who “use their husbands for ATM”, who know “how to call ghosts” and “ruin” men’s careers.

Such vicious name-calling and blatant misogyny, however, don’t surprise me at all, given that demonising women is Indian patriarchy’s favourite pastime on social media.

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Also read: Art, life and Bollywood’s role in violence against women


Regressive stereotypes

I have grown up in West Bengal, but I have never heard about the sexist stereotype of Bengali women practising black magic or sorcery. It was only when I shifted to Delhi that I first heard of this ridiculous claim. Some people have even asked me if it’s true that Bengali women possess mystical powers. Some of my male friends, who have Bengali girlfriends, even talk about how Bengali women are so “hypnotising” with their “big, beautiful and magical” eyes.

Initially, I found the stereotype too brainless to be worth a reply.

One of my friends even quipped that men who label Bengali women as “gold-diggers” must have been jilted by them.

But as a Bengali woman, I’d like to set the record straight. We don’t know ‘black magic’, we don’t have ‘supernatural powers’.  If we knew ‘jadu tona’, we would be ruling the world right now.

But now I really do wish I knew some ‘kala jadu’. It would have come handy in wiping out the misogyny and toxic masculinity we are constantly subjected to.

As for the trolls calling us ‘manipulative’, I understand that it’s not easy to handle fiercely independent, strong, bold, and opinionated women — this awesomeness is too much to bear, I know. But if refusing to cower before men makes us ‘dominating’, so be it.

Trolls say we love “catching big fish”, and they are right. We love to catch fish so that we can deep fry it in mustard oil and gobble it up with ghee-bhaat (rice).


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Endless sexism

Bengali women are also viewed as “chalu” (clever), “sexually available”, and “difficult” .

I have often heard North-Indian aunties say, “Bangali ladkiyan bahut tez hoti hain”. By ‘tez’, they obviously don’t mean sharp or intelligent — they mean women with loose morals.

These stupid stereotypes have been around for quite some time, and largely stem from the bold and unapologetic image of Bengali women.

We have always stood up to men, and our assertiveness is an obvious threat to their perceived masculinity, which is why we are labelled a ‘witch’ or ‘dayan’.

But it’s not just about Bengali women. It’s about every woman who has been declared “difficult” because of who she is. It’s about all those women who have been hounded for being too bold, too outgoing. It’s about all the women who have dared to step outside their prescribed gender roles, and called “loose” or “problematic”.


Also read: Locker room boys to IT cell men: India’s rape culture grows without shame or consequences


Women always an easy target

Sushant Singh Rajput’s death sheds light on how women are blamed and held guilty whenever a crisis befalls a man.

The fact that Rhea Chakraborty has been already pronounced guilty on social media, even before the allegations against her are proven in a court of law, speaks volumes about how society loves to pin the blame on women.

Rajput’s former therapist Susan Walker has now come out to publicly support Chakraborty, emphasising how instrumental she had been in giving him the courage to seek professional help for his mental illness. Walker said that Chakraborty had been Rajput’s strongest support system.

None of us really know the real reason behind Rajput’s death. We will never know what he was going through before he took the drastic step. So why then are we jumping the gun?

Earlier, too, tabloids blamed Rajput’s former girlfriend Ankita Lokhande for the end of their six-year relationship. Reports stated that Lokhande’s past experiences had made her insecure, which is what apparently led to the couple eventually calling it quits.

Pinning the blame on women for anything that goes wrong is a routine practice in India. Remember how actor Anushka Sharma became the target of abusive online trolls every time her husband Virat Kohli did not have a good day on the cricket pitch.

Even in Pakistan, tennis player Sania Mirza became the target of trolls after the country’s cricket team, which includes her husband Shoaib Malik, lost a match to India last year.


Also read: It’s a dirty picture — that’s what Sushant Singh Rajput’s death reminds us about Bollywood


Black magic and women in Bollywood

This is not the first time that a woman from Bollywood has been accused of performing black magic on her boyfriend.

In 2016, actor Adhyayan Suman accused his former girlfriend Kangana Ranaut of the same, even saying she fed him “impure blood”.

Black magic is used as a tool by men to pull down their strong and assertive former girlfriends — just call her a witch and she will have to mend her ways.

The fact, however, remains that accusing Rhea Chakraborty, or Bengali women, of performing black magic won’t serve any purpose. Rajput’s fans must let the law take its course and the police investigate the reasons behind his death.

Using someone’s alleged misdeeds to shame an entire community is shameful, to say the least. Such ethnic and gender profiling is way too common in India, but doing it over someone’s death is even more deplorable.

Views are personal.

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65 Comments Share Your Views

65 COMMENTS

  1. I read a comment here that Bengali s are cunning and manipulative. Thanks to that you are independent my dear, thank our brains which led the Indian revolution for independence. Utter non sense people, it’s for people like these India is moving backwards.

  2. I thought Bambiya gurls were the worst, in the country!
    When did the bngali beauties get the crown?
    Jealous!
    🙂
    Either which ways, women rock….and we also birth these very boys, and put up with a whole lotta nonsense when we shouldnt.
    Nice article. Signing up for the publication.

  3. I understand that you write this as a bengali and it becomes personal when someone says something like this. But i just want to tell you that it is nothing personal or hate towards your language and identity. A guy died and you don’t know what must be going through in his parents heads. You don’t understand the sociology of pain and grief. No doubt everyone grows up with some stereotype and people easily start believing in them but just don’t take this case personally.

  4. In general not all the Bengali women are same but stop saying that i am bengali on every video u can see rhea Chakraborty videos she has been saying all the time I am a Bengali girl … Then behave like one … If ur using a racists term to gain popularity then behaving like a bitch then this was bound to happen.. don’t promote racism stop saying ur bengali , north indian, mallu etc just shut it up .. say I am indian … Don’t use racist term for fake pride and popularity this is called karma …

  5. Wow, if an FIR or a criminal offense is registered against a woman, then all the pseudo feminists will jump and scream “misogyny”. Why? Is it a rule that women cannot commit crimes? Stereotyping is definitely wrong and blaming the entire community because of one person is not right. But keep in mind a man is not always guilty, women are too. But whenever a woman is accused of something these so called feminists jump the gun and shout and yell as if women can never commit a crime! This gives women free ticket to commit crime without getting convicted!

  6. Brakha Dutt answering for someone else that’s a joke.. She ( Barkha) to has a lot to answer for a total Anti National

  7. I would like her to finish misogyny! Instead of asking justice for men ,Rhea Chakraborty finished a life.. a life ……… life so positive so good and so energizing that it becomes so obvious that the Mumbai police is sold out. Tell me how should i trust a woman like that .A gold digger just like that. Now you will say that do not judge a book by its cover ,but why should I not? My safety lies with my decisions, my choice.And l agree with you that all women are not like that but how can we differentiate because if we fight , there is always a woman playing woman card ,just tell the man what card should he play to protect himself for the crimes that he did not even commit?

    • Oh really then what about jia Khan??are all the men love women s body.tell me how can I trust men .Shusant was a gold digger he ditched her former gf Ankita Lokhande after 6 year live in relationship .Why this rascals don’t ever dare to take the name of Sushmita Sen who earns 10 times more than her bf. Dont trust girls stay away from them it will be better for girls if men like u stay away from them

  8. If you racist Indians want to target bengali women or bengali people like this then someday we will have to be more racist to resist you. As a result either we will kick out every non bengalis from west bengal or we will make a different country getting out of India. Remember most of the freedom fighters were from India. We fought for our mother land not only for bengalees but also for other races. We gave you a lot of nobel lauriets, lot of scientists, poets, music composers, tasty recipes. But you people are very ungrateful. But you know one thing ?globally India is known by swami vivekananda, acharya J C Bose, Satyajit Roy , Rabindranath Tagore, subhash chandra bose and lot more famous bengalees. But if you go this way you are going to lose any global fame very soon.

    • calm down lady

      Your stupidity is out on display when you say you will kick non bengalis’s out of bengal or make a seperate country…are you high on weed??
      You are just one Bengali lady with the above view.So dont generalise.There are lakhs of Begalis living in various parts of India.If you dont want to live in India,feel free to leava our country…you are insignificant to this great Country

    • Absolutely, time has arrived to stop talking in hindi or answering in hindi in Bengal. Its high time to stop adopting north indian culture especially in our Bengali weddings.
      Its high time to stop punjabi songs playing in a gym or anywhere else in any land of bengal.
      Its high time to unify ourlselves else our language will be extinct….
      We need to protect.

    • Idiot like you should leave this country. And to be honest I have closely seen how a bengali women traps men. There are so many fearless women out there but only bengali women is named for KALA JAADU, because they definitely do it.. Bitches

  9. If you racist Indians want to target bengali women or bengali people like this then someday we will have to be more racist to resist you. As a result either we will kick out every non bengalis from west bengal or we will make a different country getting out of India. Remember most of the freedom fighters were from India. We fought for our mother land not only for bengalees but also for other races. We gave you a lot of nobel lauriets, lot of scientists, poets, music composers, tasty recipes. But you people are very ungrateful. But you know one thing ?globally India is known by swami vivekananda, acharya J C Bose, Satyajit Roy , Rabindranath Tagore, subhash chandra bose and lot more famous bengalees. But if you go this way you are going to lose any global fame very soon.

  10. I agree that one must not generalise but equally lets not divert attention and turn it into something about North Indians vs Bengalis. What happened to Sushant and emerging details of what happened to Disha are unpardonable. Rhea is emerging as a prime suspect and appears lacking in conscience. It is our joint duty as North Indians and Bengalis to wake up and say so.

  11. Without knowing history and lack of knowledge making generalised stereotype statements and blaming in general is nothing but sadistic pleasure.

  12. This is not JOURNALISM! As it is said at the very end of the article it’s full of views and opinions.l, nothing else.
    1. If you want to defend something, atleast have a spine and defend truth.
    2. Mumbai Police allows selective press in the conference and ends it abruptly when uncomfortable questions are asked.
    3. Different versions of bringing the body down.
    4. This useless BarkhaDutt doesn’t know the concept of LAW
    5. Give us ONE example when Subramanian Swamy is proven wrong and conspiracy theorist! (Given the fact that Supreme Court gave judgement in all the cases pursued by Subramanian Swamy in favour of him)

  13. Its not surprising to see people (with low or no IQ) trying to defame headstrong , opinionated , independent women like this. These misogynist patriarchs find it easy to judge and demean strong “Women” rather than striving to reach that position and all they need is a little excuse.
    Shameless and disgusting will be an understatement in such a case.
    What is more astonishong is that a certain section of “Women” find this brash cat calling logical and truly support it. They are highly unfortunate as their tomfoolery not only insults their own kind but also abuses their very own self-esteem!
    I think even God(and all His existence) feels pity for the “Grey Matter”( His Gift) that goes highly unused.😂

    • So according to your logic, feeding someone psychotropic drugs and going beyond prescription, using that induced state of lethargy and ennui to defruad him of crores, not just for her own dispensable and highly avoidable Zara and Jabong Sprees, but also for her brother’s avoidable stays at the Taj makes threa a strong, opionated woman. Shamelessly ripping off a person’s hard earned money and free riding on his talent and hard work makes a woman strong and independent. Now you know who is the Zero or low IQ peeson here. It is precisely because of women like you that Patrairchy and misogyny grow in our society. First understand the true meaning of patriarchy and misogyny before you make comments here.

  14. Maam
    Good day
    Stop taking everything personally
    Are you sushant singh Rajput girlfriend
    If you continue to take all worlds events on personal level, life is going to be depressing

  15. I would not state anything about Bengali women in particular. The problem is with Bengali people in general – sorry for the stereotype but if it holds good, nothing wrong with it. Bengali are very cunning and manipulative people, and that is how they end up surviving and thriving in most places. Best to stay away from them.

    • Bengalis are cunning , manipulative. And the rest of North India with their inclination for female foeticide/ infanticide, as a consequence an extremely skewed sex ratio and not to mention the worst episodes of violence against women in recent times, are descendants of angels. The quintessential role models of honesty and integrity.

  16. This article is ridiculous. Such article is a try to shift focus from actual issues and save culprits. I know some media houses like wire, print, and NDTV’s they r doing this to mint money from culprits. This is how they r runing their business.

  17. I don’t think that any one even thought on such things in this sensitive case. The article appears like a cheap tactic to dilute and divert from the real matter. So much of important space wasted on an issue which actually never happened. Kindly focus on the real issue of death of SSR amd how shossy investigation ia being done and how Rhea Chakraborty has gone underground and dodging Bihar police like a criminal.

  18. You article is really rubbish, we will not support you! You should rather support justice for Sushant Singh Rajput.

  19. Its no way related to bengali women, i dont know which PR team spreading this foolish thing and covering up the actual incident. We need to know what happend with sushant and for what reasong his life is end.

  20. One dirty fish contaminate the whole pond is the best saying for the topic, it seems. I never heard of such things in my life about Bengali women. Bong women are bold and beautiful always.
    It is the sick stereotype mentally of ppl who just know to give statement without knowing the fact.
    No doubt i think rhea is hiding information but this right had been provided by the actor himself i believe. As one cannot control any others life and property upto thos extent if you are not let him/her to do so. If married then it is different but if not then how is that possible?
    And being a Bengali, i believe not only women even Bengali families are bold, intelligent and confidant to stand in a society which also hold cheap & sick mentality misogynist.

  21. Attempts r being made by a section of journalists hired by those trying to protect murderers of SSR to dilute the sensitivity of the case. Public gives damn to such discussioms and issues and hardly anyone carried n bothered on such useless view. You wasted a part of your paper on tgus cheap article. Better would be your effort to bring up how entire Maharastra state machinery has gone desperate to derail SSR murder and doing all efforts to block investigation by other parties. It would be worthy of your journlism if you would have pointed that seeing the conduct of state machinery how important it becomes for CBI to take over the case.

  22. Really too disgusted to comment on piece that twists the reality and dismisses murder as suicide. There is overwhelming evidence on the ground to support a heinous murder. Don’t be bigoted in your support of a diabolic woman.

    • Usually i refrain from responding to comments.
      But this time …It is different.

      Where in the article it has been tried to show that this tragic incident was either murder or suicide.

      You may or may not agree to the views .That is perfectly justified. But not twist a tale…Bring up issues not relevant.

  23. Stop this idiot kind of journalism. Are you sick where does bengali women come in picture. Don’t you see a young men was actually killed by this mental women.
    Justice must be done. The rascal who r responsible for sushant and sanial suicide mist be punished severely.

  24. I want to remind all that even 26/11 Pakistan Terrorist Kasab seen killing innocent people on live TV was given a fair trial before he could be sentenced to death. My only request to the media to educate themselves and their viewers about fair trial required by law in a civilized society. There’s a reason why there is a deliberate legal trial process favorable before declaring someone guilty and convicted for the crime. Unfortunately the legal process is lengthy and expensive that makes it favorable for the Rich and the powerful.

  25. I want to remind all that even 26/11 Pakistan Terrorist Kasab seen killing innocent people on live TV was given a fair trial before he could be sentenced to death. My only request to the media to educate themselves and their viewers about fair trial required by law in a civilized society. There’s a reason why there is a deliberate legal trial process favorable for Rich and powerful before declaring some one guilty and convicted for the crime.

    • I agree. And to add another, currently VERY topical angle, is the daily anti-Bengali fake news, partly also true of anti-Mallu gutter filth, that Modi Shah’s hate machine bombards north India with every day, and which I watched on my IITK WhatsApp group with astonishment, and then horror which turned to utter contempt at these subhuman RSS criminals bigots and medieval racists, all of which feeds into your central, valid points

  26. North India is labelled as the Cow Belt for a reason. The social media behavior of the “Northies” gives ample justification for such labelling.

  27. The most ridiculous & brainless allegations I have ever seen in my life till date. If you can not take the free spree of a specific community lady, it’s easier to pounce her with nepotism. Well done trollers. Trolling those same Bollywood stars or body shaming or something like that is outdated now. So they have come up with a fresh idea. We enjoy your trolls. Trust me we do. & yes I know some kala jadoo. Registrations free for those who will sign up before the independence day. I’ll teach you the kala jadoo for free. Like every other department of studies, I have aced in this subject too.

  28. This is nothing new and we are to be blamed for this. What ever goes wrong in some one’s life there is always a lady to be blamed. There has been so many conspiracy theories regarding Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide case that i am getting confused which one to follow. At least we should wait for the law to take its course. Why play the blame game on any one? Every one should understand while pointing a finger at some one; they have pointed not one or two but four fingers at themselves. Who gave them the power to raise a finger at anyone?

  29. This awesomeness is too much to bear..I’ll find some empty skulls I use for my kaala jaadu.., I have them in abundance after all.., and I’ll store the awesomeness in them. Keep this coming.

  30. American in America here.

    I have long admired the culture of India (and many of it’s surrounding countries) and enjoy Bollywood movies and cricket (some here say too much 😉 ). It saddens me to see such regressive rhetoric surrounding such a tragic event.

    I remember the crap people were spewing about Anushka Sharma, as well. Misogyny is an issue that spans geographical barriers and I must applaud the author of this article for calling it out in a direct and entertaining way. Bravo!

  31. Now for bengali women it will be harder to seek the validation of North Indians and other Indians too, who have been completely washed with such stereotypes. Also, there is an underlying inferiority complex in bengalies for their own community and identity which is why they are always picked at by belittlement. Many a times in name of boldness Bengali women are also the most easiest to be objectified as easy ,loose charactered, women in bollywood and several other Indian media propaganda and the men in their community are portrayed as weak, effiminate, incompetent in india media.Gradually these stereotypes has settled too strong in mentality of Indians. These were the exact same stereotypes Punjabies from P****an had for Bengalies and we all know what that supremacy and prejudice led too. These are basically tribal mentality to push narratives of portraying females of a defeatist community as loose,immoral, easy to get, and evil while it’s males as incompetent, effeminate and virtually non existent and evil. That’s exactly what attitude towards bengalies are in India. That’s the exactly analogous to the narrative American GIs were fed with for Vietnamese when they invaded Vietnam. To conclude, it’s not just bengali women who are belittled by stereotypes and shown as sex object in Indian narrative via the mass media but their men are also shown as inferior and evil breed of men. It’s more or less true for many communities in India, but with bengalies it’s more popular. Now what is to be gained by such narratives? If anyone’s intelligent enough it can be deciphered easily…
    But at the end of the day, we are all Indians before our race and bengalies are our brothers and sisters. Such stereotypes must end because we are all same.

    • I agree. And to add another, currently VERY topical angle, is the daily anti-Bengali fake news, partly also true of anti-Mallu gutter filth, that Modi Shah’s hate machine bombards north India with every day, and which I watched on my IITK WhatsApp group with astonishment, and then horror which turned to utter contempt at these subhuman RSS criminals bigots and medieval racists, all of which feeds into your central, valid points

  32. This article is so silly, it’s not even worth commenting on.
    Surely there are more important issues in this world?

  33. Shut the hell up. Look at yourself and think how you can make your boyfriend’s life easy. Too much of fancy internet words have spoiled your brain and that’s hampering your partner’s life. And for god’s sake,stop using “Bengali” in everything. She is a woman and a human.Her culture doesn’t define her behaviour her character does.Get over your bullshit game of reverse psychology and it’s high time stop spreading misandry

  34. This racist misogynist backlash against a particular breed of women (Bengali women) is totally unwarranted and ridiculous to say the least. It just typifies and exemplifies the sick stereotypical mentality which exists among a certain cross section of ppl who have very little or negligible knowledge of anything and are quick to jump the gun and wag accusatory fingers at a particular clan of people. Plz be aware that the toxic hatred & negativity that you are spreading will sooner or later come back to haunt you when ur clan of ppl will be targeted. Karma is a bitch & life always comes full circle. So beware!

    • I do not, for one moment, believe in kala jaddo and such nonsense. But in my experience there is truth in the stereotype of the cunning, vile and manipulative Bengali, man or woman. I would say it was sheer stupidity of SSR to date her.

  35. Sushant Singh Rajput, committed suicide. period. All the speculation swirling around a rather routine and mundane event reflects the boredom of people confined to limited activities due to covid. It does not matter what or who did what, the responsibility for a suicide should squarely rests on the victim. One might be sympathetic to some victims but to launch a witch hunt is the height of ludicrous.


    • At times I forget that this is 2020!!! I am taken back more than 100 years back with the regressive mentality that social media shows us. I am appalled by the way media and social media is handing this whole case. Initially they started with nepotism and then his financial instability and then depression and now this girl. I think it’s high time we wait for the law to throw light on this topic. And the stereotypes within the Indian society will never fade..I am a Bengali and I am thankful that I was born one!!!

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