Let's not delve into jargon regarding religious manipulations, societal degradation, and so forth—there are numerous scholars to tackle those discussions. As a woman, my initial concern was why Tanzim Hassan Sakib, who posted derogatory comments on Facebook to undermine women's status in society, faced no repercussions for his actions.
Why was there no consequence or, at the very least, a public apology from him? Why does it seem that everyone is accepting the explanation provided by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB)? Why would he apologise to BCB? His post offended women, not BCB.
I'm perplexed about why some individuals are justifying Sakib's comments by labeling them as freedom of expression. Why is there such ignorance? How hard is it to comprehend that freedom of expression can never condone making public statements that harm, undermine, or perpetuate racial and sexist comments?
By now, we are all well aware of how patriarchy operates and how deeply it is ingrained in people's minds. However, it's disconcerting that the men we live and work with would cheer during today's cricket match for a person who made such crass remarks about women.
Tanzin Hassan Sakib, a debutant cricketer, had posted on his Facebook on 9 September 2022, words which roughly translate to: "If a wife works, her husband's rights are not ensured."
Tanzim posted on Facebook last year: "If a wife works, her child's rights are not ensured. If a wife works, her elegance is tarnished. If a wife works, the family is ruined. If a wife works, her modesty is ruined. If a wife works, society is ruined."
In the last paragraph of the post, he added: "Henceforth, in order to maintain dignity, let the women remain submissive to their husbands and stay at home like a queen. Rather than losing afterlife by chasing after worldly life, let the mothers and sisters stay at home, serve the children and husband to earn blessings from both the worldly and the afterlife, Inshallah."
It is not that there is no such example in front of us. We’ve seen Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) taking prompt action against celebrity cricketer Hardik Panya and KL Rahul following their cringe-worthy comments about women in popular TV show Koffee with Karan in 2019
The lack of adequate consequences indicates a societal tolerance for sexist attitudes and a lack of accountability for such behaviour. This lack of consequences can be attributed to a broader issue of normalised sexism and a patriarchal system that often fails to address or punish acts that reinforce gender inequalities, eventually creating lack of trust among women.
It is not that there is no such example in front of us. We’ve seen Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) taking prompt action against celebrity cricketer Hardik Panya and KL Rahul following their cringe-worthy comments about women in popular TV show Koffee with Karan in 2019.
The duo amid huge controversy took to the Twitter immediately and sought public apology. But BCCI was not happy with the explanation and proceed to expel them from an ongoing series and take further action against the two.
We have seen veteran cricketer such as Sunil Gavaskar, Harbhajan Singh slammed the two for their remarks.
Former India captain and batting great Sunil Gavaskar told TV channel Sony Six at the time that “They (the BCCI) have dealt with it. From what I read in the newspapers today, they have sent them back or asked them to come back. That's a right way to send a signal.”
He further added, "They have been asked to come back and I believe it's the correct step because you can't have suspended players travelling with the team or staying in the same room. They have got to be kept away. Otherwise what's the point of the suspension? If they are going to enjoy the perks of being with the team."
Senior cricketer Harbhajan told India Today, “They have openly said, 'I have done this, I have done that'. It was shocking to me. Many of my seniors, my friends have been talking about it and it has been shocking to all of them.
"This is wrong. They need to understand they play cricket and people treat them as gods. They can't go out and say such things while pretending to be cool. You're making fool out of yourself. This definitely was going to happen."
KL Rahul appeared on the celebrity show with all-rounder Hardik Pandya where the duo boasted of how they pick women in parties and night club and such things. The young cricketer came under fire from all quarters for their comments and were immediately suspended from an ongoing series against Australia.
You men want us to trust you? Earn it. You men want us to love you? Earn it. We've had enough of everything being handed to you on a silver platter. Don't dictate to us what to wear, where to go, how much to study, or what to do with our lives
Another example is Ollie Robinson, who faced tremendous backlash for his racist and sexist tweets dating back almost 8 years. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) punished him for these actions. The cricketer had to issue a public apology, stating “On the biggest day of my career so far, I am embarrassed by the racist and sexist tweets that I posted over eight years ago which have today become public.
"I want to make it clear that I'm not racist and I'm not sexist. I deeply regret my actions and I am ashamed of making such remarks.
"I was thoughtless and irresponsible and, regardless of my state of mind at the time, my actions were inexcusable. Since that period, I have matured as a person and fully regret the tweets...”
In Tanzim Hasan Sakib's case, punishment or a public apology was necessary. While one can delve into reasons behind why these young individuals develop such perspectives and discuss aspects of social reforms, education, or religious beliefs, it's essential to hold the person accountable and send a clear message that it is not acceptable to defame or demean somebody and escape consequences by simply saying, "I didn’t intend to!"
It is neither okay nor fair for anyone to get away with something as crude and crass as this. Men seem oblivious to how challenging it is to be a woman in such a society, constantly surrounded by colleagues, friends, family, and acquaintances who openly support these ignorant individuals driven by blind religious beliefs, individuals who aim to curtail our mobility, education, jobs, and sometimes even our very existence.
You men want us to trust you? Earn it. You men want us to love you? Earn it. We've had enough of everything being handed to you on a silver platter. Don't dictate to us what to wear, where to go, how much to study, or what to do with our lives. Abandon that self-proclaimed authority. It's time to let go of it—right now!