Bhopal, June 25: Babulal Gaur may not see eye to eye with his predecessor Uma Bharti, but when it comes to women, they speak in one voice.
As the Madhya Pradesh chief minister gave the women of his state a sermon on the virtues of simplicity and plain living, there was a distinct echo of Uma.
“Avoid make-up because it does not make you look smart. It makes you look tired,” Gaur told a gathering of college teachers today.
The 76-year-old chief minister’s beauty tips came barely a week after his government banned fashion shows in schools and colleges, saying they led to vulgarity.
A year and a half ago, Uma had delivered a similar discourse. “An ideal woman, as I envisage her, should be an efficient worker and a loving wife and mother,” she had said.
Uma’s “friendly advice” also included how a woman should spend her day. She should go for morning walk, perform yoga, read the newspaper and sip tea, but with her husband. Then she should prepare breakfast for the family before leaving for work.
Work over, she must head straight home and make pleasant conversation with her husband and children before cooking dinner.
Confrontation, bitterness and marital discord should be avoided under all circumstances, the then chief minister had counselled.
Gaur, who unsuccessfully tried to make singing Vande Mataram mandatory in schools, government offices and cabinet meetings, said the basic fallacy in today’s education system was reliance on western values. “It is a pity that we are aping the West while countries like Malaysia are cultivating their education systems on the pattern of ancient Indian learning.”
In the 10 months that Gaur has been chief minister, he has taken a string of measures that have got the Opposition, minority groups and civil rights activists frowning. Like Uma, Gaur went on to declare three towns as “holy”, where the sale of liquor, meat and eggs was banned.
Then came the Vande Mataram diktat. The state’s legal department discouraged him from imposing it and Gaur grudgingly gave in. But a government directive issued last week “advised” all “patriotic” citizens to sing the national song at least once a month.
Leader of Opposition Jamuna Devi today slammed Gaur’s lecture on make-up, saying she failed to understand why he was “wasting his energy” on matters that are an individual’s choice.
State Congress leader Manak Aggarwal went a step further. “Here is a government that wants to impose its code of conduct in one’s drawing room and bedroom,” he said.