‘Cheri’ language: Khushbu attracts ire of Congress and Dalit activists
Popular film star and BJP national executive member Kushbu has landed in a controversy with her ‘Cheri language’ comment on DMK trolls enraging the Congress and Dalit activists. Her attempt to wriggle out later by maintaining that the word meant loved or beloved has failed to quell the online bashing of the actor. Besides the demand for an apology, some are insisting that she be booked under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,
Writes ETV Bharat’s MC Rajan.
Chennai: Courting controversy and receiving brickbats is nothing new for actor Kushbu. She had a taste of it much earlier for her view on premarital sex, which witnessed an orchestrated campaign and a plethora of court cases, which went up to the Supreme Court. Then, she had the last laugh. But now, she finds herself at the receiving end for equating the foul language of DMK trolls to that of Dalit ghettos –Cheri.
It all started with Kushbu, a nominated member of the National Commission for Women (NCW), came out in support of actor Trisha, stating in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that the panel would take suo motu action against actor Mansoor Ali Khan for his ‘sexist disgusting’ comments about the former at a recent media interaction. Khan had acted with Trisha in Vijay-starrer ‘Leo’. Following an NCW directive, the Chennai police booked Khan under Sections 354-A and 509 IPC and appeared at the Thousand Lights All Women Police Station for inquiry on Thursday. His anticipatory bail plea is coming at the Sessions Court on Friday.
DMK workers and sympathisers, active on social media, as well as others, were quick to question the alacrity with which she had reacted to a fellow Kollywood star while having maintained a studied silence on the plight of Manipur women. While they were not supporting Khan, they targeted her for being selective. Responding to one of the trolls, a DMK functionary and an advocate she came up with another post wherein she said, “This is what DMK goons do. Use a foul language. But, this is what they are taught. To insult a woman. Sorry, can’t speak your Cheri language… shame on you being a lawyer and shame on your leader for having idiots like you.” Then, warning DMK president and Chief Minister MK Stalin, she added, “beware of the bunch of fools, who are out there to destroy you.” Rather than quelling the uproar, her comparison of ‘Cheri language’ was taken as adding insult to injury with the Congress,
Manithaneya Jananayaga Katchi (MJK), and the Neelam Cultural Centre of ace filmmaker Pa Ranjith took exception to this, demanding an apology from Kushbu. Neelam was the first to take the actor to task, condemning her use of the term ‘Cheri language’ and demanding an unconditional apology. “Cheri is the Tamil word for Dalit ghettos, the place that has witnessed inter-generational resistance of Dalit women against caste, gender and other forms of oppression. Normalising the ‘colloquial’ use of this term to denote foul and disrespect, within the connotation of profanity disregards the history, culture and lives of the community. This is unacceptable and strongly condemnable! We demand an unconditional apology from Mrs Kushbu.”
Neelam said in a post.
In an attempt to wriggle out of this controversy, she came up with an innovative explanation that ‘Cheri’ is not a pejorative term but means ‘beloved or loved’ in French. In an X post, she said, “How funny to see an outrage from a bunch of selective crowd over my language in my tweet. Would like to educate illiterates a little about it. My tweet is laced with sarcasm. ‘Cheri’ is a word in French that means beloved or loved, It was used in that context to show the troll from the goon’s party that I share love.” But, it proved to be counterproductive.
Joining issue with her, TNCC SC Wing leader Ranjan Kumar had threatened to lay siege to the actor’s house if she failed to tender an unconditional apology within 24 hours. In a statement and later speaking to the media, Kumar said, “Kushbu has displayed the casteist arrogance of the BJP. She has to delete the tweet and tender a public apology.” MJK president Thameemun Ansari condemned the film star for insulting the language of the common masses and sought an apology.
Meanwhile, advocate K Elangovan had suggested that Kushbu’s ‘Cheri language’ comment was fit enough to book her under the SC/ST (PA) Act. Many, who posted comments in her thread, have insisted on it.
Despite the frequent controversies and faux pax, she continues to be an idol for ardent fans, who had earlier built a temple for her in Trichy. Even today, a fan sought her blessings on his birthday and she obliged by posting her photograph.
Courtesy : ETV Bharat
Note: This news piece was originally published in etvbharat.com and used purely for non-profit/non-commercial purposes exclusively for Human Right