Kerala man Vijay Nair attacked by feminists
A combo of screen-grabs from the video of the attack released on social media Image Credit: Social media

A self-styled psychiatrist [Dr] Vijay P Nair was attacked in his lodge room by three activists led a by popular dubbing artist Bhagyalakshmi and a bottle of black ink was poured over his head in a video that went viral in Kerala.

The man with the dubious doctorate was also seen being slapped by the women before made to apologise for his actions that apparently hurt and pained the women of Kerala. The activists then forced him to delete some videos he uploaded on YouTube. Apparently, the activists had complained to the police and concerned officials to no avail and were forced to act due to apathy from the authorities.

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The incident catapulted Vijay Nair into a celebrity of sorts. The native of Thiruvananthapuram who led an unremarkable life — as news channels would later find out — with not even his neighbours acknowledging his existence was soon having the time of his life in lime light, although short-lived. He appeared in major TVs on prime time: remorseless of his actions and very unrepentant, proving very well that he knew the implications of his actions.

What he said in video

It was not immediately clear what make him deserve the unwanted attention of the women but the mystery was over soon. He was revealed as YouTuber with a penchant for creating and sharing highly misogynistic and sexist content. Though some of his clips were deleted by the activists, their copies emerged which were made viral by numerous seedy social media operators and some fans who seemingly sprouted all over the internet as if they were silently waiting for a cue all this time.

Apparently, he was active on social media for a while and specialised in gossip videos where he would face the camera and narrate sleazy, fictional accounts from the lives of celebrities as if they were real-life incidents told to him by equally fictitious acquaintances. The extent of such videos were not known but he had made some very repugnant and reprehensible comments about venerable Kerala poet Sugathakumari and the dubbing artist Bhagyalakshmi. This he did without actually naming them in person but by giving enough hints and allusions that will lead even the blind directly to the victims of his attack. The sexist nature of the attacks on women celebrities was shocking to say the least. At the same time, the narrative sought to cater to a chauvinistic male society that swears on the ‘promiscuity’ or ‘immorality’ of independent women. For example, one of his video begins with the question: Why do Kerala feminists not wear underwear? Well, no further examples are needed to illustrate the uniqueness of Nair’s repertoire.

Long line of misogynists

In fact Vijay Nair is not a new phenomenon. He comes from a long line of closet misogynists that Kerala society is teeming with. They get charged up and become active at the first sight of an independent women and go into attack mode usually in packs. This open society of hateful males serves two functions. Oppose and defeat the independence and free will of the women, and conform them to stereotypical roles preordained by the male diktats in the name of tradition or religion.

The coming out of such male types in large numbers has assumed an organised nature of late, particularly after the issue of Sabarimala temple entry of women. In the real world as well as in social media. The division along traditionalist vs modernist lines became sharp ever since, giving credence to an argument that the Supreme Court order was used by the Hindutwa forces to entrench their presence in the Kerala society as a protector of traditional values against the modernists, often represented by the left groups.

It is no surprise that Vijay Nair also appears to have a right-wing background. At least in one video, he is seen exhorting his viewers how to ‘defeat’ a historical film which tells the story from a Muslim perspective. Social media users were also quick to point out photo of an RSS leader prominently displayed in his office. He was also reportedly a contributor to many of their publications. Apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Needless to say, the beating by the female squad has divided the Malayalam social media with the more vocal among the male brigade jumping right behind Vijay Nair, commenting that the women should have patiently waited for justice to be delivered to them in due course rather than taking law in their hands. Fortunately, people who matter, from celebrities to the Chief Minister, are with the activists this time for a change. Nair was arrested while charges were also filed against the activists. Whether the culprit will eventually be punished or not, the incident certainly goes a long way in shaping up future responses by Kerala women in cases of cyber bullying and defamation through social media, in the absence of proper cyber laws and an action plan for police.