A hot debate has sparked between netizens on the question whether it is proper for an IAS officer to bring her child to a public gathering and address the people carrying the child in her arms? District Collector Divya S Iyer had brought her three-and-a-half -year old son Malhar to the valedictory ceremony of the sixth International Film Festival of Adoor and delivered a speech with the child in her arms.
The incident triggered a controversy after Deputy Speaker of the state Assembly, Chittayam Gopakumar, one of the organizers of the sixth International Film Festival of Adoor, shared a video of the Collector with her son attending the finale of the three-day event on October 30 on his Facebook page. However, he deleted the video from his FB handle later.
While critics pointed out at ‘propriety’, those backing Ms Iyer, including her husband, highlight the multiple roles women play and their right to have their moments with their children.
While many criticized Divya, saying it was improper for a high-ranking officer to bring her child to bring her child to a function, several others voiced support to the Collector and pointed out to the example of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who made history by bringing her three-month-old daughter to the United Nations General Assembly in 2018.
As criticism mounted against Ms Iyer over the incident, her husband KS Sabarinadhan, former legislator and Youth Congress state vice-president, came out in strong defence of his spouse, saying she took the boy along with her as it was a holiday and the function was purely unofficial.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, he said Iyer is a committed officer who completely dedicates her weekdays for official purposes but would try to spend Sundays with her son by avoiding travel, meetings and other programmes.
However, some functions could not be avoided in certain circumstances and in such situations she would inform the organisers in advance that she would attend the event along with their son, he said.
Renowned writer Benyamin and social activist Dhanya Raman were among those who extended whole-hearted support to the woman IAS officer in the controversy. However, many persons including noted lyricist Rajeev Alunkal criticised the Collector’s act saying by bringing the child to a public function, she acted without much propriety.
Several other critics charged that the woman official had “over-acted” and did not give much seriousness to the event.
Reacting to these developments, the IAS officer said that, “she was glad that she started a discussion on women’s and children rights by delivering a speech with her child in her arms at a public event.”