The VICE Guide to Right Now

Indian Motivational Speaker Refuses to Give Speech After Seeing Women Seated in the Front Row

Swami Gyanvatsal got so offended about the first few rows featuring women that he walked away even after some women willingly moved to the back of the room.
Shamani Joshi
Mumbai, IN
Indian motivational speaker refuses to speak because women seated in front row
Photo courtesy of Digvij Borda

Swami Gyanvatsal is a motivational speech guru, known for delivering power-packed talks on topics that urge people to think differently and behave better. But this guru pretty much contradicted everything he speaks up about with his regressively shameful attitude towards women.

At an event organised by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in Rajasthan, the guru was scheduled to deliver one of his usual motivational speeches to a packed auditorium. Except, he refused to do so because seeing so many women seated in the front row was something he found deeply offensive.

He had reportedly specifically instructed organisers not to allow any women to sit in the first three rows as part of his “protocol”. Because like fuck feminism, gender equality and all the important rights women have been fighting for for decades, right?

Dr Ritu Chaudhary, one among the other doctors present there, told Zee Media, that a few lady doctors were seated in the front row, and many of the seats in the first three rows were filled with women waiting for Swami Gyanvatsal to deliver his speech. And while it should have come as a compliment to the guru that so many people were eagerly waiting to listen to him, he decided to ask the organisers to announce that thereon, no women could sit in the first seven rows. While many women doctors realised that this was blatant misogyny, walked away and even made plans to protest, some decided to move behind and stay on for the speech, agreeing to leave the front two rows empty altogether.

But even after all this, the guru walked away because he was so offended by this incident that he could no longer concentrate on his speech. Guess when the guru gave empowering speeches like “Change your attitude”, he forgot to look in the mirror and say that to himself.

Follow Shamani Joshi on Instagram.