The writer is professor at Cornell University, Department of Development Sociology
As language became more politicised and more opaque, new or unfamiliar phrases and figures of speech became easier to understand not with a dictionary, but by association.
The propensity to violence against working wives seems to be greater in men who lose their own jobs or whose wives earn more than them. Relative income matters — the largest resentment is unleashed when the woman’s income exceeds her spouse’s.
One could call these non-readers functionally illiterate even if it is true that they do not fit that part of UNESCO’s definition of functional illiteracy which refers to the inability to conduct the business of everyday life — balancing bank accounts, paying bills, deciphering medical instructions.
The latest firing of this salvo occurred in the Prime Minister’s Independence Day speech, in which it was declared that having small families is a form of “patriotism”. Such exhortations primarily target women, their bodies and their reproductive autonomy.