Women's Reservation in politics – will it empower women?
On this centenary year of woman's day, my answer to this question is an ironical 'no'.
I say this because I have tested the waters!!
I was one of the early enthusiasts to support such a provision and articulated it in my letters to The Hindu long ago.
I was even close to contesting the reserved constituency in a local body election 7 years ago.
I can say that the Sasa yoga in my horoscope (Saturn in exaltation or own house in Kendra to lagna – and it was Vargotthama in my chart!) tempted me to take a plunge into politics.
I was also encouraged by the confidence reposed on me by the people from across all sections of the place where I lived, thanks to my non-commercially practiced astrological counseling. If I had wished, I could have amassed wealth through astrology which I started practicing from my early twenties. The communality around me considered this as the first reason to have me in political administration of them. A person with no- money intentions must be there in political power, they thought. The next reason they said was that they considered me as 'intelligent' and 'smart enough' to extract maximum benefit from the government for the betterment of the constituency. There was yet another section which considered that people like me (!?) must be in politics – in decision making bodies. For sometime even I believed what they all said.
But when you go nearer to politics, the stench is too strong to drive you out!
Money is one thing then but the only thing today in Tamilnadu more than anytime in the past.
Some political parties approached me but I had to pay some amount to get the ticket.
DMK, of all the parties offered me a ticket at that time without wanting me to pay a single rupee (they will pay everything for me, for they were too sure that if I contest in their ticket, one seat is assured beyond doubt).
Interestingly I was saved from this first hurdle – for, the other contestants said that they would withdraw from the race if I am there – so that I will be elected unopposed as an independent. The only expense I had to make was the fee to be paid for contesting. You can imagine how thrilled I would have been then!!
But the real scenario exposed itself upon my face after that.
On hearing my support base, many people approached me guaranteeing their support to me.
Their background, the jobs they were doing, the kind of returns / help they would expect from me once I am elected started dawning on me. The reality is that more than what I can do for the common man, I have to do more for these vested interests. In my interactions with that DMK man (who was the President in previous local body) on what they can do, what they have done and what they are upto, was grasped by me only then. They are all seasoned politicians. They can not allow anything that is different (or detrimental) from the politics they practice. This wisdom started dawning on me.
My family was too worried about my safety in such a place where money rules the roost. The same voices which want me to win a seat for them, would not be the same if I question them why we must do something the way they decide or want. Your life is not guaranteed if you speak in a different tone in that place. Either you have to go along with them or quit. I quit.
It is not man or woman that matters – on who should enter politics or how many of them – percentage wise – must enter politics. It is about how prepared you are to shut your eyes to the filthy dealings. Not many women have entered so far into Indian politics, perhaps because they are not monetarily strong to enter at the entry level. And once they enter they must not 'see' what they see, must not 'hear' what they hear and must not talk what they saw, heard and thought! How many of them can be like this is a question because it is not about a 'male bastion' but about an incorrigibly corrupt bastion.
I thanked my last minute decision of not filing the papers for contest, for within hours of the result of the poll, the winners made more money than what they spent on the election. (There are ways – unimaginable ways of making money once you are elected to power!!!) One can imagine how much they would have made in the next 5 years.
It sounds funny when I hear people opposing reservation putting forth the argument that rotationary reservation will not lead to development of the constituency. Who said that there is no development? Those who entered will find development! Isn't that for what they enter?
It sounds ridiculous when the media and others boast of who is who of the women in politics an power (today's article in DC is given below).
Look at who they are.
Kani mozhi – who concedes that she enjoys visibility because of her birth!
Jaya and Jayapradha – can a Jayasree come anywhere nearer their clout and money?
And the most funniest example of Sonia Gandhi.
They say 'kamaban veettu kattuth thariyum kavi paadum'. Even the Pomeranian in her house will get attention.
That is what the opponents to the Bill (not the yadavs I mean) are saying.
Only the wives (many means more sources – MK tops the list with the highest advantage potential with a wider band from wives to great grand daughters to offer tickets) and daughters of the already existing politicians are going to enter. Money is not a problem to them – their fathers have amassed enough to take care of many more elections. And they know that they are there to replenish it after each election!!
Only eligible women are needed to fill the percentage.
Do you believe that you and I are eligible to fill that?
The existing band of politicians will have their next generation filling the percentage conveniently.
We can not get 'empowered' (for what?) in this way.
Those who believe in 'politics with ethics' can not even test these waters.
The system is too rotten. Male or female is not an issue.
How far you are ready to or capable of compromising on ethics decides your entry into and future in politics.
The best way to express this is already given by Mr Pazha. Karuppaiya in the Thuglak anniversary function (published in the latest issue of Thuglak dated 10-03-2010)
"No unethical person was seen in politics Gandhi's times; no ethical person is seen in politics in Karunanidhi's times"
From his speech:-
"ஒரு காலக் கட்டத்தில் நாட்டில் உள்ள இளைஞர்களை எல்லாம் 'பொது வாழ்க்கைக்கு வாருங்கள்' என்று காந்தீஜி அழைத்தார். அப்போது நாட்டிலுள்ள யோக்கியர்கள் எல்லாம் 'இந்த மனிதர் நம்மைத் தான் அழைக்கிறார்' என்று பொது வாழ்க்கைக்கு வந்தார்கள். நாட்டில் இருந்த அயோக்கியர்கள் எல்லாம் 'இவர் அழைப்பது நம்மை அல்ல' என்று ஒதுங்கிக் கொண்டார்கள். ......
இன்றைக்கு கருணாநிதி போன்ற தலைவர்கள் இளைஞர்களை பொது வாழ்க்கைக்கு அழைக்கிறார்கள்! நாட்டில் உள்ள அயோக்கியர்கள் எல்லாம் 'தலைவர் நம்மைத் தான் அழைக்கிறார்' என்று உள்ளே வந்துவிட்டான். ...
காந்தி காலத்தில் அயோக்கியன் எல்லாம் வெளியே தெரியவில்லை. கருணாநிதி காலத்தில் யோக்கியன் எல்லாம் வெளியே தெரியவில்லை. இதுதான் அரசியல் கெட்டுப் போனதற்குஅடிப்படை" (substitute Karunanidhi with politicians in general)
In this atmosphere of Politics without Ethics, women's reservation only helps in bringing more women who can play this game.
Is this what they call empowerment of women?
Updated on 12-03-2010 :-
Sonia's suggestion to Lalu -
Lalu brought Rabri Devi before -amidst lot of criticism.
Now he can have no qualms in bringing all his seven daughters.
Sonia's logic for the need of the bill is also the same.
Is this the great step for Indian women?
Some related articles:-
“Women's quota or Biwi-Beti-Bahu-Behen-Bhanji quota?
Is the Women's Quota Bill motivated by genuine concern for gender equity?”
Mr Kanchan Gupta on Woman’s reservation
“What a tragedy that our political leaders are so paralysed by political correctness that not one of them has the courage to stand up in public and admit that the Women’s Reservation Bill needs to be tossed into the garbage bin.”
Ms Tavleen Singh in
As women move ahead, men are left gasping
There has been a wave of rumbling in Parliament lately — mainly from male politicians. They are extremely unhappy with the Women's Reservation Bill that will be tabled in Parliament today. Women don't find this surprising since they know, given an opportunity, they excel and leave their male colleagues way behind.
The men grumble, "This will be an entry route for wives and daughters of politicians." Well, if a son can take his father's seat, what's wrong if the daughter or wife does?
Take a look at women who have fought against the odds and made a mark for themselves.
Why such a hue and cry
It's ironical that such a hue and cry is being made regarding the women's reservation bill. Would there be such a commotion if the bill had some- thing to do with making life easier for men? Being born into a political family helps in terms of visibility. But that did not make it any easier for me when it came to the every- day challenges involved in a full time political career.
I started my political career from scratch — a woman has to work 10 times as hard compared to her male counter- parts to prove a point to society."
Naidu's snub didn't pin her down
JAYA PRADA, MP
When Jaya Prada became an MP representing the Telugu Desam Party, people sniggered and said she was "Chandrababu Naidu's favourite girl."
But Jaya Prada proved everyone wrong. She did not give up even MP representing the Telugu Desam Party, people sniggered and said she was "Chandrababu Naidu's favourite girl." But Jaya Prada proved everyone wrong. She did not give up even after being snubbed by Naidu. Instead, she joined the Samajwadi Party and won elections twice in Uttar Pradesh, which is not even her hometown.
Jaya Prada says the path of women politicians is a tough one. "Be in arts, entertainment, politics, the road to success for a woman is tough. But when given the opportunity, women have proved they are no less." She is single today, has separated from husband Srikant Nahta, has no family support, yet nothing holds her back.
Guddi is a fighter.
Her husband Amitabh H Bachchan, a super hero, could not settle down in political life. He decided to quit after the first signs of criticism and vowed never to go back. Now compare him to wife Jaya. She is a fighter. She has never held back in speaking her mind. Jaya is ever ready to take on the Gandhi family and even the likes of Raj Thackeray. She is no quitter.
A woman's world
In India, women rule. Look at our role models - President of the country, Pratibha Patil. Sonia Gandhi, President of the ruling party who can make unruly politicians shiver with just a glance. With her leadership qualities and grace, she controls a largely male-dominated environment with a few words where poor CM Rosaiah has a hard time controlling the local Congressmen.
With the International Women's Day completing 100 years, women in India have made giant strides and it is the triumph of women that they have excelled in every sphere.
India Inc. is changing. Daughters are inheriting their fathers' businesses and being groomed to take charge -Roshni Nadar, daughter of Shiv Nadar taking over as CEO of HCL Corp and Preetha Reddy taking charge of Apollo hospitals once her dad retires. Tanya Godrej Dubash, Sulajja Firodia -- daughters who have donned the mantle.
Wives have moved beyond trophy value too. Mukesh Ambani never fails to credit his wife Neeta -- who runs the Dhirubhai Ambani International School -- for her strategic thinking and unstinted support while Anil's wife Tina has developed a state-of-the-art hospital in Mumbai's suburbs.
And mother Kokila Ambani played fair matriarch to her warring sons and ensured that the Ambani empire was split equally between both brothers, thereby preventing a crisis in the stock market. The finance sector -- a male bastion the world over -- has women like Naina Lal Kidwai, the first Indian woman to graduate from Harvard Business School and now CEO of HSBC in India; Chanda Kochchar -- CEO of ICICI, one of India's fastest growing private banks -- our heroes are all around us. While countries such as the uber progressive United States are still to break the glass ceiling, India did it years ago. We had a woma prime minister decades ago and Hillary is still to break that invisible barrier.
Now, everywhere there are signs of men wanting to be like us women.
Attention to personal grooming with a spurt of fairness creams and moisturisers for men. Changing nappies, whipping up a meal, looking after the house -- men emulate women in all spheres. But can they remember to feed the baby, not burn the gravy and talk business on the phone -- simultaneously? I doubt it.
While steadily achieving all that we are capable of, women haven't become like men. We still love our saris, our lipsticks and perfumes and yes, we still juggle career, family and motherhood better than ever!
She has triumphed as the SUPERWOMAN! –