Cry my sisters-it is our stories-Not Her’s

March 10, 2010 at 8:39 am 6 comments

Musings of a woman on Women’s Day
It was shocking for a few women when I told them that I am not for the 33percent reservation of women in Parliament. Knowing my firm stand on woman’s issue this came as a shock to them. Not only today on those Women’s Day right down from 1996 when as a speaker/chief guest I have addressed meetings. I used to be wary to broach the topic but when questioned I had to be truthful. I knew that it was unpalatable to most of the women audience.
What are my reasons?
1. What is so sanctimonious about the figure 33%?This is not the subsidy given by banks for the SCs and OBCs under the IRDP.I just cannot comprehend how the politicians who consider themselves champions of women’s empowerment picked up the 33percent.What is the logic? Why not 50%.Does it mean women representation in Parliament will be capped at 33percent? Till how long? Then will there be a need to bring in another amendment to remove that? If one is to go by gender breakup, women form more than 50 percent of the population.
2. How can Parliament be bend on making Unconstitutional matters constitutional
by three fourth of the members voting for it. So if a day comes when ¾ of the members vote the Constitution as unconstitutional will it become valid?.
It is clearly stated that discrimination on the basis of gender is unconstitutional so what are these so called champions of women voicing and voting for-something that the Founding Fathers put in black and white-Equality –irrespective of gender and religion. Religious equality has gone under the carpet with the Ministry of Minority affairs sitting over a budget and with a PM stating that Muslims have the first claims to development and its resources.
3. Does more women in Parliament mean more power to women? Does it
proportionately increase the empowerment of women on the streets-the working women, those who today are struggling with a hand to mouth existence So what does an increase of 33 percent of women MPs mean? There are 61
women MPs in Parliament today. We hardly hear them take part in meaningful debates-Except for Brinda Karat, Mamta and Sushma Suraj. Even Mrs Sonia Gandhi sits like a sphinx in the front row. Twice MP like Priya Dutt has not opened her mouth in Parliament. So more women in Parliament means -more debates-more issues of women will be raised and aspirations of women and their empowerment will be handed over on a platter?
4. Empowerment does not flow from above-Not that empowerment of the ordinary
women will not take place. It will, but this will be a block. Strange it may sound but an incisive analysis will prove. The elite women are the ones who will make it to the Parliament at this point of time. Those with political clout and with money Even today right from the President of India, to the Speaker power has come to them through their fathers .Every single case except a couple of MPs fall in this category. Will the 33% not be a repeat of this?
5. Not even developed countries where women have more empowerment have this
kind of a perception to link empowerment of women to their representation in Parliament.
6. By achieving this 33% a false sheen is given to the women in India-Still slogging
away at half the wages of men, and suffering from economic dependency, still
oppressed by dowry, discriminated, still unwanted and hence rampant female
feticide and infanticide, still unsafe in their work places et al
7. Personhood of woman in India is not even recognized. Hence in all the
governmental forms the mother’s name as parent does not suffice. The father’s
alone gives legitimacy. Even for an adult woman either her father’s name and or
husband’s name is a must. All these are indicators that a woman cannot and is not
perceived as a person-independent. She stands as a daughter of so and so and a wife of so and so and a mother of so and so that brings and defines her status.
8. Here comes a legislation to complete that dependency syndrome-she needs to be
cocooned in a ‘Reserved’constituency-a safe place to move up to. It must be
borne in mind that Reservation business has not be the solution-it continues
making people backward and more backward and dependent. Now the women
will be caught in the same net.
9 It is an exploitation of women because in the World Development index such a
33% women MPs will push India higher than most of the developed countries-
which is contrary to the ground reality .It is in no way a reflection of the ground
reality and hence women are being used to boost the ego of the most powerful
woman as though under her patronage Indian women have been empowered.
This is a complete faked up, morphed picture of the whole empowerment struggle of women in India
.10 A plea to the media-both electronic and print-spare the women from your sound
bytes and write-ups on how women have achieved empowerment through this legislation. It is a farce and a regression. No empowerment can take place in reservations and certainly not in the magic number of 33%. It will be like pouring oil in burning fire.
11. When Mrs Sonia Gandhi supported the rise in fuel price she hit hard at the women and with one body blow put her down With the PM –the great economist stating that a rise in fuel price will not necessarily increase the index of food he was taking an anti-woman stand. Because it they who grapple with the cooking the food for the family. And because till date the majority of the women eat the last in the family and that what is left .Does the PM and Mrs Sonia Gandhi realize how the majority women cannot afford ordinary food grains-dals, cooking oil, vegetables and here are our honorable the MPs taking of empowerment of women through the 33 percent reservation. They are even unable to perceive the aspirations of the ordinary women-to feed their children, to meet their everyday needs, and their other survival inputs. Who sits in Parliament and how many sit is not the proposition. But how many have the empathy, the understanding the courage to stand by them is the question

12. Mrs Sonia Gandhi is not affected by the fuel price because she does not have a car-all cars are at her disposal for nothing. How the fuel price has a cascading effect on everything. Today be it the vegetable vendor, the provision shopkeeper when asked why the prices are steadily increasing the fingers are pointed at the budget. Women are struggling to keep the fires at the hearth burning- and those who sit in ivory towers think that accommodating more women in the ivory tower is EMPOWERMENT. Poor Indian women.-cry my sisters for this great drama of deception. Dr Mrs Hilda Raja

PS.-The reservation of 33 percent has been passed in the Rajya Sabha.It is not Her story it is the story of women been told that they are weak and will never be able to even simulate a show of presence without a special queue for them. So the women’s queue is set up and through that women will line up to the Parliament and according to the Congress and those who support it will take part in the decision making of this country. One needs to pause and assess why the parties which were so vcoal have no women in their decision making-Take the CPM-just one woman in the Polit-buro What prevented Brinda Karat and her likes from giving women a chance in the decision making of their party affairs.In giving them tickets to fight the elections. Why should they want Parliament to pass such a bill? Can they not lead by doing it themselves through and in their respective political parties?
A simple question is- are the women MPs taking part in the decision making of the country. Is it not a paradox that in countries where women have no power were/are headed by women-be it Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India.
It is all the way a Mrs SoniaGandhi’s empowerment of women’s strategy. Even she is not empowered but for the Nehru-Gandhi family. Take away that tag and she is disempowered. This is reality. Instead of allowing women to struggle their way up in one stroke it has put down women-patronizing them and clearly reflecting the patriarchy values. Mrs Sonia Gandhi must realize that the Congress is a minority government and not beat her chest and proclaim in every sentence the I’ that ‘I am happy,I am relieved etc This is Rajivji’s dream’. Should women be empowered because it is Rajiv Gandhi’s dream. Can they not even have their own dreams.Or have they no dreams-or are they not allowed even in dreams to seek empowerment? Even that Mrs Sonia Gandhi wants to deprive them of and calls it a man’s dream. Shame on her and her party for exploiting the vulnerable and gullible masses. This is no achievement of hers –she has put the empowerment process in reverse and as all her actions become an expert puppeteer skilled in pulling strings and making the rest puppets-for empowerment is not Her story-it must become Our stories…..We cannot become feathers in her cap as she is stating that the President-the Speaker are women-thanks to her-we are women and not prepared to become feathers to adorn the her cap.
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja

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leter to the editor-in-chief of The Hindu on 33% reservation-reply to my former student Geetha

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rummuser  |  March 10, 2010 at 2:47 pm


    • 2. Dr Mrs Hilda Raja  |  March 10, 2010 at 4:50 pm

      Bravo for what-for the 33percent or for our stories!Thank you.HR

  • 3. Sita  |  March 11, 2010 at 7:06 am

    This 33% reservation is just an eyewash technique by UPA so that more serious issues like the Budget or Railway Budget won’t be debated on.
    If we are half the population then why should we get only 33%
    Reservation is a crutch that makes the resrved community totally dependent on the State.Any way,it would only serve to make women mouthpieces of their handlers than any other thing.
    I am glad you brought out the question of forms.It is so.infact according to School Administrations we mothers are not Parents of our child but only guardians.can it get more pathetic than that.
    Also ,as you mentioned Passports and Banks,would not let us operate on our own[at least the initial opening of account.
    The schemes brought by the Govt.are merely sops not real .
    On the whole ,they are creating further divisions in our country,first by language,then by caste,third by caste and fourth by religion and now by gender.
    May God Help us.

  • 4. Shankar  |  March 11, 2010 at 8:31 am

    M’m ,
    Hats off to you once again for another incisive, precise, objective analysis of this so called women’s empowerment bill.
    If women had wanted to seriously consider politics as a carreer option, they would have done so without any “reservation “(pun intended). They do not want to enter politics because of the depths to which our country’s politics and the politicians have degenerated -what with innuendos,character assassinations etc being showered on a handful of successful politicians for thier success not taking considering their merits in an objective way.
    The few who could make it despite this situation are the wives/ daughters/daughters in law/ nieces of hard core poiticians that too from the ruling elite class. One symbolic Meira Kumar or a Mayawati may not reflect the true position of the backward class women in our country to day.
    As you have rightly said, it is to boost the ego of the ruling party leader that such a legislation which has been going around like a football all these 14 years has been passed in the Rajya Sabha. The yadav Troika and other mandal champions will not allow this in the more important Lok Sabha. The ruling party also knows it and they can always take credit and also later explain why they could not do it for want of consensus. Double whammy for them!
    Let the political parties first give 33% tickets to women in the next election , let the ruling party allot 33% ministry to women at least, let them protect at least 33% of the working women from being sexually harrassed every other day in their work place, let them put behind bars at least 33% of the rapists , let them do away with all the gender related questions in the various govt forms and formalities and then we can say there is some semblance of empowerment for women.
    Keep your crusade going madam!

    • 5. Dr Mrs Hilda Raja  |  March 11, 2010 at 11:23 am

      We are going to have a lot of problems-first it is lottery/rotating system.So if I stand in Constutency A after 5 years this A will not be a reserved constitutency-so my term is fixed for 5 years-similarly all the other Reserved constituencies.In 5 years time what can I achieve-I will make some money but will not even develop /nurse the constitutency because I will not go back to them for votes…The reserved constutencies may not have women-as you said who are prepared-so that results in unprepared women being pushed into politics by the males to exploit them.Where wil experince go.To learn the Parliamentary rules and regulations it needs time-and years why will I be bothered when I know that I can take it easy for 5 years and then pack up and leave.Imagine a Parliament which had giants and stalwards being turned into a mire-a pot purrie…This is called empowerment.It is a simulation and shadow boxing with a circus -an all show entertainment for the puppeteer to pull strings.If a whip is issued-the women will simply vote-there is no need for a whip even.This is another sort fo exploitation of the worse order-we have social discrimination,economic oppression and now political exploitation-all complete.Numbers do not mean empowerment and presence does not mean participation in the political affairs of the country.The powerful votaries of this Bill like Brinda Karat is the only woman in the CPM politburo.Why have they not selected more women -similarly Jayanthi Natarajan does not have a say in the affairs of the Congress and she was shouting herself hoarse stating that now women will have a say in the political affairs of their country.It is better to have men who understand the problems of all than women who do not understand the prolems if men/women.This is why I captioned it as Cry my sisters.It is Sonia Gandhi’s bill all the way-she wants to be projected globally as the one woman who empowered Indian women..Thank you for your comments they are very useful inputs.
      Hilda Raja

  • 6. Sita  |  March 12, 2010 at 4:20 am

    Nobody in the media has analysed this issue with as much Depth. we must circulate this ,too,to all the Media,both News Papers and Electronic.As you say it is going to be another instrument of oppression rather than Empowerment under which garb this bill is Touted.As Shankar says Sonia seems to have the Last Laugh on this.


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