Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Women's Reservation Bill

Welcome back Earthlings!
After a grand gap of 4 months, I am back! All I can say is I really needed a good long break, and now I feel ready to get some real work started.
A lot has passed since I was last here and I am not exactly in the mood to procrastinate over what is already past. So, this is the perfect time to look towards the future or more exactly, what we are headed towards or also what is coming at us.
There are two things that have grabbed all my attention at this time - the recently passed Education Bill, and more importantly - the pending Women's Reservation Bill.
Although I am extremely happy about the Education Bill and the effects that it's already begun to show, I am more concerned about the "pending" status of the Women's Reservation Bill (WRB). There is a lot of bills are are pending in either houses of Parliament, however, the sheer opposition faced by this particular bill is what makes it most enthralling.
Let' start at the basics. For the uninitiated, here is the lowdown on what exactly we are talking about here. The WRB was originally conceived by the Late Rajiv Gandhi and was first intro ducted in the Parliament in 1996 under I.K. Gujral. The Bill has provisions for 33.3% Woman's Reservation in Parliament and each level of legislation. It is a simple and beautiful idea. It just ensures a greater and more legible female participation in legislative and governmental circles. What can be wrong with that?
Point to be noted : For about 13 years now, every time the said Bill is presented in the Parliament, amongst huge uproars it has never been approved. In fact, this time around when Dr.Manmohan Singh suggested bringing the Bill back, one of the Lok Sabha members retorted by saying he would rather consume poison than let this bill pass. When we hear such strong statements being passed, one might wonder if there is actually something wrong within the Bill that is needs to be opposed so strongly.
Fact : The rule is applicable and existent at the Gram Panchayat level and is known to be running successfully. It has been helpful in liberating women throughout our villages. So far there seems to be nothing wrong with this bill. Nothing whatsoever.
Moving from the bird's eye view let's now descend upon the issue in further detail. In fact let's get into some statistics. At the present, our Lok Sabha has 545 seats. We can say approximately 500 of these are currently "male dominated". Looking at these figures it is clear that these 500 would obviously have a problem they are reduced to about 363. In the event the numbers go down, Darwin's law of "Survival of the Fittest"comes in action. That would mean, the not-so-worthy-about-137-something might not make it to the LS the next time around.
That also means more and more women will feel comfortable to step out and take up the bastion towards a better future of India Inc. Given that the President of India, President of Congress, Speaker of Lok Sabha, and Chief Ministers of several different states are women - I am still looking for the disconnect in letting women lead the way.
While I am really hoping (along with Dr. Manmohan Singh and Sonia & Rahul Gandhi) that the Bill will finally come into action and liberate our leading ladies, I feel a certain pity for all those who oppose it's passing. These are exactly the kind of selfish people who have been pulling us down, holding us back from taking India forward. And they feel no guilt in doing that either!
I believe the problem is more mental than constitutional. Our political netas have pulled us back long enough to have forgotten what is really right. It's now the time to right the wrongs. For most men, women are only made for the household - for such men a women leading from the front is unimaginable. It is the time they are reminded of Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Edith Cresson, Kim Campbell, Angela Merkel, Sirimavo Bandaranaike - and these are just within the last 60-70 years. If you look back, history it is full of women leading from the front.
It's high time our petty politicians stop their petty "reservation" politics and stop being hypocrites!
Here is a brilliant-stroke-of-genius-idea! All institutions - governmental or otherwise should have a fixed 40% reservation for woman. No other reservations to be provided - whatsoever. Entry for men will be top 60% of the applicants. If you are good enough, you can be accepted. That way - you have a reservation & India gains most of it all!