June 15, 2007

Empowering women

The lot of women in India was not a very good one till the recent past. There was a clear bias for the male child, and people would go to the extent of determining the sex of the baby well in advance and go in for medical termination of pregnancy if it were a girl. Though I would like to say that this is a thing of the past, and does not happen any more, the skewed sex ratio in many towns and villages of India tells a different story.

Even now, I have observed, many people, to be disappointed on the birth of a girl child. But I can’t see any reason why that should be the case. Earlier when there were a lot of restrictions on women and they were exploited in many ways, a parent’s wish for a male child could be understood - though not justified by any stretch of the imagination.

But recently things have changed and there are almost equal opportunities for both sexes in India. So, this bias for a male-child can only be understood as a remnant of a thought that has prevailed in the society for more than a thousand years.

As a next step in this process of change, India might have her first women President in the form of Pratibha Patil. Though India has had a very strong woman Prime Minister (Indira Gandhi) before and there are many states with women at the helm of affairs, yet there has been no woman as the first Citizen of India, but that might change soon. Though the Indian President is mostly playing the role of a rubber stamp and the real executive powers lie with the Prime Minister, yet this will be a historic event, if it happens.

What is a little funny here is the fact that the Hindi word for “President” is “RashtraPati”, which literally means “Husband of the nation”. Now it will be interesting to see if they call a female President “RashtraPatni” –“Wife of the nation”. I seriously hope not.

5 comments:

new illuminati said...

Hi Neo - the freedom and equality of women is what it will take to move the world into a healthy new millennium.
We know from innumerable examples that women's freedom brings about stabilised populations and more intelligent, healthy children and men as well.
Or patriarchy and class systems can continue to rot all human and humanitarian values from within.
We - man and women - need each othewr to be equally wise, well educated and free.
Our children need it even more.
Kiss someone on the street today and wake the moribund and salaciously 'prudent' from the lies of lives they force all others to lead.
to be really scandalised, of course, read http://www.blogcharm.com/newilluminati and see how the other (enlightened) half a percent live
Thanks for this post!

AC said...

In the case of Mrs Pratibha Patil, it is rather unfortunate that she is very widely seen as
a. A rubber stamp of the ruling party
b. A compromise candidate, nowhere near the first choices (all men, by the way) for any of the parties involved, chosen for the sake of consensus.

Also, there are rumblings that she was chosen because
a. Others opposed to her candidature can't be too vocal about it for fear of being branded anti-women
b. She is from the same community as her nearest challenger for the post, and would therefore help garner votes that he would otherwise have done.

This is a sad case of a respected and exalted Office being reduced to a tool for petty politics.

Blue Panther said...

New Illuminati: It is true that we - men and women- need each other and should treat ecah other with the love and respect that each one of us deserves.

AC:
This is a sad case of a respected and exalted Office being reduced to a tool for petty politics.

I will agree with you when you say that, but what I can't help feeling is that in her case this might turn out to be true.

stev said...

I chuckled at the “RashtraPati” and “RashtraPatni” bit :D

hmm. briefly what's the difference between president vs prime minister in India role-wise again?

Blue Panther said...

Stev:In brief, the Prime Minister is the executive authority while the President is the rubber stamp which is needed to approve the decisons made by the Prime Minister and his cabinet.

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