Friday, 13 January, 2012

How are women successful in Indian Politics

I have often wondered that in a country like India where women are still considered 2nd class citizens, crime against women is rampant and mostly goes unpunished, a girl child is a worry for her parents from the moment she is born, where it feels like society is deliberately trying to ensure that women don't break the shackles that they have been put into, how come the actual seat of power in the Indian government is a woman, the chief minister of the largest and electorally most significant state is a woman and the one holding the government to ransom from Bengal is a woman.

Our society will make it extremely hard for a woman have a modest career but will hand over the reins of the country to a woman. I have often wondered about this dichotomy. It happens in other subcontinent countries too. But since the Indian subcontinent countries are like cousins who grew up in the same household, this is hardly surprising. I read this great article by Sagarika Ghose in HT about women in political power in India. It was entertaining and thought provoking. She says " India’s women politicians cultivate a designer madness, a well thought out insanity, to force their presence and personality in the brutally male-dominated world of Indian politics". That's one way to look at it.

I think the entry of a woman in politics might be due to circumstances - logical consequence to the death a closely related male leader. The core group around the leader may have installed the woman as a puppet to pander to public sentiment and like Pinocchio, she came to life and started acting on own terms. Or it might be the fruit of a hard fought struggle for rights and power. But once they are in, I think the key is to downplay their gender as much as possible. They wear unassuming clothes, hardly if ever raise there voices for womens' issues and usually don't have a visibly significant husband/partner. If the people forget you are infact a woman, they will forget their bias and their opposition to women having power to live equally and freely. For the moment, I think this is how women succeed in Indian politics, but I hope one day it will be for their ability to lead and not because of or inspite of their gender.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.