11 March 2010

Of Reservations & Functionalities

This article was inspired by a quote in the TOI: pg. 18, March 10th.

"If... [they] think that the women would vote independent.... then they are mistaken...If I asked Rabri Devi to vote a certain way, do you think she would do otherwise?"
- Rashtriya Janata Dal President
Lalu Prasad voicing his opposition to the women's reservation Bill.

As much as it hurts me to say this, I have to agree with Lalu. On paper, the 33% reservation for women is a great idea, a great thought, a big move towards the emancipation of women. But we are a country that looks great on paper, we have reservations for the backward and disadvantaged, we have a creamy layer of intelligentsia, a competitive market of entertainers, a buoyant economy, a literate society, an active electorate and to top it off, a world class cricket team.

We've got it going and it's going strong. But reading a day's worth of news, even a day later, saturates the truth about us. We can have rubbish bins at the corner of every street, but if no one has the civic sense to put the trash in the bin, they are useless. We can have the reservation of seats, no problemo, but if we don't have women who truly represent, in ideas, thoughts and actions their unique, independent scent, the scent of a woman, then their representation is meaningless.

All we will be left
with, will be a change in the gender of the names the papers write when they write bad news. When they write controversies, write of affairs, ill treatment of the ex chequer, siphoning of the tax payers money into family trips and temple undis.

It was said, sometime in the past that the Maharaja of Kohlapur had a dream. That he would introduce the reservation to bring forward the backward classes. That was in 1902. The aim was to provide education.

Today, we have those reservations in place, and we are educating the young, once again in paper. But we have this binary of children- those that attend school bare backed, bare stomached to find food versus children who go to school, bags and lunch boxes filled to the brim. When they graduate, one gets to be the owner of the house and the other gets to clean it. Where's the quality of life, that was promised to people of the past?

The frustration here, is the fact that we've got it wrong, we're doing it wrong, we know about it and yet we keep doing it. Once again, let's start another reservation, in the name of eliminating gender inequality, let's make the fairer sex more equal. Let's eliminate the caste system, by reminding everyone of the difference between one caste and another, every time they apply for a place in a school, a job in an institution, go to parliament etc.

And what, can I ask, does the common man/woman get out of all this at the end of the day? A sense of Independence, of being one with God, of being in the Movies, of pretending they like pasta more than thosa, of being anywhere but here, in India.

We are a deluded, ethereal, dreamy society. We need to start stating things the as they are. We need to start learning how to collect the rubbish, move it to a different place, get rid of it. And stop mulling over the rubbish we threw out.

We can keep introducing new laws, regulations, reservations etc. But we need to finish them as well. You say women will get more representation, but assign a deadline to it. Say it'll take twenty years. And after that, let's cut them back. Roll them back. Throw them out. Focus on newer things.

I'm sorry to say if the debate were over design versus functionality, we just seem to opt for the design ALL the time. We need to start asking, what good is a three legged chair, even if it looks damn good.


Sowmya said...

Agree with you.

If women like Rabri Devi are going to occupy the 33%, and follow instructions of their husbands(who would be politicians too) then God save this country!

'A hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world'. We need such hands...women eho have not lost the essence of womanhood....to see any difference in the system.

Mural! said...

Well said, us indians like to keep the home clean by throwing the dirt just outside, we never seem to care that the road leading to the home is just as important to keep clean.......

We take up all kinds of programmes to wow the world, but never seem intent on implementing them........this has become so commonplace that most of the people too have become lethargic to the governmental schemes, the prompt reply being, "We don't think the benefits will reach to us", so let them introduce the women's bill, its just another scheme for the common man, but why make so much noise about it? as if it is akin to the coming of the dear lord himself!

Adi said...

Another ambiguous topic this one. Can you please delve into the figures and the problems the bill lacks.

For example, opposing leaders claim that there should be a reservation in the women's reservation for Muslims and backward classes. A little more in depth as to the election procedure and the rotation in assemblies pertaining to the bill will make a more interesting discussion.

Also, what do you suggest should be done to increase the participation of women in politics? Looking forward for another detailed article that can be simplified for readers like me :-)

Saro said...

Sowmya: Yea,it's one thing to be discriminated. Another thing to be taken of advantage of huh.

Murali: I agree, I've been watching the news more closely, since reading your piece and yes, it is like the second coming of christ. But our media is becoming increasingly circus like, bad journalism.

Adi: Very honestly, when it comes to the rotation of assemblies and the inner workings of the government,I know zilch.

To increase the participation of women in politics and for so many other things, what I'd suggest is education. Improve the quality, the standard and that will, automatically change everything else that is wrong that prevents women from being a part of the political world.

hitesh rawat said...

i agree with the rolling back thing....like with the reservation for SC's and ST's
But that should only be done....when we know the people intended to get the benefits are getting them....we have straighten up the system to work everything out....

providing reservations is a good thing.....there are people who need it....i mean yea, reservation won't help all the 100% of intended people....but even if it helps to bring up those few women who will make changes then is worth it.....
next generation needs ideals to follow and this reservation can help those ideals to come up ....

i feel now a days women are independent....though may not be in huge amount but they are in substantial amount.....i like Mayawati for that sake....she won the UP election on her own.....she has this Hitler kind of occupancy on UP. She is the head of India's largest and said to be most powerful state.....she is even standing up against the Congress all on her own......though she is not doing everything the perfect way...she is corrupt....from our POV which may not be her perception........but she is an modern Indian powerful women...who is taking decision on her own....and not driven by somebody else.........

nice post.......won't say i totally agreed....but i did agree for a small a portion

Saro said...

Adi: The long promised post will come soon

Hitesh: thank you for your honesty. I guess there are two sides to every coin, I believe this was a reaction as opposed to a stand alone piece on the way things were being put across in the media. Also, apoligies for the delay, we've had a hectic bunch of weeks at work, family and friends.