"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.