For days now the country has been talking about nothing but the women's bill.The bill has been an issue of heated debate for nearly 14 years now and has finally(FINALLY) been passed.For those who do not know of it,the women's bill reserves 33% of seats in the Indian parliament for women alone.some salient features of the bill are:-
1.The bill seeks to reserve, as nearly as possible, one-third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies
2.As nearly as possible, one third of the total number of seats reserved for Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) in the Lok Sabha and the legislative assemblies shall be reserved for SC/ST women.
3.Reservation of seats for women shall cease to exist 15 years after the commencement of the Act.
4.(Actual) Reserved seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in the state or union territory.
On the surface,this seems like a good move.A country where women have been ill treated for ages because of superstitious beliefs,patriarchal culture or simply sado-misogynistic mindsets,such a step appears to be a huge leap forward.The bill puts a lot of power in the hands of women,its apparently a symbol of how the "times they are a'changing",it shows how modern our country is becoming,it represents a certain breaking of barriers and it gives a majority of the womenfolk hope that things will be better for them henceforth.
My question is,how does a reservation do any of these things?Since the bill was back as a dining table discussion,I (with the risk of sounding melodramatic) have been in a constant state of conflict with me.I am a woman.Here's a step that could do me good.Here's a move that's giving me an opportunity to do something for my country.Here's an action that could eventually help me better the lives of Indian women.It is to my advantage.I should be happy. Right? But the (wannabe) feminist in me says a loud and clear "WRONG".I love my country.I hate what happens to Indian women.I want to make a difference.But I want to make it on my OWN terms.I want to make it with my OWN abilities.not with the Government gifted compensation!
As a woman I feel I am losing by right to dignity by gaining my right to enter the parliament through reservation.Henceforth,nothing we do will be credited to us,our abilities,our merits.It shall always be the Government who will be responsible in making me.Men shall grumble how we women have it easy and we won’t be able to refute it.we shall always be known as the "weaker sex", the "privileged class" and we won't be able to refute it.what purpose does it solve?there have been women in the parliament before,even if not in large numbers,and how has it helped?this reservation bill is not a symbol of our fight for rights.it is a symbol of our craving for comfort and luxury and i condemn it.
Politically speaking,How will the bill prevent the election of "proxies"?how will it cure larger issues of electoral reforms?how will it ensure gender EQUALITY?how does the government plan to divide the constituencies?The bill is a mess in every sense of the word.
The bill is nothing but a compensation for the years of abuse,torture and discrimination.nothing but a symbol of hope.nothing but a tool to increase vote banks.and the sooner we women realise that,the sooner we get REAL empowerment.