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6 Apr 2010

The Great Indian Laughter Challenge

Posted by Oblivion in General | 12:05am

If we rank governments as regards compassion, ours should rank first. So that the citizens never get bored, it cracks jokes with amazing frequency. Laughing is good for health, so making people laugh is the best healthcare and compassionate gesture. The latest one came in the form of women's bill. Only, the joke is on women! And on us, the citizens, at large! As it always is, truth be told!

A historical move, they said on the idiot box. A few women anchors seek opinions and reactions from a few pretty young girls at some academic institution. "Women rock!" is the unanimous verdict. They giggle a lot, yell a lot, and think little. And the TV channel passes it as if they are the jury and they have just announced the judgment. It's quite likely that none of these would make it to mainstream politics in their lifetime. Besides, it's quite likely they may settle in a foreign country. And I can bet my money that most of them haven't spent even two minutes to think what the bill is all about. Look at it from whichever way, they are an inappropriate sample (for this issue) to represent the generation. It's the opinions of these that the news channel airs as the "voice of India's young women"! It's tough to decide whom to laugh at - the government? the media? the audience (you and me)?

When there has never been, in the first place, any restriction for women to participate in politics, what's the rationale to press for quota for them? Politics is serious business, and it's ridiculous to seek participation by invitation. That effects a new form of discrimination, doesn't it? - that against men. You may be the best man for the job, but the seat is meant for a woman! Are women incapable of getting elected without a law to push them along? It confounds me that women are thrilled at this move, when the message actually is - they are not as good as men and need the help of law to get political power!    

We had Indira Gandhi at the helm for many years. We have Sonia Gandhi, Pratibha Patil, and a bunch of women parliamentarians and legislators. So when the process doesn't have a bias against women, why this need for quota? Besides, the law is flawed for it assumes that if there are more women in parliament they will fight for women's rights more strongly! Assuming that the law is indeed meant to benefit women, which "women" are they exactly referring to? If the government is so very clear as to which women it wants to help and what kind of benefits it wants to provide to them, what is stopping it from doing it right away? If they really care for their upliftment and believe that this can be achieved only by having more women in parliament, why not mandate parties to nominate 30% women as their representatives? What stopped Sonia Gandhi to mandate her party to allocate 30% tickets to women? Why doesn't she push Priyanka into politics? Why Rahul Gandhi? Instead of mandating the parties, why mandate citizens to elect a certain percentage of women? She obviously didn't want to risk the ire of the male party representatives.

And whom do they want to uplift? The spouses and relations of the goons (read politicians) that we have now? After all, it will be them who will contest and win. And loot the country. The downtrodden, the oppressed, the poor women will never be given a chance. So, whom will it exactly benefit? There are, even now, many women who are working for the upliftment of the disadvantaged. But they will never be allowed to enter mainstream politics. If the government really cares, as it would have me believe, why doesn't it invite them right away and provide them with the requisite funds and infrastructure? What has government done to, say, Sunitha Krishnan who has been working for the exploited and marginalised women? Instead, a few of her colleagues have been eliminated! And she continues to receive threats.

The reference group for politicians is always an abstract one. They always talk about change happening "somewhere there". And the gullible buy it too. Change is always in reference to "the others". They always talk in terms of "we will help them". Nobody ever questions who exactly them are. 

Doesn't the government know where the poor live? Doesn't it know where prostitutes live? What stopped the government to rehabilitate, educate and employ the thousands of exploited women in, for example, a Sonagachi or a Kamatipura? What stops the government from doing so? Does it need more women parliamentarians to research, analyse and do a thesis in order to take action? Bullshit. The government makes a huge revenue from these spots and slums alike, so it will never touch them. Instead, it would want them to thrive. So the poor and the exploited would remain as they are. Affirmative action is just a political point-making in this country. Nothing more. 

If it really cares, why not improve the quality of education for women? Why not penalise parents who don't send their girl child to school? Why not execute those who commit female feoticide and infanticide? Why not encourage more women to become social entrepreneurs? Why not persuade women to think more independently? What is really required is a change in the culture of how men and women relate to each other. The problem is with attitudes and values. You cannot change these by passing laws. It's akin to a large company that razes hundreds of acres of forest for its survival and does a few CSR exercises to flaunt that it cares for the world! It works good for the feminist organisations as well. They need some situation or the other, else the funds will stop. And if there's no situation, they must create one. Nobody gives a damn to the poor, the exploited, and the disadvantaged. The few who do are pushed into the background.

India is a telling proof as to why democracy doesn't work for a large, diverse population. As a scholar noticed, "India's grotesque personality cult built around the Nehru-Gandhi family continues to make its people the laughingstocks of the world. Let's face it, the primitivist politics belying India's democratic facade shows the country's true face. The bill is a farce. It personifies the Congress government's impotent rule. If the government really wanted more Women participation there must have been a reservation for the weaker sections of the society. Now, bigger classes and upper castes will have the last laugh. The one time electable 1/3rd women will plunder the country in 5 years and waltz away overseas".

Arun Shourie sums up perfectly the current state of the country: "Now, mediocrity has become the norm. Intimidation has become argument, and assault has become proof. Because I can assault you therefore I am right".

They talked about liberalisation as if it was the panacea. It has been twenty years. Trade has certainly changed for the better. The rich have become richer, the successful have become more arrogant, and the powerful have become more ruthless. What else has changed? Of course a few crumbs were thrown at the poor, for that helps the PR chaps to project that the campaign has been immensely successful.  

A fitting quote: "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy".

The joke is on women. The joke is on us. I wonder when we will wake up!

1 Comments | "The Great Indian Laughter Challenge" »

  1. By Jai : Nice

    7 Apr 2010, 12:24am [ Reply ]

    Nice one though it was too big a blog to be read fully, dude.
    Check out Golf in Hyderabad

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