Posts Tagged ‘Sharad Yadav’

CHURUMURI POLL: Caste in the census, or not?

26 May 2010

The Union cabinet meets this evening to decide on including a column on “caste” in the 2011 censu, a move seen as a tacit quid pro quo for the support of the the OBC leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Sharad Yadav for their support in getting the cut motion passed in Parliament.

On the one hand, the Cabinet is said to have been divided on the caste issue when it was first raised following the announcement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the floor or Parliament.  On the other hand, the main opposition party, the BJP, which seemed to be in favour of the decision intially, is having second thoughts, too.

With sage voices within the RSS expressing themselves against any move to classify people on caste lines which will deal a blow to social harmony and, don’t laugh, “nullify all efforts of RSS and social organisations to bring about social harmoney”, the battle lines are drawn.

Question: Should the caste census go ahead or not?

Also read: Anybody Dalit in the media and speaks English?

Ramayana, Mahabharatha and the Women’s Bill

19 March 2010

Union law minister Veerappa Moily while receiving an award for his five-volume Shri Ramayan Mahanveshanam, yesterday:

“It is instances like Sita‘s fire ordeal which firmed our resolve for the women’s reservation bill.”

“In Sita’s ‘fire ordeal’, Ravan‘s wife, Mandodari, talks to Sita: “Are you not satisfied with the fiery ordeal of life we have tolerated and endured as women till now? Only a man of the epoch can put an end to women’s ordeal.”

Moily did not of course reveal who the “man of the epoch” was on 9 March 2009. Was it him, who moved the bill? Was it P. Chidambaram, who is rumoured to have said the dissenting MPs must be marshalled out?

Or, was it you-know-who?

Meanwhile, the veteran editor T.J.S. George too adds a touch of the mythological to decipher modern-day male chauvinism.

***

By T.J.S. GEORGE

Draupadi had five husbands, each with unsurpassed capabilities. None of them came to her rescue when she was dragged into the royal court for disrobing.

The political Yadavs of our time seem to have taken a self-serving lesson from this episode and resolved that women are unworthy of protection, let alone promotion. Either that or they have forgotten the double curse—pronounced by Gandhari, and then by Viswamitra, Kanva and Narada—that the Yadava race would destroy itself.

Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav and Sharad Yadav have already reduced their parties to tottering relics. Their opposition to the women’s reservation bill and, worse, the hooliganism of their men in the Rajya Sabha betrayed a 19th century mindset.

The hooligans brought such shame to the country that they would be better off under the waters that swallowed up Dwaraka.

But what do we see beyond the fossils of Yadu Kula?

Two realities are clearly visible. The first is the politics of the bill. The Yadavas talking about Muslim women’s quota is a desperate move to regain some of the Muslim support they have lost. Mamata Banerjee”s visceral hatred of Bengal communists made her an odd woman against women.

The Congress also put its internal politics on display. Singularly lukewarm about the bill on Day 1, it suddenly became determined on Day 2. In the Congress nothing happens until partymen know what Soniaji wants and once the signal comes, nothing can stop them from carrying out her wishes.

A parliamentary system is unhealthy when it adheres to the letter of the Westminster model, without heeding the spirit of it.

The other reality that looms large is that the women’s bill, even if it crosses the obstacles in its path and finally becomes law, will have only symbolic value. It will not by itself give women the human rights they have been denied for ages. That will require social reform and no social reformers are anywhere in sight.

If and when 33 per cent seats in legislatures are reserved for women, around 30 per cent of that will likely go to wives, daughters, nieces and girlfriends of male politicians.

Lalu Prasad himself put his unlettered wife in the chief minister’s chair while Mulayam Singh could only find his daughter-in-law to contest a Lok Sabha seat. The Kanimozhis and Supriya Sules will multiply when reservations become law.

And what will happen when they sit as law-makers?

Will it mean an end to the killing of newborn girls in the villages of Tamil Nadu and Haryana?

Will it stop crimes against women which increased by 30-40 per cent in recent years as against 16 per cent increase in general crime?

Will it bring down dowry killings which doubled in the last decade?

Will it make a difference to one-third of married women in India being children below 18?

In one sense India has already led the way in women’s empowerment. Women occupy top positions in corporate houses, financial institutions and in the arts. They have reached these positions through merit, not the favour of reservations. This will continue, making India an exemplar of women’s advancement.

But it will be foolish to close our eyes to the social debris that has collected over the centuries.

The tendency to treat women as beasts of burden is all too prevalent. Inside a family, discrimination is carried to the extent of feeding sons properly while daughters are kept on starvation diet. This has led to half the married women in India being anaemic.

The largest number of illiterate women is also in India—200 million. It’s all very well for Sushma Swaraj and Brinda Karat to forget ideologies and perform a celebratory embrace. But what about India’s social reality? Yaduvamsha still has a grip on that reality.

Also read: Goodbye democracy, say hello to Quotocracy

CHURUMURI POLL: Sonia Gandhi, smarter than Indira?

‘Women’s bill will only increase State’s power’

CHURUMURI POLL: Impact of women’s bill?

A fitness regime for the moral police by remote

30 July 2009

The licence-quota-permit raj may have been consigned to the dustbin (at least in theory), but Victorian regulation runs deep in the Indian psyche, especially when it comes to the media: films, television, newspapers, books, art.

Don’t like M.F. Husain‘s painting? Just hound him out.

Don’t like a newspaper report? Smash the skulls out.

Don’t like a scholar’s biography? Burn down the library.

Don’t like a journalist’s views? Ransack his house.

Don’t like a scholar’s opinion? File a criminal case.

Don’t like Savita Bhabhi‘s advances? Just get it banned.

Don’t like Balika Vadhu. Sharad Yadav will take up your cause.

And so on and on.

All last week, the honourable members of the Parliament of India, having solved all the problems facing this large and great country—hunger, poverty, malnutrition, disease, deprivation, illiteracy, violence, corruption—were frothing at the mouth about Sach ka samna, an execrable television show out of the Rupert Murdoch stable.

Yesterday, a division bench of the Delhi High Court comprising chief justice A.P. Shah and Justice Manmohan delivered the moral police—the only police force which has no trouble finding new recruits—a stinging lesson in life and liberty.

***

“In this land of Gandhi, it appears that nobody follows Gandhi… Follow the Gandhian principle of ‘see no evil’. Why do you not simply switch off the TV?

“We have very good advice for you. You have got two judges sitting here who do not watch TV at all. It will certainly help. Individual ideas of morality are not the business of the court. We are not sitting here for moral policing… You approach the Parliament and get the remedy.

“The courts cannot be expected to deal with issues that involve different individual perceptions.”

“Our culture is no so fragile that it will be affected by one TV show. Moreover, nobody in his individual capacity can be allowed to take upon the social order and ask for directions.

“You are asking us to entertain an area which deals with perceptions and opinions. Further, morality yardsticks are to be decided by the government. We cannot decide the issue. We are not sure whether the show has brought out the truth of many people but it is certain that it has brought out the hypocrisy of various ministers and parliamentarians.”

Image: courtesy Savita Bhabhi

Also read: In the name of Bhagwan, All, Christ…

A nice picture for Sharad Yadav’s personal album

5 June 2009

Defeat does different things to different people, but the use of death as a metaphor is revealing of a retrograde mindset unwilling to concede, comprehend or come to terms.

# In 2006, after the NDA had been surprised by the UPA, the BJP leader Sushma Swaraj vowed not to wear coloured clothes, threatened to shave her head, sleep on the ground and eat groundnuts (while also presumably wiping off her extra-large bindi, breaking her bangles and removing her mangal sutra) if the Italian-born Sonia Gandhi became prime minister.

Thankfully, an “inner voice” spared us the gruesome sight, but somehow the election of Ms Gandhi as the chairperson  of the ruling UPA, didn’t prompt Ms Swaraj, the newly elected deputy leader of the BJP in the Lok Sabha, from wanting to carry out her threat even partially.

But the more things change, the less politicians learn.

India has elected its first woman President, Pratibha Patil. India has elected its first woman speaker of the Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar. And the highest number of women (59) have been elected to this, the 15th Lok Sabha, in post-independent India.

# Yet, Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav has threatened to commit suicide by consuming poison if the women’s reservation is passed in its current form. “We may not have the numbers but I will consume poison and die here but not allow the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill.”

Mr Yadav is the convenor of the BJP-led National Demcoratic Alliance (NDA), or what remains of it as of now, and he is of course entitled to his opinion.

Obviously, the caveat “in its current form” has a built-in escape clause, but if the BJP or the NDA or both plan to do some chintak on why only 18.8 people out of 100 in an 80 per cent Hindu nation do not trust them to hand them the reins of the nation, maybe they should start by wondering why they are so unappealing to one-half of the population?

Photograph: courtesy iss.net

Also read: One question I’m dying to ask Sushma Swaraj


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