Friday, May 09, 2003
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Letters to the Editor
Sir, The ( Women's Bill ) has opened a Pandora's box with some political parties vociferously demanding sub-reservation for the OBC and other sections. In fact, there is no fundamental merit in the proposal, as sex is not a relevant criterion for choosing an elected representative.
The prominent Congress leader, freedom fighter and the first woman Governor of a State in free India, Sarojini Naidu, wrote on November 16, 1931 to the then British Prime Minister, "To seek any form of preferential treatment would be to violate the integrity of the universal demand of Indian women for absolute equality of political status... . We ask that there should be no sex discrimination either against or in favour of women under the new Constitution."
Three prominent women's organisations - the All India Women's Conference, the Women's Indian Association and the National Council of Women in India had stated in a joint statement while the framing of the Constitution of India was in process, "We are opposed to reservation of seats for ourselves and are whole-heartedly in favour of joint electorates by which means alone, we are convinced, can India rise to her full stature."
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Sir, I am glad to hear women like Shabana Azmi, Jaya Jaitly and Veena Nayyar assailing publicly the men MPs for their hypocrisy quick to enact quotas for others, but fighting fiercely when it comes to quotas in Parliament. They will not give up honourably their places for the women of India. I exhort women and women's organisations throughout the country to march to Parliament and demand the men MPs to shed their hypocritical behaviour for once and pass the Bill.
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Sir, Nothing can be more unfortunate than the scuttling of the Women's Bill in Parliament. It is time various women fora, cutting across party and caste lines, came forward and took the issue out of the domain of their male counterparts. Their decision, which would carry the weight of the better half of democracy, should be considered sacrosanct and accepted without grudge.
Himanshu Kumar Singh,
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Sir, The Women's Reservation Bill has been hijacked once again even by the BJP and the Congress, though these two parties have paid much lip sympathy to the cause of women's representation on elected bodies.
A "quota within a quota" may not work. There is always the doubt whether a woman's representative can withstand the dominance of the man behind her. We can look at Bihar to find out who the de facto ruler is. Therefore, whether an increased representation of women in elected bodies can deliver gender justice remains a point of debate, given the patriarchal society we live in.
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Sir The deferment of Women's Bill shows the lack of interest among the various political parties to share power with women. This is a male-dominated society where no man wants to see women stand equal to him. If politicians are really interested in making women sit in Parliament they should reserve the same percentage for women within their party. In this way they can please all and disappoint none.
Madhu Sunil Sharma,
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