After much bordering-on-comic drama, the Rajya Sabha finally passed the contentious Women’s Reservation Bill. I am not sure on which side of the fence I sit on for this one. Women ought to be able to make it to Parliament on their own merit (and vote-bank politics, and goondaism, and promises of free colour televisions).
For this is a country where 90% of men believe that women belong in the kitchen, must be leered at and not heard, must cater to a man’s every whim and fancy etc. and 8% pretend to think otherwise (since it is “cooler” to appear “broad minded”) but secretly agree with the majority.
The remaining 2%? Well, I’d venture that 1% are “open minded” meaning they are open to having their male friends and relatives tell them what they ought to believe. The other 1% is an urban legend.
After the fireworks the Bill incited in the Upper House, which is usually the more “civilised” of the two, it will be interesting to note the reactions and counter-reactions in the Lok Sabha as more male chauvinists, representatives of the common man no less, get their dhotis in a knot.
If the RS folks could leap onto the Speaker’s lap and rip the "offensive" bill up - inadvertently providing yet another example of blasé masculine brute force being used to snuff out the possibility of having women on an equal footing - could we expect any better of the Lower House?
Regardless of the outcome of the Bill (and the accompanying dramatics courtesy the Yadavs & co.), here’s my question: will it change the life of the average Indian woman, one with no political aspirations, in even the smallest possible way?
True gender equality cannot be got by burning undergarments, mailing pink ones to misogynists, dedicated pink bus services or frenzied celebrations and women-oriented art exhibitions on International Women’s Day.
It is about changing mindsets, altering thinking and reason ossified by generations of traditional and cultural conditioning and ultimately, getting that neanderthal male ego to move over just a tad.
Hahaha! As if! Just blame that last bit on my wishful Piscean day dreaming of Utopia.