By Biplab Roy
Unlike multi-religion and language India has multi-party system as it is the largest democracy in the world. Each political party has separate organizational pattern starting from grass-root level to highest policy making body which is normally pyramid in nature and such organizational pattern is all most common to all the political parties in India. Success of a political party as well as democracy lies on the right selection of leaders right from the lower tire to the top. In India, 49% of the total population is approximately women. Therefore, the voice of the women should not be ignored for healthy and true democracy.
A woman is considered as trustee of the internal management of the family. She manages not only the kitchen of a family but members of a family remain united and function properly in their respective working field due to dedication and sacrifice of her life. A woman takes much pain in the family than the male members. She suffers a lot in the event of disaster of the family, war and natural calamity in comparison to the male members but in those circumstances she does lose hope and leave the children abundant for her own comfort. This is the secret of success of the Indian family system.
Despite knowing this fact there is hardly any change in our mindset and we continue to ignore the women and their rights in all possible way. The Hindus believe in 33 Cores God and Goddesses and majority of them are women. The Goddess in India is worshiped in different names as symbol of power, wealth, knowledge, good luck etc. but the women in India are not properly honored by their male counter parts and other male members of the family including the society at large. Women are still considered as weaker section of the society although we worship Maa Durga and Kali as Goddesses of Sakti i.e. power.
We consider women having less knowledge although we worship Maa Saraswati as Goddess of knowledge. We worship Maa Laxmi as Goddess of wealth but thousands of women are satisfying their stomach by flesh trading. Unfortunately, we have not come out with any positive move till this day to stop flesh trading in the country and rehabilite them in the main stream of the nationís progress after 67 years of independence.
We discriminate women of one religion with other religion in the matter of marriage, property rights and other social issues. We believe in secularism but have failed to enact a common law for marriage and inheritance for all citizens despite direction of the Supreme Court. We are against polygamous society but we are allowing the same in the country in the name of religion.
We are against child marriage and have enacted many penal laws to prevent it but the entire endeavor becomes meaningless when one religion advocates the marriage of girl child after attaining puberty. All these issues are very important with regard to social justice of the women. It is very sad to say that we are ready to honour Goddess of the temple but not the women of the land in true sense. This is the high time to rethink on this issue afresh. In democracy, each individual has equal role in building up the nation and each individual is considered as human resource.
The voice of 49% of the total population should not be throttled for any reason whatsoever. Unless the mindset of the society towards the women is changed and they are politically educated with assurance of equal participation in the democratic right of the country our nation under no circumstances can progress.
Is there any role of the political parties in changing the mindset of the society with regard to women and their active participation in the democratic form of government? No doubt the answer will be in the affirmative and no political party will disagree in this regard. In fact, reality is something different. After 67 years of independence debate is still going on what percentage of seats from panchayat to parliament ought to have been reserved for the women.
Each time this question comes afresh in the parliament but ends without any decision. Most of the political parties are dominated by the male leaders and for one reason or the other they divert the issue when it comes for discussion.
There are some political parties in India baton of which are in the hands of women but unfortunately they are also not interested for women empowerment. Anyone may differ with this view but the picture will be crystal clear if number of MLAs, MPs and Ministers are taken into consideration in comparison to male ratio in respect of those States where women are the Chief Ministers.
This picture is also very common in the organizational set up of all political parties including the political parties headed by the women. Thus, the question comes how social justice to the women as we have promised in the preamble of the Constitution will be served keeping them away from the political system prevailed in the country as well as democratic set up of the government and other local authorities. It is no doubt a bye-passing tendency of the political leaders particularly male leaders to give space to the women in the party organization as well as in distributing seats to the women in the election.
No law is required to be enacted to give space to the women in the democratic set up of the government. Each political party should come up with resolution to give 49% of the partyís portfolio to women.
If this move is undertaken sincerely and honestly I believe that no law will be required for women representatives from panchayat to parliament. In that event we will be able to utilize 49% of the human resources for good governance and development of the country.
It is the time to see whether political parties are really interested for women empowerment or not.