| Welcome to Global Village Space

Saturday, July 20, 2024

Women’s Reservation in Legislatures is a Gimmick

Women's representation is merely a political maneuver, one that may offer little tangible benefit to the citizens of India or Pakistan.

In the special session of the Indian Parliament which will be sitting from September 18-22, among the other bills will be a bill for increasing women’s representation in Parliament and state legislatures to 33% of the total membership of the House.

I regard this as a gimmick, for two reasons:

1. In our semi-feudal society in India, most (but not all) women, particularly in rural areas, are housewives who loyally obey their husbands. Experience has shown that when they get elected to gaon sabhas, zila panchayats, or municipal corporations (due to laws for women’s representation in these bodies), they really function as the mouthpieces of their husbands and obey their orders. In other words, the person who is really operating and calling the shots behind the scenes is the pradhanpati, panchayatpati, or municipal councillorpati. We also had Rabri Devi as Chief Minister of Bihar (when her husband, Lalu Yadav, the previous Chief Minister, was convicted of corruption), but everyone knew that the de facto Chief Minister behind the scenes was Lalu Yadav. So if the proposed bill is passed, we will have mostly MPpatis and MLApatis behind the women MPs and MLAs who will tell the latter what they should say and do.

2. It is wrong to believe that all women are good, kind, caring, and concerned about people’s welfare. The truth is that they are usually as selfish, ruthless, vicious, cold-blooded, heartless, and callous as the menfolk.For instance, in Shakespeare’s play ‘Macbeth’, while Macbeth was wavering whether to kill King Duncan or not, Lady Macbeth was adamant that this should be done, and she kept egging him on.In the Nazi concentration camps, the female guards, like Irma Griese, Ilse Koch, Maria Mandl, Dorothea Binz, Herta Bothe, etc., at Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Bergen Belsen, Majdanek, Ravensbruck, etc., were as ruthless and cruel towards prisoners as the male guards.

Read More: Alarming Incidents of Sexual Assault on Female Surgeons during NHS Operations

Indira Gandhi was ruthless and power-crazy, and for retaining her Prime Ministership after the Allahabad High Court verdict holding her guilty of election malpractices and disqualifying her for 6 years, she imposed a fake emergency in 1975, in which thousands were jailed on false charges and all kinds of atrocities against the people were committed. Parliament was turned into a rubber stamp, and a ‘committed’ judiciary was created.

Similarly, Benazir Bhutto, while posing as a populist leader, was in fact highly corrupt and autocratic, as I mentioned in my article.As regards the Lady Health Workers Scheme, which Benazir initiated, it was no doubt trumpeted with great fanfare, but it was soon reported that the health workers went on strike for not receiving regular salaries, job security, and attacks on them. And as regards the much-talked-about Benazir Income Support Program, it is well known that it was riddled with corruption.Read More: N Ram’s Cri de Coeur

Benazir pretended to be a Democrat. But the truth was exposed by her own mother, Nusrat, whom she removed as Hon. Chairperson of PPP when Nusrat joined hands with her son Murtaza (later killed in mysterious circumstances). Nusrat said about her daughter “She talks a lot about democracy, but she is a little dictator “.

Numerous other examples can be given, e.g., ‘Bloody’ Queen Mary of England, Dowager Empress Cixi of China, the serial killer Aileen Wuornos of America, etc.

Ultimately, the proposed increase in women’s representation may be perceived as a political maneuver rather than a genuine benefit to the Indian or Pakistani people. It questions whether such a move will truly empower women or merely create a facade of change.

Markandey Katju is an Indian jurist and former Supreme Court judge of India who served as chairman for the Press Council of India. He has also worked as Standing Counsel for the Income Tax Department.

The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not represent the editorial policy or views of Global Village Space.