Minority Report

MY vote goes to Renuka Chowdhury for Prime Minister of India. I don’t care if an FIR has to be registered against her or that the Mangalore City Corporation holds her in contempt.

Published: February 20, 2009 3:06 am

MY vote goes to Renuka Chowdhury for Prime Minister of India. I don’t care if an FIR has to be registered against her or that the Mangalore City Corporation holds her in contempt. Someone had to stand up and be counted for all of womankind. The attacks on the young women for merely being in a bar on January 24 were shocking.

Of course,I am not naïve. Most of the times when a politician raises an issue it is motivated by a possible gain. But in the case of the Union Minister for Women and Child Welfare,I got a sense that it was a genuine outcry. Certainly from the severity of her criticism and the use of words like “fascism” and ‘talibanisation” you could tell that she was outraged.

Thank you Ms Chowdhury for speaking on behalf of all of us. In India — and the rest of the world — women remain the real minority. We are third-class citizens in spite of the great strides that we seem to have taken. I won’t get into what happens in some tribes of Africa,or the fact that some countries make a living out of sex tourism. Frankly,I don’t think even western or developed civilisations are much better off. Where one kind of tyranny is replaced by another. Why else are women forced to hate their bodies. Today,the best compliment a woman can receive is,“You have lost so much weight”. So what if she is starving away into nothingness. That’s what society seems to want from us. Don’t be heard—and don’t even be seen.

The same newspaper that reported on the Mangalore High Court asking the local police to register an FIR against Ms Chowdhury carried a study on Generation Y and its propensity towards violence against women. It seems that this barbaric practice is still in fashion with the young men of today. Maharashtra had the distinction of topping the list in a six-state study,conducted by the Population Council,Delhi,and the International Institute for Population Sciences in Mumbai. The category: Physical violence early in the

marriage. Fourteen per cent women / wives said they been abused in the first 12 months; 18 per cent said they were beaten repeatedly in the same time period. You can imagine the tone it sets for the rest of their lives. Also think of the legacy. A son will see his father beat his mother—and he will think a raised hand is the only way to control the little wife who has an annoying tendency to think for herself.

During the heated battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for US presidentship,I was rooting for the woman. She may not have been the great Black hope that Obama is,but she is a woman and that was good enough for me. Of course,the better man won and yet,I am amazed when people go on about a black man becoming the leader of the USA. In our lifetimes,I don’t think a woman will ever reach that position. And that just clarifies our minority report.

So I want to thank the one woman MP who stood up for us — the second sex. And while we wait for change to come,I will also follow her previous diktat. The one that urged women to fill drinking establishments to the brim. For the ‘bar bharo andolan’ alone,Ms Chowdhury has my vote. Forever.

Nonita Kalra is Editor-In-Chief,ELLE

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