Reservation by custom and tradition is acceptable.

I do not like the fact that we have a custom of reservation against female citizens.

In huge parts of India, rich or poor, higher education is reserved for men – even today.

A large number of jobs are reserved for men. Women from all economic backgrounds, do  conquer these ‘male bastions’, braving discrimination, sexual harassment, and criticism for neglecting their families.

Inheritance and family name is reserved for men. (Sanjay Dutt’s objection to his sister’s using their family name.)

Family business and family wealth is reserved for men. (Ever heard of the Ambani brothers’ sister?)

The right to self reliance is generally reserved for men.

Fun and freedom is strictly reserved for men. Pubs, parties, good clothes, dancing, drinking and most public spaces are reserved for men.

Picture something as simple as a woman, happily singing or whistling, as she cycles down the road on a rainy day…

After dark, most roads, most streets, most local trains, buses and public spaces are reserved for men. (In some places the government has officially reserved such jobs for men.)

Second chances in life are largely reserved for men.

Sadly even the right to be joyously welcomed into this world is generally reserved for men.

We do not even notice all this reservation, because it passes off as custom, family values and protection. It is difficult to fight this reservation because it is unwritten and mostly unofficial.  In fact we do not even acknowledge this reservation.

* * *

Today most women (and a lot of men) in parliament are spouses or relatives of existing politicians. Very few make it to Parliament on their own. Why?

Is it because politics as a profession is not suited for women? Not true.

Is it because traditionally positions of power have been reserved for men? This must be true to some extent. And such an attitude can discourage suitable women candidates. Everybody, including all political families give preference to their male relatives. The prejudice applies everywhere.

Is it because we  wonder if there is even a need for women in politics, when men have been managing all along? Our politicians and many of us might feel this way. Remember some of them think women invite rape on themselves.

We do know this lack of participation is not because women are not as capable. Year after year girls have been scoring as well as boys in CBSE/ICSE/HSC. We all know they sometimes have no support at home because many parents consider marriage, not career, a girl’s goal.

So how do women fight against all this reservation?

Do we need to create an environment where equal opportunities are made available? I think we do.

I do not like this reservation by custom and tradition. I prefer a level playing field. And I want some women to represent me in the Parliament.

What will actually happen if Women’s Reservation Bill is passed?

Since 1993, 1/3rd of the seats in panchayats have been reserved for women. This has been referred to as “the greatest social experiment ever.  (Sandeep Bansal)

Prerna says, When 33 per cent of the seats in Parliament will be filled by women…  They will speak out for women… to appease the female vote banks if not for their duty.

Martin Luther King said he knew discrimination against African Americans would end eventually – but he did not want to wait for it to happen ‘eventually’ – he wanted to work for it and end it now so the next generation could breath free. I feel any step that hastens our slow, very slow movement towards a more just society should be welcomed.

Women’s Reservation Bill de-reserves 181 seats from men, and makes them available to all other equal citizens.

Will that not help in creating a level playing field?

Edited keeping the comments in mind,  from an earlier post published on June 9th 2009 – (I do not like Reservation).

Read more posts on International Women’s Day here.

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68 thoughts on “Reservation by custom and tradition is acceptable.

  1. Very well thought of topic IHM. And the Ambani’s have a sister too? I had no idea!

    Me- I read somewhere they do have at least one sister, married to some other industrialist. …but not participating in her father’s business.

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  2. Great and timely post. Critics of the bill was not concerned when 90 %of seats were traditionally reserved for men in legislatures. What ever be the short comings women reservation in legislatures will be a giant leap forward in the path of gender equity

    Me- I am glad you agree. I know a lot of people see reservation as the opposite of merit.

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  3. Interestingly, the arguments in support of reservation for women are very similar to the arguments in support of religion/caste based reservation. And equally interestingly, the arguments against both kinds of reservation are very curiously similar too.

    Anyone who supports one form of reservation and rejects the other form is being a hypocrite.

    Good post by the way. Made for some quality reading on a Monday morning. 🙂

    Me- I am not against reservation. I have blogged about it here, https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2008/10/09/ten-answeres-to-fight-a-ravana/

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  4. Male privilege. Thinking of doing a post on it sometime…but it’s a very upsetting topic IHM. Yes we need the reservation Bill to correct centuries of male privilege, just like we have caste-based reservation to correct centuries of higher-caste privilege.

    Me- I know starsinmyeyes that a lot of people are against reservation of legal kind. But I wanted to express what I felt anyway 😦 I

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  5. I have to disagree with some of the points here, IHM.

    In a large number of cases, especially the poorer class of people, most of what you have said is valid. Men automatically ‘own’ places and rights, and women have to battle it out for every little thing. A typical Indian family is more interested in seeing the daughter married and ‘well settled’ as it is worded, rather than see her turn into a politician.

    Given the current state of politics, where we have criminals and thugs being voted as leaders, and there have been several incidents of violence have taken place even when the parliament sitting is in progress, I doubt if it is really safe for women.

    It might be safe for Amma (surrounded by cronies) or Mrs Jaya Bacchan who walks in with confidence. But might not be equally so for the common man..er.. woman!

    Again, having said that, the situation has to change..

    (1) we need statesmanship..not mere politics,

    (2) Most importantly, we need EDUCATED MEN AND WOMEN WHO REPRESENT THE MASSES. Having a bunch of Bacchans, Hemamalinis, Jayapradhas and Pratibha Patils MAKES NO DIFFERENCE TO THE CONDITION OF WOMEN ACROSS THE COUNTRY. If we believe that simply having more women on board will help, then sadly, that does not seem very logical to me atleast.

    So if the reservation actually comes into force, we must also be responsible enough to elect good leaders.

    Me- Pal I agree. We do have to be very responsible while voting, and for that we simply must vote.
    Pal these people’s representatives who misbehave in the parliament will also get used to seeing women amongst them – like despite all the crime in Delhi, men in Delhi have got used to seeing women in all kinds of western wear. Women in positions of power and in a larger number in the parliament will be a blessing for us I feel.

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    • I agree, IHM. Infact I think this will also open up a huge career option for women, and I am FOR IT. Its just that, we need people who are ‘responsible leaders’, and not just ‘women leaders’.

      Me- 🙂

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  6. IHM, I didn’t mean you – sorry if it sounded like that. I was making a general statement.

    Me- 🙂 Hey I didn’t think you meant me Nish, I just thought here’s an excuse to share an old post 😆

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  7. You hit the bulls eye..
    many of us hav talked abt this a thousand times, but we dont see much change in the indian cultural system regarding the treatment of women. I dont know whether you have noticed or not, but many times i have seen that its the women itself, who goes against supporting women..
    I hav many times seen, elderly n younger, well educated n qualified women talking abt women as if they r just sme marriege material, brought n polished to be a good daughetr – daughetr in law, good mother n good wife………. but not as a good team leader, good leader, icon, decision maker n entrepreneur……. the new bill might bring sme change….. wt i really wnt to knw is hw much…..!!!

    Me – Devil that’s because they are made to feel insecure and dependent – they are put in situations where they must prove how much they are ready to agree with and be eager to please the men they depend on (husband, son) … and this can change if women become a team and support each other. I loved that in A Thousand Splendid Suns and in a small way even in Delhi-6.

    I hope we see the bill pass … not happening today 😦 And I too hope we see some women in the Parliament. Maybe someone like Mallika Sarabhai.

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  8. Reg. right to inheritance, I completely disagree. I have been personal witness to family feuds, where the women have stripped the men off the entire family wealth!

    Inheritance does not come into play in the poorer classes.

    Me- Pal in poor classes if a girl is widowed she is treated like a burden by both her husband’s and her brother’s families.

    In many middle class families, girls are given equal share as boys.

    Me- Thankfully this is true for some families, but even now it’s not taken as normal, many families treat dowry as a girl’s inheritance. I blogged about it here, https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/dowry-for-daughters-inheritance-for-sons/

    And in wealthy families, there is no question of partiality at all.. women ENSURE they have their share of the wealth. Its not like they are deprived of anything. The only thing they probably opt out of, or are uninterested in, is the nitty gritty of running the business. Again, I will not be surprised if the Ambani’s sister sues both brothers for her rightful share, if she doesn’t already have it.

    Me- Take a look at this post – https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2009/03/22/equal-rights-and-opportunities-for-all/

    When it comes to money and inheritance, I think we underestimate both the intent and power of women.

    Me- There is no difference between men and women when it comes to money – I agree 🙂 Except that even today women are at a social disadvantage 😦

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    • I really wonder why people have a problem if a woman behaves like a human being. Somehow the display of greed or some other unsavory trait by a woman becomes something against the entire gender, but for a man exhibiting the same, it is just a case, not indicative of how all men behave.

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  9. Yes! It’s lack of opportunity and lack of level-playing field why the number of women in politics (or for that matter, in any other career-oriented field) is disproportionate to their ratio in overall population :-/

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  10. women’s bill will be reserved for men who are in the political fray now want seats in the government ( trickle down theory of economics in india once u are in power) who want to put their wife, sister, bahu or daughter in the front seat.

    IT HAS GOT NOTHING TO DO ABOUT equality for women.

    when kids on reservation come into colleges he is always known as the SC seat/ or STseat.

    women sitting on the top – kidwai and others et, al fought to get their place.

    anything with reservations/affirmative action has a tag —

    it is getting too long.. i will write on this as a post later on ..
    chow !

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    • Anrosh,already many netas along with their family members are legislature members. This may continue even after Women’s quota is implemented. with perhaps the change of neta missing out for his wife or daughter. Also the difference will be felt as along with women of neta’s family many other women will get tickets as Party’s go in search for suitable women’s candidates. Also even in neta’s family there will be a change in gender relations as voice of women will be heard more louder. As the electorate become more and more nature it will become more difficult for family members to get elected just because of their family tag. Women’s reservation in local body elections has helped entry of women from very diverse backgrounds in to public life I am sure this bill can further increase women’s participation in decision making in our country.

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      • In the last 60 years indian government has subscribed to monarchial rule.

        in the last election around 30 candidates i suppose are successors to their fathers throne ?

        in the current scenario, the politicians are throwing dust in the eyes of the electorate and they seems to be successful. Resrevation of women means the politicians are throwing gold dust … how luring !

        With the reservation women are being treated as

        A. somebody who needs help standing up in the govt ( do you think such women will be efficient ?) – just like every SC?ST’s are warming the chairs in central government positions. we all know how central government works !

        B. the women who will warm the chair will be disabled with the hoots of “reservation” “reservation” – Such seats will be a sitting duck !

        In 60 years the monarchial heirs seem to be increasing – none of us want to enter politics because we think it is not meant for us – so it is left for the extended members of the family to reserve their quota.

        if I am not mistaken – even some seats are reserved in the rajya sabha for women ? aand the hema malini’s and jaya bachan’s and shabana azmi’s are sitting pretty there lending some beautification of the place – i am more worried about the reserved participants because they are useless, because they can sit without even doing the minimum ! –

        Let the woman stand in the election and fight and win. such women/men will be more useful.

        P.S: . The SC/ST’s have demoralised every motivating person.The reservation seats for women will do the same.

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        • Reservations in India despite its limitations has helped to change our society from an exclusive one where 30% of ppl where kept out of everything to a more inclusive one. This measure will also help in a long way in making ours a more gender equitable society. Yes powerful families may still rule but more women who are forcibly kept out of public spaces by the patriarchyal society will also get winnable tickets to legislatures.

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        • For a short duration it was okay – to give them a place. Now it is doing more harm than good

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  11. Pingback: Women’s Day « I.M.A.O.

      • Reservation is not like giving coins to a beggar.(btw should women be compared to beggars?) Reservation is like giving a good job to a poor and socially oppressed individual so that she can overcome social and economic disparities and take care of herself. Any reform measures introduced can be manipulated by the rich and the powerful but that do not mean we should not introduce such social reformation measures. Such an attitude is defeatist and help only the powerful I think you are confusing food subsidies with reservations,though for a hungry and poor individual that is also important.

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        • I must mention two communities which have progressed leaps and bounds without reservation.
          Firstly, the tamilian brahmins (aka tam-brahm) were shunted out of TN by the neo brahmins of DMK and AIADMK. This group refused to go down and they migrated in hordes to US where they excelled.
          Secondly, the Parsees who are now in danger of extinction. They are minorities, but when they were offered reservation, they too refused saying that they will earn their bread on their own.
          Kalpana Chawla didn’t get a seat on the spacecraft by reservation , did she? There are numerous such examples in India.
          Women require education and reservation in the political system will never solve a SINGLE problem which they face.

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        • Dear Charakan,
          ‘Brahmins were never an opressed class’…..
          I suggest you study the history of TN from the Periyar movement onwards.
          You will come to know of a systematic campaign of violence and ill feeling which targeted brahmins in TN.
          They were denied jobs because of the fault of their ancestors.
          So please don’t say that Brahmins were never oppressed.
          P.S- I don’t want to get into the debate of Kashmiri Pandits as that is another story……..

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    • Not long ago a few educated Muslims came out opposing reservations for their community arguing that it will do more harm than good. Victimhood didn’t help the Dalits. It won’t help anyone. The status of women in India (past and present) depends on our perspective. Make sure it is not tainted.

      Me- Reservations maybe resented by everybody else but they have benefited the Dalits. I know some people where an entire generation has received education, got jobs and moved to big cities- something they could never have without reservation. Let em blog about it – I know this is a sensitive topic.

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  12. Yes, I do have a problem with reservation, any kind at any level for any one. So I agree with you. Also I agree that there is discimination. But the problem is even education cannot level this out neither in men nor in women. A particular kind of orientation where respect for each other rather than adjustment or compromise has to be imparted at a wide level.

    It’s a problem which has to be tackled at different levels…

    I’ll get back..thinking…

    Me- One thing that makes me support it is that there seems to me be no other, better or worse way…

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    • Agree with u that they do more harm in a lot of ways. For instance, there are reservations for certain classes of people in the all the educational institutions and govt offices. However, it is a question whether the deserving candidates always receives it or not… mostly don’t.. and because of the reservation they get it easy, so they don’t work …!! Sometimes I just feel I was not part of the gen. cat…it’s likes climbing all the steps to the top, while other’s take a short cut in a palanquin!

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      • this is a personal example, and not a generic one. Please take it with the proverbial pinch of salt.
        I was opposed to reservations with the exact same arguments – doesnt help, not deserving et al. UNTIL, i was put on the panel to select students entering a fairly prestigious B School. For 2 years, the panel i got was not the regular students, but the reservation students. (i.e., the entire panel had reservation students and we had to choose from them)

        The first year, i was apalled by the relative lack of reasoning ability, communication skills et al. I mean, cmon, these guys couldnt hold themselves in a small stress test, what will they do with the pressure cooker called ABSDV(insert name of B school here). But that year, i also heard some really inspiring stories – of boys whose parents are into menial labour (including scavenging) and the boy studied under street lights et al, and appeared in the interview on his own because he obviously could not attend coaching classes.
        Of girls who have worked and studied at the same time. And taught their siblings too.

        The second year, i did not groan inwardly when i realised that i was *again* on the reserved category panel. This time, i looked forward to the stories. Sure, there were ppl who were second generation beneficiaries and did not deserve to come thru the reserved quota. But there were real stories too. And in our panel at least, the second generation beneficiaries got the rap that they deserved.

        Today, I am not sure. I have seen the real difference that reservation has made to the dreams of some of these children, and also the exploitation that some second generation (and some kids whose certificate was obviously fake) beneficiaries have brought to the system.

        Just sharing an experience.

        Being a woman, i believe that this reservation is VERY necessary. If, for nothing else, just to ensure that women have a voice. And a chance. Today, if a woman stands against a man, she has no chance of winning. Look at the reality shows, which apparently are based purely on talent. Are women really that less talented?

        The women who have, nonetheless, won against men are the ones who are SUPER. But there are more women out there, who, when given a chance, will be able to do good work. We confuse ability to influence voters with the ability to do good work. They are 2 different things.

        Just mah 2penny.

        Me- Also keeping in mind that the many voters have grown up hearing about how women belong in kitchen, or that women always turn to men for advice, that a good woman does as she is told and knows her place… the men’s reaction in this Haryana village is very typical. I am sure we have all faced/seen such reaction some time or other. I remember a carpenter turning to my 17 year old son to explain something, assuming I – a woman- wouldn’t understand.

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        • You people are missing out a very important point ( maybe because you have interviewed students but not worked with them) and that is you are assuming that only by reserving a LS seat for a particular community (say dalit), the particular community will be benefited.

          If that be so the case, then does it mean that if a LS seat is reserved for a Dalit(or a woman) then he will do sweet nothing for all other non-dalits (or men in case it’s a woman’s seat).

          Please look at the case in a fair manner. Women’s empowerment and empowering a woman are two diametrically opposite things. Who fought for abolishment of slavery in USA? Abraham Lincoln.

          I am appalled that educated women like the one’s in this forum are speaking for the woman’s reservation bill.

          Ladies, please don’t take me wrong but there is a difference between education and intelligence, and by the look of it, we need more ‘intelligent’ women today.

          Me- Do take a look at https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/essence-of-a-woman/

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  13. I have a strong doubt..will this reservation in Parliament/Government really inspire Woman to participate actively in Politics??? I have known many female corporators in Municipal corporation,who are elected just for namesake..behind the scene their hubby/sons are holding the remote to control. When Rabri was CM in Bihar do you think it was she,who was driving everything?

    Me- Not in the first generation perhaps, but over a period of time, will it make it easier for women to join politics?

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    • so far it has not happened. democracy does not exist in india. we cast vote for already existing kings and queens. indian mentaility is more dynastic and least democratic. Our political events are an evidence.

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  14. I really can’t imagine as to how liberal, educated modern women are supporting the women’s reservation bill. The only thing that will happen will that mothers/sisters/wives of the politicians will come to power and the thrashing of ‘loose pub going women’ will continue.

    Our problem is that we are a vote bank public and literacy has nothing to do with it. We Indians think as a mob and anyone who thinks that this bill will empower women and uplift them is living in some Utopian world.

    Please see my blog at http://nda992.blog.co.in/ for details.

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  15. Absolutely nothing good will come out of this bill. It is a nice waste of taxpayers’ money to come, meet, talk and waste time in general. If a crude corrupt MCP politician will want to improve his chances of winning, he will simply put a dummy-woman up for election and remotely control her actions. In fact, you are encouraging the subjugation of those women (who are the fronts) and this might even allow the passing of certain anti-woman laws without protests from women’s organizations because the legislative action is being taken by a woman!

    Here is a controversial point of view that I might be hated for bringing up. Hopefully, it will be taken in the right sense. Here goes:

    The male qualities that are most despised by women are the ones that are required to sustain in the dog-eat-dog political world of today- ruthlessness, cunning, violent tendencies, manipulation etc. The women who have been successful politicians and leaders have always had these so-called male qualities- Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Mayawati and even to an extent Hillary Clinton. All of these women are as alpha-male as any guy today or more.

    That is the evolutionary model of politics today. By restricting the number of seats open to democratic vote (complete democratic vote), we are only helping those who want to manipulate us into voting them into power.

    Another thing: Increasing reservations for women is hardly going to impact the under-privileged women we always see in DD videos. It will help more unqualified girls get into engineering/medical colleges (where a 30% female reservation exists) even though they are no less privileged than the guys they have cheated out of a seat. Increasing reservations for girls has not helped much and neither will this bill.

    Politicians have no sex or religion or caste. The system is such that only absolute vultures make it to the top. Vultures (male and female) scavenge on human flesh.

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  16. I agree to your points IHM , though I am never in favour of reservations …as it directly challenge the quality and capability of the person… but to begin with we do need reservation ..

    when reservation for Sc/ ST was put into place , it was indeed helpful , but later we have seen it misused , we have seen many doctors and engg go get into premier institutes with less than 50 % marks and thus many deserving candidates suffer ..I have been denied a medical seat even when I scored 140/200 in entrance while a fello reservation guy got throughby scoring 70 /200 …. and damn he son of a rich man , he could have afforded a private college , while i could not .

    at this point I like to imagine the picture of future parliment with more women , but frankly we need better leaders than men or women … I doubt a corrupt women leader be any better in adressing women issues than an honest man …we can wait and watch …right now its a small step , that hold some promise for betterment and we are eternal optimists ..arnt we:)

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  17. IHM I do not have any false notion that this WR bill is a panacea for all gender related evils in the society. The bill may help a little and a modified one may be much better but we should also consider the practical politics .In regard to reservation for jobs and education I feel that a strict economic criteria and frequent review of the need for reservation is a must.

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  19. Verrrry debatable topic. Though I support the bill, I wholeheartedly agree with Sandeep Bansal – it is indeed one of the biggest social experiments ever.
    There are a lot of negatives about the bill, and a lot of positives as well. I will write in detail from home. Would be kicked by my boss if he sees I am reading up on women’s reservation bill in India. 😛

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  20. you said it lady, you really said it!

    Of course, ‘Reservation’ for the oppressed lot, is not at all a welcome word. That’s why they are implemented forcefully against the wishes of a majority, which would rather not give that equal opportunity to the lesser privileged, and want to monopolise it for their own advantage. Period.

    Reservation for the opressed lot is actually trying to set the balance straight by trying to forcefully break down the unwritten, but highly implemented-through-ages reservation in favour of the comparatively better privileged lot.

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  21. IHM, I just can’t feel right about reservation of any kind. What you said in your post is true, but reservation is not how the problem should be solved. Similar to caste based reservation. The problem has to be attacked from the roots. We have to make is safe for women to travel alone on a cycle while whistling in the rains. If the reservations come into play, it will mostly be wives of the politician (like Rabri Devi) who will be mere puppets. They will speak for their male counterparts, not women. Because the women who should be there to represent us will still not be there.

    Frankly, I feel this is not good. More so, because I don’t want anybody doing me favors. We have to rise ourselves.

    Me – I feel women are not allowed to even contest by political parties, this will make sure they have no choice in this. Now they can’t deny a woman a ticket just because she is a woman.

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  22. Reservation will bring more women in to politics, in turn it will strengthen the women vote bank, which will lead to better handling of women’s problems! I am in support of it, and I am sure it will benefit women… If, our male parliamentarians ever get around to accepting it! It is discouraging to see the chaos and violent protests giving excuses to stop the bill.

    Me- I agree iniyaal. And we already have seen the example of the panchayats.

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  23. Reservation or no reservation… but your post v.well depicts the state of Indian culture and the reservations our males counterparts get. With each passing day, each female has to prove herself to be as competitive as male counterparts are. Great post…:)

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  24. I disagree on a lot of points.

    “In huge parts of India, rich or poor, higher education is reserved for men – even today.” – I am assuming that you did not mean the word ‘reserved’ literally.

    Me – Reserved by tradition and custom. Do read the post linked in the post.

    “A large number of jobs are reserved for men. Women from all economic backgrounds, do conquer these ‘male bastions’, braving discrimination, sexual harassment, and criticism for neglecting their families.” – Some examples please?

    Me- Here’s an example. https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/woman-you-are-not-doing-anybody-a-favour/

    “Inheritance and family name is reserved for men. (Sanjay Dutt’s objection to his sister’s using their family name.)” – Again, why are you using a single example to generalise? This does not reflect the general attitude of the people, only the rotten attitude of the family.

    Me- How many women in India do you know who have retained their maiden name? Is your surname your mother’s name or your father’s? Who contributed more in bringing you up? Is that parent self reliant? Do you know most Indian women change not just their surname but also their first name once they marry? And recently one husband demanded his divorced wife stops using his name.

    “The right to self reliance is generally reserved for men.
    Fun and freedom is strictly reserved for men. Pubs, parties, good clothes, dancing, drinking and most public spaces are reserved for men.” – Now I think you are getting paranoid.

    Me- Do you live in India? Take a look at the linked post also. And google and read Blank Noise Project.

    I am against the Women’s Reservation Bill. In fact, I am against ALL forms of reservation except those on the basis of economic criteria.

    Me- Economic criteria?
    Then you should welcome the bill because despite all the work and ‘sacrifices’ they make women are still find it socially difficult to be financially self reliant, also take a look at these examples, women in India are kept in dependence by ‘tradition’.
    https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2009/12/02/the-traditional-arrangement-is-equal-in-distributing-the-responsibilities/
    and
    https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/dheeyaan-dee-maa-rani-bhudhaapey-bharey-paani/

    I dont understand this. If a law came about that somehow reserved some seats for me in any public enterprise, I would consider that insulting. I have confidence in my abilities that I can achieve what it is I aim for.

    Me- Women are brought up to put their family before their careers (although the other parent is free to pursue a career and enjoy a family life too, read, https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2008/11/17/my-dreams-are-more-precious-than-yours/) – this would ensure they are not turned away just because they are women.

    I dont require any special help, especially at the cost of others.

    Me- Women just need to be free to contest elections despite the reservations against their participation. Take a look here at this post linked in Allytude’s comment
    http://www.tehelka.com/story_main43.asp?filename=cr200210no_mad.asp

    Now, you can argue that inspite of being reserved, there is nothing stopping me from disregarding my reservation and applying through the normal means. But isnt this unfair to the people who are not covered by any form of reservation? Am I not eating into their already limited seats?

    If you want something, you will have to fight for it. Sure there will be chauvinists who look down upon women and make their lives miserable.

    Me- And how long does that take? Reservation at Panchayat level has already made a difference.

    But this is nothing that cant be fixed with better education and better lifestyles.

    Me- Better education and lifestyle will take another century and then in between we will have Taliban style Indian political groups demanding we go back to the dark ages, this reservation will also make sure our politicians remember women are also a vote bank when they defend rapists and molesters.

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  25. IHM, there is a really good piece on tehelka on how reservation for women in gram Panchayats helped a village in Haryana AND empowered the women as well.

    http://www.tehelka.com/story_main43.asp?filename=cr200210no_mad.asp

    Me- I read it and felt overwhelmed. I have seen this kind of attitudes amongst men and I cna imagine how these women must have felt. I hope we see more such progressive stories! This really made my day!!

    Reservations are not a cure all for a socially backward class. But they work. And like everything else are misused.

    Most of us, the elite who do not “require” reservation and so are against it, are in this position of being “elite” because our ancestors somehow worked to tilt the social equation in their favor- be it through caste or the acquisition of wealth. Unsavory as it sounds, it is true- the playing field has never been level. And reservations hurt us because we feel short-changed. More so because there is a limited number of jobs/ seats and too many takers. Maybe we need to include in this same reservation discourse ways to create more opportunities for all- grow the pie, not just keep trying to retain the larger pieces we have been handed.

    Me- Allytude this has been in done in some places, the number of seats has been increased, but seeing how many apply for admissions and jobs – some resentment is unavoidable. Also some political parties create this feeling of victimhood…

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  26. Ok, so I am back after a short hiatus. So as I mentioned, I do support the bill, but I am not sure how is it going to work practically. There is a provision for a rotation based system. Every three years, a particular constituency would be ‘reserved’ for a woman MP. Now imagine I am a guy and I have worked very hard in one of the non-reserved terms. As a result, I get re-elected in the second non-reserved term. Now I know for sure that the next term after that would be ‘reserved’, and inspite of my hard work, I would not be re-elected. What motivation/incentive would I have to work hard then?
    To be very honest, SC/ST/OBC reservations haven’t really worked, and they hinder meritocracy big time. You have no idea how frustrating it is to see people who get abysmal percentiles securing a place in civil services, IITs, IIMs, government jobs, etc, while a person with much better skill sets is not able to land himself a seat/place in them. And in most of these places, the level of reservation is 47%! Whattay joke!
    I am supportive of this bill, however, because I feel this kind of reservation (based on your sex) hasn’t been done before. And I really hope it works.

    Like

  27. SoniaG wants to empower the nation!
    ———————————————

    Men and women of India, lend me your years,
    Let’s praise the lord and wish the queen with cheers,
    We will soon bury our democracy in grand fashion,
    And start putting quotacracy in full motion.
    For SoniaG wants to empower the nation!

    Dr Kalam did not find us empowering,
    He sent our bill for profit back, enquiring,
    We were not amused by his checking,
    So, we had to send him packing.
    For SoniaG wants to empower the nation!

    Mr. Shivraj Patil is the most pliant and cool,
    But he was rejected by Mr Karat the fool,
    We played the women card as the tool,
    Presto! Everything fell in place like stool.
    For SoniaG wants to empower the nation!

    The CEC has been a thorn since Sheshan,
    And blocked all our plans with passion,
    We moved along so far with great caution,
    But no more; now we are on our mission.
    For SoniaG wants to empower the nation!

    Somehow we put an admirer as the CEC,
    Things started to get real easy,
    Wouldn’t care if his records look messy,
    Ignore such talk like the gibberish of the crazy.
    For SoniaG wants to empower the nation!

    While the president’s wearing our jacket,
    And the CEC already in our pocket,
    Let us put the power plug in the socket,
    Pass women’s reservation bill like a rocket.
    For SoniaG wants to empower the nation!

    The communists never trusted the constitution,
    The BJP is committing suicide as the opposition,
    The rest are only interested in weird distribution,
    So, we can destroy the parliament as an institution.
    For SoniaG wants to empower the nation!

    Amen! Brutus is an honourable man!!

    Like

  28. Good one. But let me assure you that men are as keen to give women their rights as women themselves are determined to get them. I have paid tribute to this aspect of our men in parliament in my blog http://chapter18.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/a-tribute-to-our-mps-men-in-parliament/

    Thanks
    Narayanan

    Me- I totally agree!! How can I forget, Ambedkar, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Gandhi and Nehru were all men.
    I wrote about it too, here,
    https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2009/01/11/men-will-be-men/

    Like

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  33. Indian politics is corrupt, but just because it is corrupt is no good argument against the women’s reservation bill. Is corruption supposed to be the uninfringable bastion of male politicians? No reservation doesn’t make the Indian society more meritocratic, since the lot of cultural prejudices in India act as a socio-cultural block against meritocracy. Social justice in unequal societies cannot happen without affirmative action and just because SOME privileged people misuse reservation is not good reason to taint the entire system of reservation and throw the proverbial baby with the bathwater. Unless women are represented adequately in the government, India will remain like Saudi Arabia where men speak on behalf of women without actually taking women’s concerns into account.

    However, I do agree that the current system of reservation is not without its flaws. While abuse of the system is not as prevalent as some anti-reservation alarmists make it out to be, it is still unfair when a poor ‘general’ person gets sidelined by a privileged lower caste person. I don’t believe that anyone has to pay for their ancestor’s wrongs. It is regressive, inhuman and reeks of a collective punishment mentality. Even though as a North Eastern tribal, I was entitled to reservations, I never used it because it would have been unethical to do so for someone who isn’t economically ‘oppressed’, per se.

    For the record, Indira Gandhi was a strong leader and a woman. Feminity and being strong is not mutually exclusive. And whatever character flaws she had in her personal life doesn’t change that she was a good leader, far better than the majority of leaders we have today.

    Like

    • Do you think equality or justice is possible without a level playing field and equal, fair opportunities? Do you think women in general, no matter which class, caste etc have equal and fair opportunities? Don’t you think the restrictions women face like those mentioned in the post are being faced today – women are definitely more empowered today than in the past, but it’s only because men and women worked hard to achieve this – and the first step to any change is becoming aware that the problem is there.

      Like

      • I pretty much answered those questions in my comment above. Since India is not a meritocracy, even without reservations and since there IS a socio-cultural prejudice against the female sex, reservations would go a long way in shifting this imbalance.

        Like

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