What happens when a political party refuses to see violence, crime, sleaze, misogyny and corruption as an unavoidable part of fighting elections?
Those who would rather avoid crime, violence, sleaze, misogyny and corruption (etc) are suddenly finding it possible to join politics.
Those who want to work for the people of India are finding it possible to join politics.
“The stress on non-violence has had the unexpected side effect of turning the whole party into an area where men or women are very similar in power.”
I agree with ‘Women in politics in India: a tsunami on the horizon‘, By Vidyut Gore Kale
… something completely unprecedented in Indian politics … I can only celebrate.
Women who have challenged the status quo in real life are entering the corridors of minimal representation of women and token power.
Unnoticed in the media hype…
One by one, without much sensation, right along with other candidates, is the steady growth of powerful women rising from the masses and shouldering the responsibility of being leaders of a maverick revolution, the likes of which India hasn’t seen before…
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Here we have not just women leaders emerging, but there is no women’s wing. Women are leading just as same as any man. The stress on non-violence has had the unexpected side effect of turning the whole party into an area where men or women are very similar in power.
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Here are some of the women who have recently made news one way or the other related with the party.
Anjali Damania, state convenor of AAP’s Maharashtra unit, contesting from Nagpur against Nitin Gadkari
Meera Sanyal, renowned banking professional, contesting from Mumbai South (…. Does India need competence and vision like this steering its future? Hell yes.)
Soni Sori, an adivasi teacher framed by a corrupt system and brutalized and raped in jail does not let her voice falter
Medha Patkar was earlier planning to contest independently, and Aam Aadmi Party had declared that they would support her anyway. She has since joined the party.
Gul Panag. “actor, activist, aviator, animal lover, adrenalin junkie, adventurer, avid traveller, automobile & fitness enthusiast, biker, entrepreneur, student, writer”
Shazia Ilmi is among the oldest of Aam Aadmi Party women leaders. She got my respect when she contested in Delhi Elections breaking unsaid norms on religious politics by contesting from a “non-Muslim” constituency.
Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya, India’s first woman DGP, contesting from Haridwar
Older readers may remember a television serial called Udaan that had a lot of girls wanting to be cops. Yep. This is *that* Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya.
Balwinder Kaur, a farmer activist who mobilized women farmers to fight for their rights is AAP’s candidate for the constituency currently represented by Naveen Jindal.
Many in Aam Aadmi Party were disappointed when Irom Sharmila declined to contest from an Aam Aadmi Party seat. Yet, as I write, it becomes clear that the refusal was to contest the election alone, and she walks with the party like many other inspiring women of power who have their independent identities for their struggles for what is right. This image came in just as I was about to end this post.
I remember reading some research paper on women in politics, and a point remains in my mind about the link between corruption and disempowerment of women. I don’t recall the paper, but the insight that remained in my mind was that with power largely residing in the control of men, corruption naturally becomes a playing ground for men as it thrives on “networking” – to put it mildly. Not to mention the conditioned reluctance in women to engage in questionable activities with men. And somewhere in my mind a link forms of the spontaneous emergence of women leaders in a party dedicated to fighting corruption.
In my view, while the party continues to inspire and provide support to women to be powerful, it is worth bringing to power to be able to tackle far more serious crimes.
And there are more. Many more nameless ones who get attacked by insecure mobs of fanatical parties. Who get threats and die. Still others who live and work tirelessly shoulder to shoulder with the men to allow the party to sustain its rocket like growth trajectory without splintering.
And they are safe. I was amazed to see a few tweets on women’s day by volunteers of AAP thanking the party for making the events so safe for them. These are practical things. They exist if you are like that. No amount of presenting can make them happen.
I do not doubt anymore. The lives of women will be transformed by Aam Aadmi Party coming to power.
Please read the entire post here.