A seat in Parliament is not empowerment, education certainly is | india | Hindustan Times
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A seat in Parliament is not empowerment, education certainly is

india Updated: Mar 08, 2010 00:45 IST
Rupa Gulab

I’m blushing with shame to be on the same side as the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Janata Dal (United) Yadavs.

For different reasons, though — they want reservations within reservations, and I find that the idea of reservations for women in Parliament does not inspire me to visit my friendly neighbourhood wine store and cheerfully holler, “A bottle of Dom Pérignon, my good man!”

My gut tells me that over 50 per cent of those reservations will throw up a bunch of uneducated women who will merely be fronts for power-hungry, scheming men. A new proverb may be born: ‘Behind every female parliamentarian there’s a manipulative man.’

Even if I ignore my gut, I’m against reservations for women anywhere. I don’t want women to be treated as special; I want them to be regarded as equals. This is my constitutional right and I absolutely insist on it

By now, you must have read or heard arguments for and against the proposed reservations by a few exceptionally erudite and many exceptionally dull people. I’m not getting into whether we should tamper with the Constitution or not. I’m merely putting across my personal belief that may well be dismissed as naive and simplistic: A seat in Parliament doesn’t necessarily empower women, but education definitely does.

Please focus on education instead.

Make a bigger hoo-hah over it than over a Bill on reservations, which, to my mind, is tokenism and a tragic case of being too lazy to see the wood for the trees. Get the media (especially the ear-splittingly hysterical TV lot) so excited about it that they inspire the country to light candles and take solemn pledges at local tourist spots.

Of course, to make this really work, we must do the following:

n Ensure that all girls go to school.

n Ensure that all boys go to school as well and include a new subject in their curriculum: ‘Don’t be like your MCP Daddy’. After all, their mind-sets have to change for our women to change.

Throw in a few classes on cooking and sewing too. Come now, we don’t them to be helpless when their wives are away running the country or taking a stroll on the moon.

Once the girls turn into women and the boys turn into men, chances are there may be no question of reservations at all. We can all live equally ever after. And that’s when I pop the champagne cork.

Gulab is a Mumbai-based writer and the author of Girl Alone and Chip of the Old Blockhead.