“To become a good politician, women should fulfil duties at home first. Women these days don’t want to offer even tea to their husbands.”
“Girls should be taught to be tolerant, use less mobile phones. It is breaking marriages.”
“Women have to be morally strong to become a good politician. They have to be tolerant, humble and morally upright.”
These were some of the sermons at the three-day leadership conclave of Istri Akali Dal underway at Paonta Sahib in Himachal Pradesh.
Addressing a gathering of over 200 women, comprising Shiromani Akali Dal MLAs, district office-bearers and party workers, Jagir Kaur, president of the SAD women wing, who is fighting her conviction by a CBI court on charges of “conspiracy” in the murder of her daughter, Harpreet Kaur, who died in 2000, in the Punjab and Haryana high court, asked them to take the moral education route to reach women in the upcoming Punjab polls.
“We want you to build a strong moral character. You should go to families not only for votes but to teach the same moral values to other women. A good mother, wife and daughter makes not just a happy home but also a good politician. Girls nowadays are not very tolerant. Add to it, too much use of mobile phones and social media and you have a perfect recipe for breaking marriages. Girls call up their parents even after a small fight with their husbands. No wonder so many marriages are ending in divorce,” Jagir Kaur, MLA from Bholath, said.
Later, while speaking to HT, Jagir Kaur said they are trying to inculcate religious and moral values in the women cadre as it helps develop leadership quality. “Women are more sincere and less corrupt than men. We can run our homes as well as our constituencies. But we have to imbibe the virtue of tolerance. Women these days don’t want to offer even tea to their husbands. We have to arrest the moral decay in society. If a woman has a strong moral character as a mother, daughter, wife and mother-in-law, she can build the character of those in her home and in turn the whole society,” she added. On whether the SAD was aiming to field more women candidates -- it had six winners out of 10 in the 2012 elections -- Jagir said they are trying to develop leadership quality in women. “If they are capable, they can be MLAs tomorrow,” she said.
A resonating theme was also to create awareness on drug abuse. “As mothers, daughters and wives, women are facing the scourge of drugs. We need to highlight how our party has opened several de-addiction centres and is rehabilitating drug addicts. We need to publicise our policies and programmes and show how expressways, food and IT parks are creating employment avenues for youth as unemployment too breeds the problem of drugs,” Veena Dada, adviser to Istri Akali Dal president Jagir Kaur, said.
Former Chandigarh mayor Harjinder Kaur asked women to live according to the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib while Punjab Women Commission chairperson Paramjit Kaur Landran highlighted the legal rights of women on issues ranging from dowry, domestic violence and molestation.
On the second day of the leadership camp, the participants were divided into five groups named after historical figures such as Mai Bhago, Mata Gujri and Bebe Nanki to interpret teachings of Guru Granth Sahib in the present context. “The participants will not only take what we teach here to women in Punjab but also reach out to girls in colleges and institutes to know their problems, what policies they expect from government and provide the feedback to the government,” Jagir Kaur said.
As for her own conviction that debars her from contesting elections, Kaur is hopeful of a stay on it by the high court. “The CBI is not arguing the case, only delaying it to prevent me from contesting elections. I have done no wrong. I cannot be preaching what I don’t practise,” she said.