The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, September 17, 2000

 Usurping her political space

APROPOS of Mohinder Singh’s write-up “Women in politics” (August 27) , is it possible for a bird to fly only on one wing? This may sound like rhetoric, but that is precisely what we have been doing with regard to women — 50 per cent of our human resource for the past five decades. More than half a century after political Independence and a Constitution that enshrines gender empowerment, we are far from mainstreaming gender issues.

When our women were so active during the freedom struggle then merely saying that our society is male-dominated is not enough. Women represent 50 per cent or our population and their problems of dowry, illiteracy, etc can be eradicated only if they came forward to fight for their rights. Despite all things being equal, the intake and percentage of women, for example, in Civil Services and public sector enterprises — that are considered to be gender neutral bodies — is merely 10 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively. As a result, qualified and competent women continue to remain invisible and are only responsible for secondary decision-making.

We can’t lose old and negative ways of thinking until new and positive one replace them. There is growing awareness about the different needs and strengths of women and the general spirit of times is positive.

The shift from the Industrial Age to the Information Age has interesting implications. The communications revolution is ending the hierarchy and power structures within systems. Information technology, mercifully for women, is gender blind. This may pave a way for the future that belongs to women. We need to move from the hierarchical paradigm to the circular paradigm. Equality alone is not the solution unless it is accompanied by a complete overhaul of mentalities of both men and women. It is basically a partnership orientation for including women and not for excluding men. Promoting equality in everyday life will certainly come from a position of strength. But beyond strength lies balance. Then we are ready to make a real beginning.



Prem Chand

“A writer forgotten” by N.K. Oberoi, portrays the callous attitude of the people towards Indian writers. Munshi Prem Chand was meted out shabby treatment throughout his life. Acute poverty and poor health dogged him throughout his life. Since he was one amongst the poorest of the poor, he wrote about real social issues with unequalled sensitivity. Godan is his famous novel. Besides Ranghbhoomi Karambhoomi he wrote Soz-e-Wattan — a patriotic novel and for it he paid the price. He was fired from the post of Inspector of Schools. He was born poor and died poor. A thin line of mourners followed him on his last journey and someone standing in one corner remarked, “It seems some schoolmaster has died.” How derogatory! This is our attitude towards the teachers, writers and intellectuals, we should be indebted to.

Shahpur Kandi

A perfect bond

The experience “In trying to change, we destroy” Taru Bahl shared in her weekly column (August 27) is a lesson for those married as well as for those about to be married, marriage is coming together of two persons whose individual entities which must remain intact for the marriage to succeed. It is to be carried on the road of life with love and understanding, avoiding all the potholes.

It is not a two-wheeler where the front wheel gives the direction and rear one ‘always’ follows. In fact, it is a relationship based on principles of faith and equality and has to be further strengthen with support and freedom. The husband and wife should help and encourage each other to bloom to their full potential. Possessiveness, tainted with suspicions, intolerance and jealousy should never be allowed to corrupt a bond as sacred as marriage. But then it is practically possible only when one concentrates on one’s growth and genuinely appreciates that of the other.


Rain songs

Barsaat Mein hum se mile A.C. Tuli (August 27) was very interesting.

Indeed rains enhance the desire for romance. Kalidas’s famous treatise Meghdoot is a masterpiece on clouds, rain and love.

Bimal Roy’s Parkh had this sweet haunting melody. Sajna barkha bahar ayi.........

“Sawan ka mahina, pawan kare sor” from Milan still appeals to our hearts. Another semi-classical rain song is Gayat barsat sawon ayo re.... from Barsaat ki raat.