Pratibha Patil is the front-runner for the President’s post. I don’t give a damn for SMS polls, but those supporting her are in a minority. ‘Feminists’ have come on TV discussions to say it is a symbolic gesture.
I just got a call from one of the channels to be a part of their panel. This is the third time in a couple of months they have asked. I give them my opinion and then say no. Tease!
So, what was my opinion on
If it is a symbolic gesture, then it is high time we had such symbolism. 60 years since independence and yet no woman in that post. The Presidential post itself is symbolic, for heaven’s sake. And what have been the credentials of most people who occupied this high office? Abdul Kalam Azad was a scientist; he was responsible for our nuclear power. It is not something I approve of. And he was symbolic too. Nice Muslim who reads Hindu scriptures, grows his hair long, blah, blah…
Let us not forget that even in the
Most women in politics are referred to as ‘men’, including Indira Gandhi. Except for once when she was referred to as “goongi gudiya”. (Dumb doll. How I wish she had been!) So what do we want as a record of “work done in the field of women”, as though they are some disease?
Pratibha Patil has been a minister with varied portfolios. And she is married outside her community and retained her maiden name. For me this is important. And she is flaunting the “my husband is a Shekhawat” card to taunt the other Shekhawat in the running. Yo! to that. Isn’t that what men do…use their wives to get mileage, to convey their liberalism and other such stuff?
There isn’t much in Indian politics that is not symbolic. Manmohan Singh started as a symbol, found his feet, then his feet became a symbol of “Lookie here, am mah own man”. Sonia Gandhi too is a symbol of dynasty and desperation of Indian politics to hold on to contemporary heritage.
Who are the people questioning Pratibha Patil’s credentials? What have these feminists done for Indian women except bringing out papers, going on foreign junkets for seminars and being completely removed from what the woman in local trains, in offices, in various other fields do? Their token symbolism of the rural woman is exploitative.
Ms. Patil may not get to do much, but I would be happy, not as a woman, but as a citizen of this country, to see that we beat the Americans, the Chinese, the Japanese at it. And let those sweet old men not keep harping about, “It is good to have a lady”. Good lord, let her just be a woman. And treat her like a lady when you are required to. Like opening the door, and saying things like “After you”. Yes, I like this. Most sensitive, confident women like it because they do not feel so threatened that they cannot stand the idea of being treated well.
If our Presidential nominee does look like a home-maker, then good for her. Millions of women all over the world do. She is in good company.