The Politics of Women Empowerment in India

I have a cousin (sister) who is not getting married. The situation is so bad that her well wishers have almost stopped thinking of her marriage now. She is not good looking and an ordinary graduate. She gives tution to support her family of mother and young brother after sudden demise of her father due to cancer.


My mother has given 45 years to our family and raised me and two of my siblings. All of us are established today thanks to her selfless dedication and hard work for the family. She is still committed for the family and thinks only about the well being of her family.

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These are the women who care for their families and take all kinds of responsibilities without being asked for. And thanks to them families like ours sustain the hard times and sail through to a good prosperous future.

There is another set of women like Nisha Sharma, who on the pretext of marriage files criminal cases against her husband and his family for some quick bucks and fame. Do you think in this nine years court battle that these two families had, no one else earned money? And all happened when there was not supposed to be any case. Their supporters show the women like my mother or sister to show how great women are.

In my sister’s case, on further probing some prospective groom’s families have expressed their desire to have a bahu who earns more to support the family as one man’s income is not enough. Some of them clearly showed apathy to any marriage with a girl not having her own flat as they say – “with a new law giving husband’s property to wife and not considering fair treatment to men, it is better to stay in girl’s flat and come out peacefully if needed.

My cousin can not own any flat in near or distant future because she is not qualified enough to earn good enough money for that. She is a simple, hardworking and responsible woman who cares most for her family. Today, she is denied a good family for some reason forced upon by her by the agents of her own empowerment. The empowerment that is stifling for the hard working, average educated and respectful women with good family values.

I am sure there are many women like her who cries in isolation for a good family and failing to accomplish their goal they blame their fate. It becomes ‘personal’ problem to all of them. They pray to god for a good match, for a respectful life, for a good future and end up in desperation and more isolation until they decide to end their lives.

These women do not know that women like Nisha Sharma are actually responsible for their fate today. With heavy and one sided misuse of dowry laws, skyrocketing suicide of men and their families and huge income by the unscrupulous women like Nisha along with everyone associated with the legal system (known as legal terrorism, see – Buy Justice) makes the empowerment a myth for hard working and respectful women who does not want to exploit others to earn money. The legal terrorism racket exploits everyone including women and makes women empowerment a very painful experience for all.

All these families however believe that the laws made for their empowerment are extremely necessary as women in Indian villages are still tortured and burnt alive for dowry, they shiver by the rape cases reported daily and feels the dire need of extreme biased provisions and still wonder why the women in India are never empowered? The dowry laws were made back in early ‘80s and in last three decades the menace has only increased. They wonder why women are still burnt alive for dowry or killed in the womb simply because they are women.

Under these circumstances the concept of men’s rights only becomes a shocking proposition to these people. They shiver by the seemingly criminal proposition of allowing men having any rights in an era when almost every media reports of women being tortured and raped daily. So naturally they come out in large number to express solidarity with other women in demand of women safety. This becomes a mass power with most women and many men supporting each and every movement for the cause of empowering women. No wonder why politicians catch on to the hysteria to gain easy vote bank and create laws like the Marriage Law Amendment (popularly known as IrBM).

A careful analysis of the women empowerment and gender equality factors however gives us the reason – (see – India’s Human Development vis’-a-vis’ the globe)

It is evident from the above analysis that education is the single most important factor that can influence all other empowerment factors for women. And it is the Secondary Education and NOT IIT or IIM education. However, in the past it was observed that in the name of empowerment, women were given preference in IIT admission or given grace marks for IIM entrance –

Empowerment Politics2

We understand why the women at a larger level remain uneducated but some privileged women take away the crème of empowerment by depriving the deserving boys. In this process our leadership in professional education takes a serious beating and the empowerment is restricted only to the elite and does not reach the masses.

A deep dive into every issue related to women empowerment and women safety laws tells us how loosely these laws are drafted not to uphold justice but for mere extortion and increasing unnecessary litigations. Be it Female Feticide, Domestic Violence, Dowry Death, Sexual Harassment at Workplace, Rape or Marital Rape.

Today the misuse / abuse of these laws empowering women are no myth and despite the legal abuse it is always argued that most of these cases go unreported.

A latest addition to this bandwagon is the Marriage Law Amendment ACT (IrBM) which is in the process of passing in Loksabha now. In this bill too it was cited in the parliament that 98% women do not own property and hence this bill becomes necessary not only for easy divorce but also for giving them a right to own property. However, we do not understand why the same set of politicians said completely opposite words while passing amendment to Hindu Succession ACT earlier in 2013.

All these legal provisions have become discussion point after the Delhi rape and a sudden need was found in passing these laws in a hurry and hence we saw a flurry of laws getting passed in 2013. We wonder how come one rape makes women unsafe in all aspects.

If we look into the recent turn of events that sparked the need of passing all these laws in a hurry we understand the politics behind it. Careful analysis tells us that all these laws empowering women like my mother or sister becomes useless and end up in unnecessary abuse of legal system by the women like Nisha Sharma. With no misuse clause (note – sexual harassment at workplace does have a misuse clause, very weak though) in each of these laws become dreaded weapons in the hands of unscrupulous women like Nisha. (I am only citing her name as we have good media and legal evidence. There are numerous other women who are hiding under the empowerment umbrella in-spite of being criminals).

It is not that no one has informed / warned the govt. about possible misuse of the IrBM to the GOI. Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) from all over the nation have been continuously protesting the bill and has given appropriate reasoning to the govt. why this needs to be gender neutral. MRAs have been constantly sending delegation to the MPs of all parties, ministers, GOM who reviewed the bill, SC, law commission and all sections in the society to amend this bill suitably but none of their suggestions were accepted. Initially it was said that this law exists in western nations but a careful analysis of those laws gives us a picture how the Indian version can become a killer provision for the common man.

With the turn of events in last one year following the tragic Delhi rape case we have seen how powerful section of the society gets and demands special treatment under each provision they create. The people who once protested vigorously for Delhi rape and forced introduction of draconian sexual assault law, do not stop blaming the victim (her character, her inebriated state or her lies) or asking to stop media trial when they themselves are accused. But these are the same set of people who enforces media trial when a common man is accused. We understand that this drama of empowerment has nothing to do with empowering women but only to create some extreme legal provisions to extort common Indian men. When Delhi and Mumbai rape cases happened we have seen both houses of our parliament being stalled under protest, however, no politician even gave any statement when Tejpal or Khurshid Anwar’s case came to light.

In another shocking case of Devyani Khobragade we have seen how this govt. has suppressed the interests of the maid (again a common woman who does not have any political or feminist background) and supported Devyani in all possible ways. It was considered as India’s humiliation when her domestic act was not covered under UN resolution of Diplomatic immunity. We wonder if we have any dearth of role models in India that we need to promote fraudsters like Devyani. By doing this and creating yet another unnecessary controversy our politicians have proved once again that they are not bothered about empowerment for common Indians. Common Indians are only there to be exploited either in the name of women empowerment or otherwise.

We thus understand why our politicians are keen on bringing in IrBM. They understand women are where the vote bank is. It is easy to draft something and term that for women empowerment so that votes keep flowing in. No matter what the law of the land is, the elite always get / demand preferential treatment. They always get a Javed Akhtar, Shoma Chaudhury or Seema Mustafa to support them. It is only the common men (and women) who suffer.

So we don’t get surprised when our Minister Kapil Sibal says “98% women do not have any property” in parliament for passing IrBM in Rajya Sabha even though his govt. has said just a few months back that “women are earning property by their own skills” while passing amendments to Hindu Succession Act.

BJP too had its own vote bank politics to support IrBM in parliament. MRAs have spoken to many BJP leaders about the continuous amendments to different laws related to Hindus and demanded certain amendments to the law to make it fair to both husband and wife and also to take care of our family system so that it doesn’t become another extortion tool like IPC 498a or the rape law. But BJP leaders showed that this law is indeed very good and should be implemented for both Hindus and Muslims. A view completely different from reality, a view that would endanger even Muslim families like they are endangered in IPC 498a today (see how a two month old baby from a Muslim family had to take bail in IPC 498a in Mumbai. Do you think this was free of cost and harassment for the family?). We understand that speaking against women empowerment is like inviting trouble for these political parties in 2014 election.

If common man is empowered too much they will start asking uncomfortable questions that may make it difficult for the leaders to rule them. Common man strives for their existence as they battle to buy justice and blame their own fate when they get into legal mess. They think their own family problem was just their own problem and don’t understand that the system is constantly designed in such a way so that people are kept busy fighting against each other under different rules of divide-and-rule game played by our leaders to keep their own power intact. Cases pile up in courts, each case drag for years benefiting only lawyers and legal machinery and harassing the common men and denying justice for everyone.

When money flows into the system from each individual, the same money is routed through different social groups and NGOs to the leaders and true women empowerment remains a myth. Women like my mother and sister become losers as some other unscrupulous women earn easy money by extorting other families through abuse of these laws. It is not that the politicians don’t understand that financial incentive provided in IrBM will increase divorce rate, create parent less households and create a situation like anarchy in India but the vote bank politics in the name of women empowerment keeps them going.

It is not that people of India support this law. This comment on IrBM news on Times of India website tells us what people think

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But still this will be passed in the parliament if we the common man of India don’t act now. It is important to identify the politicians who talks about any such draconian law empowering women and vote them out. We need to vote the politicians out for making such biased provisions that the Indians don’t approve of and consider as draconian and vote for anyone who support gender neutral laws with proper provision to curb misuse when we #VoteForIndia.


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2 comments

  1. I thank Nisha Sharma …… because eventually one day ….. not in too distant a future…..it is her case …. that will be cited to help men to free themselves from the yoke of 498A

    Like

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