On Sunday too, when my nani underwent a surgery on her fractured pelvic bone, her four daughters took care of her, fretted over her and stood by her like the pillars of strength nani would have expected from her sons.
It was on late Sunday evening that I first saw this huge hoarding in my city welcoming the first woman President of India. In a country that leaves the job of choosing the heads of state – real and constitutional – to a woman (Mrs. G – 2 did after all propel Manmohan Singh to the PM’s chair, before lending her support to Patil as President), and in a state that is lead by another woman, however unflattering she may be to womankind, it’s not too hard to imagine why that hoarding was up there.
But it does seem ironic that despite this celebration of womanhood, I’m not sure being a woman is such a wonderful idea. On Friday last, a girl on the Lucknow railway station was gang raped and thrown out of a moving train, leaving her physically and mentally scarred for life. In another case on a TV channel, a man married twice because his first wife couldn’t beget him a son! In Nagpur, a racquet involving exploitation of aspiring Bollywood actresses was unearthed by the police. Don’t ask me why this should happen in a country where the most important positions are occupied by women.
The question is, apart from proclaiming Patil as a woman achiever, what has Sonia Gandhi done to improve the situation of women in our country? Or Mayawati, or Jaya Lalitha for that matter? As women in power, they could have been powerful agents of change to correct the gender inequalities in our country, but they have chosen to play along with the stereotypes that women must be slotted in caring to break the mould only for their own sake.
How ironical that while women who claim positions of importance in the public sphere do so little for others of their ilk, while common folk make so much of a difference.