In a country like India where religious sentiments are preferred over practical decisions, it is inevitable that the deity gets to rule the masses. Unfortunately for women, during past centuries the male chauvinist society has used this weakness in its favor and the women are bound to be treated as second level citizens.
In ancient times women had little role in political issues. Although they were not allowed to actively participate in administration, at least their advices were taken into account. But as the time progressed, their role in decision making became more and more restricted and their status in the society saw a steep downfall.
Middle ages saw some women like Razia Sultan, Noorjahan, Rani Durgawati, Rani Laxmibai and few others placing their names in history just because of their leadership skills andshear brevity, but otherwise there were no place for women in political issues.
When India became a British colony, movements for women upliftment became stronger and a small class of women became educated. With the advent of Indian National Congress, women like Sarojini Naidu, Vijayalaxmi Pandit, Sucheta Kriplani, Aruna Asaf Ali and many more actively participated in Indian freedom movement.
After independence the literacy rate for women kept on increasing steadily, but participation in politics never saw any positive improvement. At present the percentage of women in Lok Sabha is highest after independence.
After Indira Gandhi’s assassination, there was decline in the number of women in parliament, but after a decade a new race of young women politicians filled her shoes and became new hope for Indian politics. Mayawati and Mamta benarjee are two prime examples of those politicians whose impact on Indian politics cannot be underestimated. They denied man supremacy, fought hard and came up as victors.
Apart from them some women politicians were backed by the legacy that their family members left for them. Rabri devi despite of being illiterate became chief minister of Bihar under the shadow of her husband Laloo Yadav.
The most powerful woman in the world Sonia Gandhi was a housewife once,she was forced into politics following the death of her husband Rajiv Gandhi. Today she is a role model for many budding politicians .she not only crossed the language barrier but also kept party interests above her personal desires. Former president Prathiba Patil is the only woman president in the history of Indian republic.
Currently there are 60 women parliamentarians among 543 members of Lok Sabha while their participation in Rajya Sabha is much less. If we talk about the root level, the condition becomes worse, gram and district panchayat have a clear reservation of 25% seats for women but the real number is far lesser. A woman gets into the politics only when her husband seeks advantage in it. In many cases husband is the real driving force behind his wife’s campaign.
During past few years the women literacy rate has increased at a rapid rate. One can think that education will turn the fortune of women politics upside down, but in reality education plays little role in politics. It’s the attitude that’s needed to be changed. This male dominating society should accept the administration skills of women. If a woman can take a decision about her home affairs, she should be given a chance to decide for her country’s sake. The ice has steadily broken in other sectors, now this is the time to take a step further.
Post by- Seetesh