Last 3 weeks have been different, if not turbulent times for women. 5 states of India witnessed Legislative Assembly elections. 2 powerful, self made women were into election foray and had promising future- Ms Mayawati from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Ms Irom Sharmila, founder of new political party Peoples Resurgence Justice Alliance(PRJA) lost badly. While Mayawati was crusader of Dalit rights, it was hoped that she would consolidate Dalit and Muslim votes in the wake of increased atrocities on both communities in Samajwadi Party (SP) ruled Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) ruled other states. Irom Sharmila, on the other end, was on hunger strike for 16 years to repeal AFSPA (The Armed Forces Special Powers Act) in Manipur state. She broke her fast last year and formed PRJA to fight the battle politically, but unfortunately, she got only 90 votes from more than 22,000 total votes. Does it mean women who challenge establishment of power- caste, patriarchy, armed forces- are certain to loose public support? In UP assembly, 38/403 elected members are women, not even 10% of total elected representatives. However, political parties and analysts boast that this is the highest number since independence. 50% population represented by less than 10% elected representatives. Sad but true.
International Women’s Day was celebrated on 8th March. Market was wooing women (which looked as if it was targeting them as objects of pleasure). Pourakarmikas (sweepers), working with Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) went on strike for proper wages, safety and social security. Across India, women constitute roughly 90% of sweepers and manual scavengers. They also form around 70% of unorganized sector workforce. Denying and delaying rights to workers affects women directly and to a great extent.
I strengthened bond with two amazing friends Sarbani Mallick and Sujata Mukherjee, both founders and abled leaders of Bubbles Center for Autism and Ashwini Charitable Trust respectively. Great women of passion, hard work, dedication and unbound love – are inspiration for me. It was great meeting them and working with them in the recent past.
A cousin, Lara Bhatt is scaling heights in cycling. None of the family members has ever followed any sport. Lara is cycling and training hard for higher goals. She recently finished 1600km in 86 hours. A great achievement!! With this, she is 1st in Maharashtra and 2nd in India (so far) to achieve this distance and time frame. Kudos!! I will post her interview soon here. I want to share stories of extraordinary women around us to make WomenOWomen truly a space for women.
My daughter, Ruju is at an important milestone of her journey – appearing for class 10 board exam. We both share tension.
That’s all about women till we meet again 🙂