Monday, January 14, 2013

Objects of convenient memory loss

So this is the end result of reforms offered by Manmohan Singh and his United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for uplift of over a billion population Indians. Cheer up my fellow citizens for numbers and growth rates are increasing at all levels, and if it goes as promised and projected, Manmohan’s Dream India will explode soon.

The writing is already on the wall with the sharp rise at all levels-prices, corruption, crimes, human development indices and last, not the least, violence against women. So much to its credit, the two successive UPA governments have clogged Indians at a crisscross over reforms and decline of human development. The far-left groups see him as an agent of World Bank to usher in capitalism in the country at the cost of rich natural resources and untapped human resources along with demand for more development.

Though the country at large remains a fast developing economy, according to a UN report, one in three malnourished children is in India. The human development rate is appalling and women are subjected to never-ending humiliation. The latest of all, the Delhi gangrape-murder of a 23-year-old girl who was about to tie her know, shocked the entire nation, but not the government.

If they have found a political mileage in the gruesome incident, the reaction would have been much aggressive and swift. It is so vivid the authorities took it as one among those rape incidents in the city. They failed to see an awakened young generation men and women, dismissed as apolitical and urban who are far from realities, have the courage to come together for a common cause. In a striking resemblance to Occupy Movement in the US and Tahrir Square protests, India converged at The India gate and Raisina Hills till restrictions were imposed by the authorities.

But the flash mob was quite unexpected for the government that they resorted to baton charging and use of teargas to disperse the crowd. The adamant mob, not only refused to stop their protests, but heckled Delhi Chief Minsiter Sheila Dikshit, and forced prime minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, to issue statements. The union Minister of Finance P. Chidambaram, on behalf of the government, admitted the failure in handling the flash mob as it was new in the country. But his convenient memory loss did not see the first flash mob during the anti-graft protests led by then Team Anna.

But these protests for women rights in India are unprecedented and even unheard of in Indian history. No party has led a movement to give women their due in the society or no collective effort was made to raise a voice for women. Women’s issues were exclusively meant for feminists and non-governmental organisations, whose efforts were often met with scorn. With more women breaking the four walls of their homes, society had no other option, but to welcome them with halfhearted love.

Moreover, women are needed everywhere as a promotional piece. Commodified to the core, she is an indispensable entity in show businesses to attract viewers; at shopping malls to lure customers; at boardrooms and offices to show gender parity; in political circles to show they believe in women leaders. To bring a difference in this situation, a sense of equality must prevail in the male psyche. No other reform is needed.

JANUARY 3, 2013 - The Gulf Today

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