Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Mint with a Hole in it: The Women's Reservation Bill

Everybody from media persons to chaiwallas and politicians to pickpockets have a favourite topic of conversation: The Women's Reservation Bill that was passed by the Rajya Sabha with a brute majority.Not on the 8th Of March 2010 to celebrate the symbolism of association but on the 9th after some jacks were jacked and the rest of the pieces of the board played out their parts in the expected sort of way. Check mate.
Other reservations too have been enabled in this country of extreme ambiguities and diversities. I love diversities of some kinds: linguistic, cultural, religious, even sexual. But some binaries need to be resolved such as rich/poor, masculine/feminine, literacy/ illiteracy. The problem I have with reservation of any kind is on grounds of a) philosophy and b) opportunism. Philosophically speaking the freezing of binaries as it happens with the institutionalizing of binarism leads to the disadvantaged locked in a perpetual place of iniquity rather than the opposite that is desired. Political opportunism in this context is of a purely sectarian nature that articulates redress for inequalities while hoping that these inequities remain so that with the nurtured illiteracy, electoral milking is perpetuated. Those who speak of a quota within reservation are free to create their own quota while allotting tickets. This will save valuable time in parliament to discuss other issues, hopefully some that pertains to education, an issue that for various reasons features between 1 and 2 in a scale of 1 to 10. After all, education is a resource for the future, and nobody except Kapil Sibal wishes to risk a proposition that cannot be measured in the carefully manufactured graphs that laud the government's achievements. Hence, reservation for women measured at 33%. What about quality education for women?

But that's another story. And unless Sonia Gandhi become the story-teller of this tale and Manmohan Singh can fix the stats, the story will never be told.


  1. I appreciate your feelings! The funny thing is that women 'need' the men to give them access to the parliament! And without education, can the women decide the actual course of action without male intervention? Comments made on the bill by wives of political readers are given a different colour the next day itself. In that case, one wonders at the 'tied down' thought process of these women.

  2. I have deep reservations about reservations of any kind, and I'll reserve judgement on this one!

  3. Reservation of judgement is also a form of reservation except that the Government of India does not have stats on that one and it is of no electoral advantage.