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Friday, February 3, 2012

From My Desk: जागते ख्यालों की रातें

From My Desk: जागते ख्यालों की रातें: रात का वक़्त सोने के लिए होता है और आमतौर पर लोग रात को सोते ही हैं. पर कभी- कभी ऐसा होता है की नींद आती नहीं है या शायद हम खुद ही सोना नहीं...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Life with Pen and Papers: Escape to Nowhere

Life with Pen and Papers: Escape to Nowhere: She was running…Speedily...without any pause.. She was just running fast. Why, what was the reason? Don’t know all she knew that she was run...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Visit Laguna Beach for a Life-Long Experience

 Laguna Beach Hair Salon is one of the major attractions of this seaside city. These salons are providing the most exotic and comfortable atmosphere to rejuvenate your mind and body. They are offering wonderful beauty, makeover and hairstyle services. They have the best stylist and makeup artists, who provide excellent individual attention and consultation services to each client. The spa, body massage and various body therapies work magically on you and when you come out of salon, you would be able to see a new person in the mirror. Laguna Beach Hair Salon is famous for their boutique made beauty products that suit your skin perfectly. These hair salons are considered as the Best of Laguna Beach. A major chunk of tourist who come to Laguna Beach, love to hire the services of these salons, therefore, those are major source of income as well. Wedding theme parties, body treatment and other beauty treatments near beach make you feel the experience called Best of Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach is not just about beach-sand, sports and beauty styles; in fact, it has a lot more to offer you. During summers one can witness, the amazing Laguna art festival, Master of the Pageant festival and some other festivals as well. Here, the artists represent various forms of visual arts. Laguna art museum is also located at beach and attracts large number of tourists every year. When you visit these places, you can find why they are called, Best of Laguna Beach. Laguna Hair Salon is known for their artistic hairstyles, ethnic nail treatments, designs, and beautiful designer clothing lines. A number of well-equipped spas and salons are located on Laguna Beach and much capable to cater all your beauty related needs.

Laguna Beach is the hot favorite tourist destination and known for its unique Laguna Hair salon experience and for all those things that can be included in Best of Laguna Beach.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

One Year of Right To Education Act : A Good Take-Off, Still A long Way to Go

On this April 1st, a whole year passed when the Right To Education Act was implemented with a vision, that from now onwards no child will remain outside of the school. Every child (for the age group 6 to 14) has a legal/constitutional right for getting compulsory, free, elementary education. The NCPCR (National Council For protection of Child Rights), is mandated to monitor and overview the implementation of act across the nation. The state governments have to establish the state unites of NCPCR to provide the inputs regarding the execution and performance of act at grass-root level.thees state units will monitor the execution of act as well. But till date only a few states have notified the act, that are, Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh, Odissa, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh etc. Obviously it is not a pleasing scenario and clearly indicate the negligence and indifference about the act.

 The School Management Committees are a unique feature of this act, because these committees are responsible to monitor the execution of act at every individual school and further assessment of the  various Claus followed by school administration to improve the quality of education. These SMCs will be formed with two third members from civil society members. Moreover, the SMCs are the primary level of grievance addressal mechanism. Rajasthan is the only state where SMCs are established in all government run and government aided schools. Maharashtra has also shown good progress on this front, whereas other states are completely lacking at this front.

In short, the idea is good; the process to execute the idea has been started.  The implication of RTE could be seen as a step forward towards a more just, equal and civil rights base society who is well concerned about the future of its children. This act has opened a door to the world of possibilities, opportunities and accessibility to each section of society.

However, is it the only picture of the one year performance of RTE act, answer is is not the whole picture. There are many other fronts where the act is badly lacking or better I should say that execution of the act is not proper. The biggest question is how to take these efforts or initiatives further? The RTE act has made a timeframe of three years for fully implementation of its provisions. Those schools, that will be failed to implement all the rules and regulations given in law, would loose their authority and recognition after three years. Therefore, it becomes necessary to review the performance of last one year.

 State governments are not taking interests to implement the act, (what so ever reason they have). Therefore, it has become a tough task for NCPCR to get the data and inputs regarding the execution of act. The NCPCR itself is facing a number of problems; one of them is lack of adequate trained staff and network of ground workers.

Apart from that, there are some other issues between state and centre. One of them is the definition of elementary education. In many states, the elementary education means class 1st to class 6th, where as in RTE act it has been defined from class 1st to class 8th. Another issue is about the child labour, the act made it compulsory to bring all children up to 14years in to the school. But there is no provision to bring those lost kids into school, who are working in industries, hotels or at homes.

The RTE act emphasis a lot on physical and academic infrastructure; academic infrastructure means the trained teachers and adequate study material. Physical infrastructure includes a pukka school building, separate toilets facilities for girls and boys and drinking water facility in school premise. Because many surveys has revealed that absence of separate toilets is one of the major reason for the drop out of girl students. The act also make provisions for playground, library, fully-furnished class-rooms and equipped kitchens for mid-day meal schemes. The act clearly talks about to create a child-friendly atmosphere for quality education.

 We all know that many government run and government aided schools, even private schools do not have above mentioned facilities. Libraries and playgrounds are kind of luxuries for them. If talking about academic infrastructure, than there is a huge gap of at least half million trained teachers. In Rajasthan, where in last few years many primary (most of them are Rajiv Gandhi Swarnjaynti Pathshalas) and upper primary schools were promoted to the higher level, do not have a single teacher or adequate teachers from last 3-4 years. As per the provisions of act we need 14 lakhs trained teachers but hitherto we have only half million of them. There are at least 8 states that are facing the problem of less trained teachers and U.P. is the leading state among those. If we are going to close the unauthorized and unrecognized schools after three years  due to their failure in following the norms of RTE act than what back up plan we have for those thousands of students who are studying in those schools?

The government says that those students will get admission in there nearby schools, because as per the act no school can deny the admission of a child, especially if he/she is residing in the one KM area of the school. But how many schools are following this norm, in fact they can not fulfill this Claus, because they do not have adequate teaching staff and physical infrastructure to handle so many students. If we take example of capital city Delhi, than even in present session, hundreds of students were denied from admission due to above reasons. Some 3000 children got admission in city school after the intervention of state commissioner of NCPCR state unit.  Therefore, when the capital city is facing such kind of troubles than what we can hope from other states. At present, eight million students are out of school, due to various reasons and they belong to different strata of society.

Here it would be appropriate to discuss the 25% claus, act says that all schools including private once who do not get any funds from government are also bound to reserve 25%seats for weaker section children. But government has not issued any kind of guidelines or notification regarding implementation of this claus. Therefore, many schools have escaped this norm very easily. In Rajasthan, in the present session, the private schools have not reserved 25%seats for weaker section. The biggest excuse they are giving that they have not received any such  notification from government, so now its not possible to give admission those EWS kids.

While talking about the 25% claus, let’s discuss its other aspects as well. The government has declared that it will bear the expenses of school fee and books-stationary. Fine, it is a very good, the poor children and their families will certainly feel relaxed and happy for such a generosity of government. But are these the only expenses in a private school? No, not at all, there are a number of other expenses, fees and charges that a normal student has to pay. From educational tour to lab charges, picnics, cultural functions and tours and so on. When the children of weaker section would not be able to pay those extra charges than obviously the teachers and school administration would become biased towards them. Won’t it lead to a new sort of discrimination?

Some states like Uttar Pradesh are complaining for fund shortage, as the implication of act is a collective responsibility of both center and state. But, this is half truth, there is no single state that has fully utilized the fund allotted for SSA. Obviously, that fund and budgetary allocations are hardly an issue.

The major issue is awareness generation, the national coordinator of RTE, Kiran Bhattey, herself accepted that awareness regarding the act at ground level is very less. Principals, school administration and teachers are not well aware of all provisions and features of RTE act. This is such a poor condition and improvement is not a lone responsibility of government or NCPCR, here the role of civil society organizations and whole social community become very important.

Now we come to an issue which has not gained much attention yet but in future it will emerge one of the key concerns regarding RTE act. The Right to Education is now a fundamental right, therefore, if the right is denied, violated or the school failed to provide quality education or if the child faced physical or mental harassment in the school, than the child or his/her parents can go to court to get the adequate compensation. The act also banned screening test, corporal punishments, donation etc. In last one year Delhi unit (NCPCR) alone received 11,000 plus complaints regarding the violation of act due to various grounds that include admission denial of EWS (economically weaker section) children   The NCPCR received 230 complaints in last one year regarding education system and other complaints of parents towards school. A civil organization of Delhi advocates has made a report of  more than 200 pending litigation against schools.

Need not to say that if the schools failed to implement the regulations of act properly, than we will sure see a sharp rise in public litigations filed by parents or other social organizations on various ground such as absence of quality education, untrained teachers, insufficient infrastructure of school etc.

So what the call of hour is to make the grievance address system more effective and efficient. In the present form of act, there is no one single responsible person to whom people can approach for the complaints. We need to make sure that the SMCs should not become formal organs without community participation and adequate powers.  A grievance addressal mechanism at Tahsil and Taluka level is also necessary, to resolve the problems at grass root level, because a legal suit or litigation, court hearings etc will only put economic and mental burden on parents and finally will effect the education of child. Court should be the last step when all other mechanism have been tested and failed to provide Solution.

Conclusively we can say that a stone of foundation has been laid; now it is a collective responsibility of the whole society to make a strong and beautiful structure upon it.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

सामाजिक विकास -- एक विस्तृत व्याख्या

सामाजिक विकास एक बहुआयामी पद (टर्म) है, इसे कुछ निश्चित परिभाषाओं या सीमाओं के अंतर्गत देखना कठिन है. सामाजिक विकास को परिभाषित करने से पहले हमें विकास को जानना ज़रूरी है. विकास का अर्थ एक निश्चित स्थिति से आगे की ओर प्रगति, परिवर्तन और उन्नति से है और प्रगति-परिवर्तन की यह   मात्रा  और गुण दोनों स्पष्ट रूप से दिखाई देने चाहिए.  समाज के हर तबके की उसमे हिस्सेदारी हो कोई वंचित या छूट गए या खो गए लोग नहीं होने चाहिए ....तभी हम मान सकते हैं  कि विकास की दिशा और दशा सही जा रही है.   

सामाजिक विकास एक समग्र प्रक्रिया है जो अपने भीतर एक निश्चित समाज की समस्त संरचनाओं यथा ----आयु, लिंग, सम्पत्ति तथा संस्थाओं जैसे ---परिवार, समुदाय, जाति, वर्ग, धर्म, शिक्षा आदि को समेटे है. उदाहरण के लिए एक आदिम जनजातीय समाज  की संरचनाएं और उनसे जुड़े रीति-रिवाज एक आधुनिक समाज से पूर्णतया भिन्न होंगी. जनजातीय समाज मुख्यतया   कुल, परिवार, रक्त सम्बन्ध आधारित होता है, जबकि आधुनिक समाजों का गठन हम देखते हैं कि कहीं अधिक जटिल और विस्तृत है.     

वर्तमान आधुनिक और उत्तर आधुनिक समाजों में विकास को शिक्षा के प्रसार से पैदा हुई जागरूकता और धर्म, जाति, भाषा, क्षेत्र के कमज़ोर होते हुए बंधनों, महिलाओं और विभिन्न समूहों की स्थिति में आये परिवर्तन और सामाजिक स्तरीकरण में उनकी  उर्ध्वाधर प्रगति और इसके अलावा समाज में बन  रही नवीन संरचनाओं व संस्थाओं के रूप में देखा जा सकता है.          

पहले बात की  जाए इन नई  संरचनाओं की, जो सामाजिक विकास के प्रत्यक्ष परिणामों को दिखाती हैं. ....

शिक्षा के प्रसार ने लोगों के मानसिक-बौद्धिक स्तर को उठाया , उनके लिए नए आर्थिक अवसरों और क्षेत्रों को जनम दिया . सबसे  महत्वपूर्ण  लोगों को अपने अधिकारों की जानकारी, उन्हें प्राप्त करने और उनकी सुरक्षा के विषय में सचेत किया. शिक्षा ने लोगों को उन्मुक्त किया , उन्हें परम्परागत बंधनों व रुढियों की फिर से समीक्षा करने को प्रेरित किया है. महिलाओं का पुरुषों के प्रभुत्व वाले क्षेत्रों में काम करना, देर रात तक काम करना , लड़कियों की शिक्षा -व्यवसाय और  विवाह के प्रति  बदलती मानसिकता और समाज द्वारा उनकी स्वीकृति ( लिव  इन, सिंगल मदर) ये सब विकास की ही प्रक्रिया का अंग हैं.

 क़ानून  के क्षेत्र में जनहित याचिकाएं, न्यायिक सक्रियता जिससे लोगों की न्याय तक पंहुच आसान  हुई. सामाजिक सुरक्षा के प्रति  सरकारों की संवेदनशीलता और तत्संबंधी कानूनों का निर्माण   (भारत में RTE , RTF , RTI ) ये सब एक समाज के परिपक्व होने , उसके लोकतंत्रीकरण और उसके नागरिकों के अधिकारों की स्थापना का परिचायक है. समाज में लैंगिक भेदभावों का कम होना,  विभिन्न वंचित तबकों का समाज की मुख्य धारा में शामिल होना ये सब सामाजिक विकास के विविध राजनीतिक, आर्थिक, सांस्कृतिक पहलुओं को दिखाता है.  

सामाजिक विकास की बात करते समय हम राजनीति और अर्थ को उपेक्षित नहीं कर सकते. क्योंकि यही किसी भी समाज को चलाने  वाली दो प्रमुख चालक  शक्तियां हैं, बहुत सीमा तक विकास प्रक्रिया की सफलता-असफलता इन्ही दो बिन्दुओं पर परखी  जाती है.  

आर्थिक संकेतकों  में गरीबी, रोज़गार की उपलब्धता, भोजन और अन्य मूलभूत आवश्यकताओं  की पूर्ति किस सीमा तक हो रही है, आय की विषमताएं और आर्थिक अवसरों और  उनसे पैदा होने वाले सामाजिक तनावों  आदि  को मुख्य   रूप से देखा जाना चाहिए  .. 
 लेकिन सामाजिक विकास क केवल इन्ही दो बिन्दुओं पर नहीं आँका जा सकता ..क्योंकि ऐसा  देखा गया है कि कई देशों में आर्थिक या राजनीतिक विकास तो हुआ लेकिन सामाजिक दृष्टि से पिछड़ापन और सामंती समाज की प्रथाएं बनी रहीं है..जैसे मध्य पूर्व के देशों जैसे ईरान या सउदी अरब में हम देखते हैं कि अर्थव्यवस्था तो पर्याप्त  विकसित हैं  लेकिन  लोगों को नागरिक स्वतंत्रताएं नहीं मिली हैं.  महिलाओं की सार्वजानिक  भागीदारी पर बहुत सी बंदिशें हैं, धार्मिक सहिष्णुता का भी अभाव है...  यूरोप और शेष विकसित देशों  में हम देखते हैं कि समाज का ढांचा बिखरने की  स्थिति में आ गया है..इसलिए वहाँ आर्थिक और राजनीतिक विकास होते हुए भी एक सामाजिक संकट की स्थिति है..

भारत जैसे देश में राजनीतिक विकास हुआ है पर सामाजिक विकास के नज़रिए  से अभी  हम बहुत पीछे हैं,  दलितों पर अत्याचार की  घटनाएं,  कन्या भ्रूण हत्या (हालिया जनगणना के आंकड़े) , ग्रामीण क्षेत्रों और विशेषतः महिलाओं  की  स्वास्थ्य और शिक्षा के क्षेत्र में पिछड़ी हुई स्थिति, नक्सल प्रभावित  क्षेत्रों को हम चाहे क़ानून -व्यवस्था की समस्या कहें या आर्थिक हितों का संघर्ष कहें लेकिन ये भी हमारे सामाजिक व्यवस्था की विफलता को ही दिखाता है क्योंकि हम उन्हें समाज कि मुख्य धारा में शामिल नहीं कर पाएं हैं..   गरीबी और भुखमरी की गंभीर समस्या, जातिवाद और आरक्षण  की राजनीति का बढता प्रभाव, ये सब सामाजिक विकास की बड़ी खामियों   को दिखाता है.... 

 सामाजिक विकास की बात करते वक़्त हम आर्थिक उदारीकरण, वैश्वीकरण   और आधुनिक संचार/सूचना तकनीक के पक्ष को रेखांकित करना नहीं भूल सकते. क्योंकि ये महज़ एक प्रक्रिया नहीं अपितु अपने आप में एक क्रान्ति है, जिसने सामाजिक विकास की प्रक्रिया की गति को तीव्रतर  कर दिया है..

उदारीकरण और वैश्वीकरण ने हमें चुनाव की आज़ादी दी, अपनी अलग पसंद बनाने की आज़ादी , अपने लिए बेहतर या सर्वश्रेष्ठ  सेवाएं/ वस्तुएं पाने की आज़ादी दी है. सूचना/ संचार क्रांति ने सभी परम्परागत सामाजिक-सांस्कृतिक  बंधनों को तोड़ दिया है या यूँ कहें कि उन्हें एकदम  हाशिये पर धकेल दिया है   अब हमारे सामजिक सम्भंधों को बनाये रखने और उन्हें विस्तृत करने में मोबाइल फोन, पर्सनल कंप्यूटर, फेसबुक, ट्विटर महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका निभाने लगे हैं. 

"संस्कृति"  "ग्लोबल" होती जा रही है और "ग्लोब"  "लोकल" हो रहा है.....अब चूँकि हर सवाल का जवाब गूगल या याहू पर उपलब्ध है..ऐसे में समाज और उसका विकास केवल अपने आस-पास के वातावरण से नहीं अपितु वैश्विक सन्दर्भों से भी प्रभावित होता है. उदाहरण  के लिए सरकार जब भी सामाजिक सरोकारों से जुडी कोई नीति/योजना  बनाती है फिर चाहे वो जनसँख्या नियंत्रण, शिक्षा, स्वास्थ्य, सामाजिक सुरक्षा  या चाहे क़ानून व्यवस्था का मुद्दा हो..  हम तुरंत उसकी तुलना विश्व के विभिन्न हिस्सों में चल रही वैसी ही अन्य योजनाओ से करते हैं..उसे जांचते  हैं और उसे  अपने सन्दर्भ में लागू करने के लिए सुझाव ढूंढ लाते  हैं..

अंततः सामाजिक विकास का कोई निश्चित प्रतिमान या खाका नहीं हो सकता .. सामाजिक विकास कहने और देखने में भले ही एक सामूहिक प्रक्रिया है लेकिन इसके प्रभाव और परिणाम व्यक्तिगत  स्तर पर ज्यादा  बेहतर ढंग से देखे जा सकते हैं.. और इसलिए  विकास  को विभिन्न सन्दर्भों जैसे आर्थिक सशक्तिकरण, राजनीतिक क्षमता निर्माण, महिलाओं, दलितों और आदिवासी समुदायों की बेहतर स्थिति, शिक्षा, रोज़गार, स्वास्थ्य और दूसरी सामजिक सुरक्षा योजनाओं की सार्वत्रिक गुणवत्ता युक्त उपलब्धता
आदि  में देखना  होगा.  

पितृसत्तात्मक  समाजों में महिलाओं की भूमिका और अधिकारों की स्वीकृति, सांस्कृतिक रूप से विविधतापूर्ण समाजों में विभिन्न समुदायों को समान अधिकार, स्वतंत्रताएं  और उनके बीच सामंजस्य , एशियाई समाजों में अपनी पुरानी सामाजिक-सांस्कृतिक विरासत का तालमेल आधुनिक मान्यताओं के साथ बिठाना विकास के  मुख्य मुद्दे हैं.  

 भारत के संदर्भ में उपरोक्त  सभी मानदंड लागू होते हैं, अतः हमारे लिए एक समग्र और समावेशी विकास प्रक्रिया की आवश्यकता है. ..जिसमे राजनीतिक और आर्थिक परिलाभों का समान और न्यायपूर्ण वितरण भी शामिल हो...साथ ही हमें ये भी समझ लेना चाहिए  कि सामाजिक विकास कोई नीति निर्माण, सरकारी कानूनों या निर्णयों से निर्देशित या नियंत्रित होने की चीज़ नहीं  है..इसके बजाय इसका सीधा सम्बन्ध  प्रगतिशील मानसिकता, समय के अनुसार खुद को ढालने और सामंजस्य बिठाने और नए तथा पुराने के बीच एक समन्वय पर आधारित जीवनशैली से है.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Women Empowerment Still a Beautiful Dream

The term women empowerment is commonly used in various contexts. If one, need to define it than one would describe it in terms of social and gender equality, economic independence and capacity building, political representation and freedom to take decision at her own. However, we all know that it is not as simple as it sounds. In India, several social and cultural practices contributed to keep women oppressed and deprived from their just rights. Even after independence, the situation did not get any better, child marriage, malnutrition, maternity at early age, female feticide, low sex ratio, indifference towards female literacy and many other social evils could not been stopped in spite of government efforts and laws. 

The second half of 70s decade is an important turning point in India when the women movement got a formal identity. Women related issues such as, their security, special treatment, freedom, gender biases and female literacy etc. has raised a hot discussion among the intellects and government as well. GOI had made amendments in civil and criminal laws to ensure the women security and dignity. 90s decade brought a new wave in women movement, many NGOs, civil organizations and advocacy groups emerged and started getting enormous funds and aid from both national and international sources for the betterment of women and female child. The era of economic liberalization also affected the conditions of women, gave them more opportunities to get education, good jobs in various fields, and increased the age of marriage. The information revolution also played its role in changing the mentality of a common person towards women abilities and skills. Internet made our world smaller yet vast in context of information and exposure to rest of the world. It broken up the mental blockades and broaden up our vision.

However, our experience says that not all that is enough. The data of literacy among women, sex ratio, drop out ratio, nutrition level, maternal mortality and infant mortality rates shows that the “Glass of Empowerment” is still “Half Empty” and it even has a hole in the bottom of glass.  Even the labour done by women as household chores, including assistance in farming and cottage industry, counted as non-productive in our 15th census. Women workers in unorganized sector get lesser salary than men and in organized sector there are many positions where women are not much welcome or don’t get promotions easily. Take example of Civil Engineering; companies or individuals do not prefer female civil engineers, reason, “how she will handle the labors”.

Women security inside home and outside the house is another key issue that need separate attention. Security is a pre-requisite for any kind of capacity building and empowerment, if a woman is not safe in her own house or at work place, being molested by family members than how we can hope that she would be able to ask for her rights. 

In the last session of parliament, the GOI approved the bill of Protection for Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace. This could be one of the most important laws until date, because it will empower the women to raise their voice again any kind of harassment and exploitation at workplace. Also ensure their security at workplace and offices. The bill is not just limited towards the employees but also cover each of those women who come to a workplace as visitor or in any other form. The bill has a clear definition of harassment and exploitation including physical and mental harassment and it also makes provisions of suitable punishment for such acts. The government has still to enact it, but the question is, how many women know about this bill and related process like how to complain, whom to complain etc.  
Another important bill is Protection against Domestic Violence; it covers all female members of a family and even those women who are in “live-in” relationship. Still the main issue is awareness, what is the use of bill and law when the targeted beneficiary do not know about it or not able to take its help. Domestic violence is an issue where the police also don’t like to interfere and many times suggest the woman to go back home and make some adjustment. Many times the police don’t bother to register the Fir and So-called “Mahila Thanas” do not have adequate female staff while it is mandatory to appoint female in-charge and constables to address the grievance of complainant. Same or may be a bit different situation can occur with Sexual harassment bill, in such a incident of harassment (specially in physical harassment) a woman have to first complain to her office committee and later on to a district level committee. Now this would be a challenging task for government to establish such district committees with adequate female members in every district and compulsory implementation of office level committees. However, the success of these bills is depend on that how many women will dare to come forward to register any such complaints of harassment and willing to face the probable consequances. 

In last few years, the uproar of “Women Reservation Bill” occupied lots of space in print and digital media and among the intellectual discussions. It is said that the reservation will help to make our politics and policies more women centric and sensitive towards their interests. The central government has already given 50% reservation for women in local bodies and Panchayats but when it comes to state and central legislative assemblies, they are talking only for 33% percent. That too is not acceptable by all political parties and has contains many objections and demands of amendments. The thing why women participation is not much welcomed at state and central level is because these are decision-making bodies where Panchayats and Municipals are only executive bodies. Moreover, a free and unbiased use of voting right is a key factor of election politics and we all know that in semi-urban and rural areas women are not free to use their vote. It’s a common tendency in these areas that the women of house will cast their vote according to the directions of the males of the family. Illiteracy is the biggest reason behind this condition and of course male dominative mentality who thinks that politics and related decision can not be made by women. 

Let’s take the example of other fields as well, take the example of sports federations, no woman is holding top most positions of any sports organization/institution/federation. Though women players are grabbing medals and awards in all major sport events (national or international) but when comes to decision making process or key position form where they can control or direct the structure; their presence is usually not much welcomed. The corporate sector is a kind of exception where a number of women are not only holding the key positions but also successfully running the business. But here also we need to keep one thing in mind that many of them have a strong business background or they were promoted by their family. Though not each one of them still such examples do exist and when we read about the success of brands like Parle, Kinetic Honda, Peeramal, Reddy’s etc.  than we can not forget the background of their leading ladies. Here, banking sector is an exception where women are holding key positions of leading banks. 

Often the education or increasing level of literacy considered as a solution for above problems or hurdles. But is it the only magic vend? I don’t think so, because if increased education could solve the problem or make the conditions better for women than the problems of dowry, domestic violence, female infanticide and female feticide etc. would have reduced. However, we all know nothing as such happened, not even the era of liberalization/globalization made any significant change in these things. In fact, it is also a false notion that an educated woman is free to take decision for her life and related issues and live according to her choice. Still education, career, marriage and reproduction are the most crucial issues where women have to respect the wishes of family, specially the elder members and male members.  

However, women empowerment is not a subject of law but a matter of social, cultural and mental practices. And here I would like to mention a latest tendency which is not completely new but now a days it has posed a new threat for those women who wants to get married with another caste man. Yes, I am talking about those so-called “Khanp Panchayats” and their medieval fatwas of “Honor Kiling”.  In all such cases, a woman or a girl used to become target because they are not just human being but a living symbol of family pride and prestige. Therefore, if she is going against of her family than sometimes the couple or sometimes only the girl has to face the death penalty. These caste panchayats are working as independent judiciaries and people also follow their orders without much objections. Hence, the root of problem lays somewhere in mentality and age-old social customs. Law and order has its own limitation, government can not enter in somebody house to implement the law, it is our responsibility to give our daughters/sisters a beautiful today and better tomorrow.  
These days a new term is getting popularity among the supporters of women movement, which they are using to explain the root cause for the condition and status of women in society and that is “Mental Empowerment of Men”. Because they says that women are well capable to achieve their goals and objectives , they have all the abilities and skills to prove themselves but it’s a inferiority of men who do not want to see the women as taking decisions and implementing them as well. Nor the men are willing to allow the women to go against of establish system and its rules and regulations. The recent incident of AirIndia’s flight, when a passenger refused to board in to plane because a female pilot was the commander of flight, shows the backward mentality. However, the flight administration did not permit him to travel in the flight.  A person who is traveling by plane, obviously belonging to upper class, one can assume that he would be well-educated with modern outlook and when such a man behaves in a hypocritically manner than what should be said about those who are less educated and belongs to rural or semi-urban regions.

However, I would like to conclude with words of President Pratibha Patil; she rightly urged in her speech at Punjab University that women empowerment should not be seen as a matter of competition, where men and women are rivals but “Men should be the partners in Women Empowerment”.  A respectful approach towards women of our own family and other females is the call of hour, if we are moving towards 21st century than we have to show this progress not just through science-technology or economic prosperity but through our mindset and behaviors also.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Alternate The End of Uff Saree, Hai Saree – Fictious

“Can we go home now?” Veeren bhaiya asked us.
“Oh yes, we are very much tired and feeling sleepy”, both of us replied together.
“Thank god you people are tired”, and with this comment he moved towards parking lot and we also followed him. I was thinking about wedding function, divya and of-course saree, once again my eyes blinked and a smile ran on my face.

We were walking across the pathway from the entrance gate of marriage hall to parking lot, when I saw a patch of mud and water in the middle of path. I tried to cross that patch with a small jump and in that try, my feet, first tangled and then shuffled with saree-fall and before I could understand anything, the next moment….oooo..auuu..ew… I was on the ground. Both of my legs got twisted and saree was spoiled with mud. All this happened within the fractions of minutes, I cried with pain, but Yamini and Veeren both broke off in a laughter that made me angry and I felt embarrassed too. 

“I knew it, I knew it will happen…I told you this saree is a total flip-flop idea, but you did not listen to me, in fact who listen to me awww….why me always?” I shouted on mini. She somehow controlled her laughter and helped me to get up; Veeren bhaiya also gave me a hand. My shouting and din was continued, “how many times I told you and divi, I can’t carry a saree, but you guys did not listen a single word of mine and now see this..”. I was almost about to cry.

“Calm down, you will be fine, no one saw you falling in mud”, mini sympathize with me, but I was not in a mood to listen her.
“ Both my ankles are twisted and you are laughing,”

Yamini scolded me in a bit harsh tone, “shut up sonu, don’t cry like a little baby, it’s a small injury and you will be fine.”
I growled and again started accusing Divya’s saree idea, my voice was enough loud to disturb the silence of night.  We were going towards car while quarreling like idiots. Due to pain in my legs I wasn’t able to walk properly, so I was walking slowly and that too with mini’s support and our collective noise of shouting was reverberating in the air. Suddenly, we heard a voice…. A sharp, harsh and loud one...

“What’s going on here, what kind of noise is this, what you girls are doing here at this time?”  Our necks with all our senses and brains turned into the direction of the sudden bombardment of questions… those were two police constable!!!. For a second none of us spoke anything, but then Yamini took a lead, “Sir, my name is Yamini and I am a law student, we came to attend our friend's wedding,” with last words she pointed her finger towards marriage hall, which was now seeming a bit far from us. They did not pay attention to mini’s words and looked towards me with an investigative sight (god only what was going on in their mind) one of them asked,” What happened to you, why are you shouting and where do you live?”while the other one was keep staring me. I was speechless and numb, Yamini quickly answered, “she slipped on mud, over there” she pointed again. But his eyes stuck on me; finally, I opened my mouth and said, “Yes I fell down”.

Before this interrogation would have extended long, Veeren bhaiya came toward us with fast steps, “what happened? Any problem?” he looked at us, but asked the constables. “Who are you?” the questioner constable asked bhaiya. Bhaiya replied with a soft tone, “Sir I am Veeren Bhaargav and these are my sisters, we came here to attend the wedding function..” but the other constable asked. “Show me your license “.
When all this interrogation was going on, Yaamini saw Divya’s maternal uncle at the entrance gate of marriage hall and she shouted from her place..”uncleeeeee,” thank god he was not alone, two more gentlemen were with him. Rest of the story was quite simple and predictable, Divya’s uncles and Veeren bhaiya had a word with the constables and within a few minutes they once again disappear in darkness from where they came.

We too felt relaxed and moved quickly towards car and get into it.  I who was totally quiet and dumb during this entire episode, finally, opened my mouth and said..”I will never forget this wedding…gosh..this is really too much”. I pretend as if I am a poor girl who is trapped in such an awkward situation. Now it was Yamini’s turn, she looked at me with anger, “it is all your fault you idiot ..if you would have controlled yourself than this could not have been happened, but no, you are a master in inviting troubles, god only knows what the hell those constables were thinking about us when they hear your screams and yells. You are such a fool”.

“what!!! Was that me?...Excuse me, my leg..” but before I could finish my sentence, Yamini shouted, “oh yes your leg, as if it is such an important news that you have to tell each and everyone in this world”. I did not speak anything after fact, we both remained quite after that and meanwhile Veeren bhaiya came and started driving car. As the car started running, the cool and refreshing breeze started flowing our anger and our stretched nerves also started to calm down. Yamini and I look to each other, smiled and then broke into a laughter….