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Governance

 

An under-appreciated fact about Indian politicsis the influence of women in it. This is extraordinary, especially when we consider the oppression of women in the subcontinent forages. India’s two major religions- Hinduism and Islam, have in the past been practically hostile to the emancipation of women, when compared to the western cultures. Yet, women power in Indian politics in unmatched! Well, has it done any good to the nation?- is thequestion we must ask.

We have to agree on the fact that, except maybe Mamata Banerjee, most powerful Indian women leaders had their paths paved by male patronsMayawati and Jayalalitha were the protegees of Kanshi Ram and MGR, respectively. Both Sushma Swaraj and Sonia Gandhi had their husbands in active politics. Although, we must also acknowledge that all these ladies have faced, and overcome, strong male opponents, even without the support of their political gurus. Sonia Gandhi, inspite of being a non-Indian by birth, drove Congress in two successive electoral victories, thereby becoming the longest-serving president of Congress. Mayawati rose to power, inspite of being a dalit, in a state most subject to caste discrimination. Jayalalitha, inspite of being a Brahmin, mingled into the anti-Brahminist political climate of Tamil Nadu. Mamata’s journey was probably thetoughest of all, as she fought the rule of communists in every nook and corner of Bengal, and finally overthrew it. (Not that I am trying to glorify any of them, but without any personal prejudice, the truth must be told!)

But leave alone their womanhood, have even their political leadership helped the country at all? While Sonia Gandhi has promoted a culture of flatteryMayawati and Jayalalitha have pronounced autocracy and corruption in their states. While Sushma’s dependence on the Bellary mining mafia puts her personal and political integrityunder serious question, Mamata’s mood swings have made her one of the most ridiculed politician of today. Today, we have reached a stage whennone of these five ladies can be trusted with political leadership.With these women rising to power and failing to meet their expectations, not just India but the world laid on their shoulders, has the nation lost a great opportunity?

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