Last week has been a week of elation for Indian women…
First an unknown woman called Shayara Banu stood her ground against all social pressures and asked the Supreme Court for justice. The Supreme Court did do justice by giving the verdict against instant triple talaq. This was a victory for women in terms of equal rights. This was also a victory for democracy because in other forms of governance an unknown woman shall remain unknown and her trials and tribulations mean nothing. This was a victory for all those women who are dealing with domestic violence, with marital rape, with rape, with dowry demands and many other social ills… it tells them that there is hope. For those women who are relatively freer and treated better it’s a lesson to remember that equality is a hard fought battle, and that it continues.
In all the celebrations that followed, we, the “Mango” people forgot the small detail that the central government did not do anything to appease a certain section of the society like a certain other government did in 1985. It’s important to state this here because many women who are from the more affluent sections of the society fondly remember the then “good looking” PM who set us back by 30 years in the fight for equality.
India unfortunately has always been a land of Godmen and Godwomen … while it’s also the land that reveres every living thing ! There is this strange attraction to babas, fakirs, soothsayers and astrologers and many “men” have used this to their advantage. I have a simple yardstick – if any Godman or Godwoman identifies with any religion, is unable to even control his/her desire for food or builds an empire, they have nothing to do with God or Man. Stay away from such folk. But it’s easy for me to say it… for millions who are ostracised, due to caste, creed, politics, colour etc one of these Godmen or Godwomen becomes the saviour and then it’s like the insect stuck in a spider’s web :(.
Two such women were caught in “baba” Ram Rahim’s web and they took the daring step of going to court way back in 2002 and filed a case of rape. I don’t think I have the courage that these two ladies have displayed !! To go against an extremely powerful man who had every politician in his pocket and enough money to buy out policemen and maybe even judges …. needs superhuman courage.
The judge dealing with the case also showed courage under the same fire as these women because the “baba” has only gotten more powerful in the 15 intervening years. The sick “baba” Ram Rahim was pronounced guilty last week finally. While the aftermath was horrific and the jury is still out on whether the CM of Haryana did the right thing or was caught napping, it was a victory for two unknown women ….. and again the Central Govt came out smelling roses because, it didn’t interfere fearing loss of a section of their vote bank. And this convict “baba” had jumped over the political fence and helped the ruling party to win. They still didn’t interfere – no loyalty, eh ??
While the last week was a women’s week …. it was also a week that showed India is changing for the better. I am hoping some of us can see the shift, and keep aside our negative bias against the current PM and help in making this new norm a rule – governments not interfering with the law of the land. I know Prime Minister Modi is a wily politician and plays his odds carefully but in these two cases, even if his political clout gets stronger, it has benefitted the women of India… tremendously. The appeasement policy seems to be losing its charm as well, which augurs well for the country.