An analysis of Indian political scenario gives us an idea of identity politics and how it shapes our policies. As much as we delude ourselves that Indian ethos is united, we must acknowledge that diversity is a tough ship to sail. Our pluralistic population enables politicians to form campaigns to pander to every possible sub identity within India.
However, let me introduce you to a subset of population who have put their group’s interest below other groups. A subset whose unitary voice is broken down by the external lines of divisions. This group though extremely large choose to identify within even smaller minorities or ethno-religious subsets. They are none other than woman!
It’s bad enough that many Indians vote on caste, ethnicity and religious basis with a herd mentality. Has there been a dedicated party to pander to women’s votes? Was there at least any party who made it a major agenda that women’s rights take priority? Will we ever have our own social revolution analogous to the ’60s feminist revolution of the west?
Sedition is illegal! Hurting religious sentiments is illegal? But misogyny, however extreme, was never classified as hate speech most of the times in India. We are grateful that the founding fathers of our country made sure that women’s constitutional rights are secured. But is that all? Must we rely on the good graces of a rare few good men who have stark humanitarian values. Will a democracy really pave way for more humanitarian society instead of dissolving itself into a mobocracy?
The only solution is that we must urge every woman in India to put aside petty politics and think beyond! The only man who is truly disadvantaged by women empowerment is a misogynist. If you really doubt my statement then please ask a man if he would like to live in Saudi Arabia or Sweden. If we are willing to put man-made labels such as caste, religion and language in effect our political decisions, please don’t be ashamed to do the same for your gender. As much as its OK to vote as a Savarna, Dalit, Muslim, Christian, please don’t forget to vote as a WOMAN!