Is the present political scenario promoting regressive patriarchy under the guise of pseudo ‘Nationalism’ ‘Religious sentiment’ ‘Hindutva’? To what extent are all politcal parties guilty of gender discrimination? These were some of the questions thrown up at an action packed gathering of women.
On 27th February Bihar Mahila Samaj conducted its 10th State level meeting at Youth Hotel, Gandhi Maidan, Patna. A seminar on the theme ‘ Women’s Movement: Challenges and the present context’ was organised on the occasion. Around 70 to 75 women from different organisations came together to discuss about the challenges of women’s protest and the present situation.
The program started with the folk song of IPTA students then it proceeded with the hoisting of Bihar Mahila Samaj flag by Ms. Shanti Ojha.
IPTA students again presented some motivational folk song and then Professor Nivedita Jha introduced all the dignitaries like Ms. Anne Raja, General Secretary of Bhartiya Mahila Foundation, Ms. Shanti Ojha, Professor Naval Kishore Choudhary, Professor Daisy Narain, Nasiruddin, journalist , Rahila Parveen, JNU Student Leader who were the part of the meeting.
Secretary General of the Indiam Women’s Federation Ms. Anne Raja spoke about the BJP government, linked with patriarchal, rightist ideologies trying to stifle dissent and gain control over the life of the ordinary citizens. Any person who raises their voice or questions the actions of the present government is labelled as an anti- national. Narendra Modi and his party appears to be subverting the entire public discourse, attacking the plural fabric of and promoting hard-line Hindutva agenda, she said.
Professor Naval Chaudhary stated that not just the Modi government, but other governments also have attempted to stifle the voices of the people and dissent. He gave the example of Indira Gandhi and the emergency. With the coming up of the new technologies, the women are the first ones to loose their jobs. Women are being exploited because of the neo-liberal policy. He made a point that there is a need to bring change in patriarchy based culture and tradition.
In her speech, Professor Daisy Narain said that Bihar Mahila Samaj opposes the malpractices and ideology spawned by patriarchal society. She said that even today, all over Bihar, the women do not have the right of decision making, even with issues that directly affect them. Bihar Mahila Samaj supports women in their struggle against exploitation .
JNU student leader Rahila Parveen said that 8th March is dedicated to working women and is being celebrated as International Working Women Day. She also added that we live in a country where various Goddesses are worshiped and it is good that people respect these female ideals but the sad part is that the people fail to respect the women in their society. A woman does not have the right to her own body, her decision of bearing a child or not is also not her own decision. She talked about the exploitation of women in Delhi University.
She added that six years have passed after reservation for women was discussed, but women have not got their 33% of reservation. Still there is a huge gap between the salary of men and women. People try to suppress the voices of women journalists and said that the women journalist have been threatened by right-wing goondas.
Mr. Nasiruddin a journalist said that Bihar Mahila Samaj also need to think about the problem of foeticide and also made the point that for changing the scenario of society people need put a full stop in discrimination based on gender. People need to teach their boys to respect not only those girls who are associated with their house but to respect all the girls around the world. They need to train the boys not as men but as a human being.
He also added that parents need to make their boys do the domestic work so that there is an end of the patriarchal society and to have equality for women.
Written by Seema Kumari