Move Over, Men

Women have moved out of the shadows of men in all walks of life

Manu said this and Manu said that, misogynistic pronouncements, ostensibly that from Manu Smriti, which are being trolled onFacebook by neo-liberals all the time. But I remember a hasyaraspiece from the iconic Surendra Sharma, who said in a very old Doordarshan show:

“Manu ne kaha hai, dhol, gwaar, shudra, pashu nari

Yeh sakal taadan ke adhikari”… to meri biwi bolee

“Isme kya baat hain, ek jagah main hun, chaar jagah aap hain”.

The meaning is, Sharma tells his wife that Manu says the drum, low castes like shudra, animals and women, are only fit to be beaten. His wife retorts, “But that’s excellent, I am just in one of the categories and you fit into the rest!”

Truly, men have perforce dominated the world for millions of years. Since the time hunter-gatherers became ‘civilised’ and entered the pastoral economy, the property came into existence and thus started patriarchy. This has persisted through the prevalence of vile practices such as the French feudal system of Jus Primae Noctis, or a right consummating a marriage granted to someone other than the bridegroom by the law or customs of some cultures. Even now, an otherwise highly educated state such as Nagaland is seeing a violent revolt only because women are demanding their rights to contest local body polls, but the men won’t give in. But at Parliamentarian, we have our noses to the winds of change, with the positive beckoning us. So here we are, with a full edition on “Women To Watch” in every possible field, science to sports to films to business, politics and whatever else.

Our Senior Editor Sharad Gupta profiles the women in politics, where he says that a Dimple Yadav phenomenon, among others, calls for a careful evaluation of how women are changing the political landscape. If politics is rough and tumble, no less is a sport, and our guest columnist Saibal Chatterjee has sifted out those few women sportspersons who are, as he says, “Waiting for Glory” for the country.

From Tamil Nadu, now in the turmoil after one woman died and another was sent to jail, N Asokan features Jothimani, a Congress politician who had started from the ground, risen to the top but chose to stay grounded.

In Kerala, Jwala Foundation’s Aswathi is working singlehandedly to not just feed poor people but to see how they can generate their own incomes to feed themselves.

The problem of witch killing is very old in parts of Assam and North Bengal. Rajeev Bhattacharya traced out Birubala Rabha, a tribal woman in a very remote village, who crusades against witch killing and uses women’s education to fight the evil.

Senior science communicator ArchitaBhatta has delved into a usually neglected area, the arena of science, where she profiles two leading women scientists who are spearheading that vital engagement on India’s dreams of becoming a ‘soft superpower’, that is, Dr Swati Basu and Dr Renu Swarup.

The redoubtable Alam Srinivas, specialised business and economic scribe, has looked into the social dynamics of women driving the corporate engine and portrayed ladies like Isha Ambani, Radhika Piramal and others. And in the dream world of films, many women, profiled by our Managing Editor Geeta Singh, says that it is no longer about ‘body beautiful’ for our ladies, but they are spreading across Bollywood behind the camera, on the editing console, and even in financing.

Meanwhile, on other areas, senior analyst Sankar Ray has written on Trumpism and its current status, and we also have a profile on the woman who’d take all but failed in Tamil Nadu. This is an issue that gives me immense satisfaction, and I hope it does to you as well.

Do share your thoughts with us. Happy Reading!