With every passing day, a new political outfit or a popular personality is joining team anti or team pro-Bhansali. Men and women alike are either busy opposing the release of his upcoming movie ‘Padmavati’ or rooting for him. Somewhere in this blizzard, actress Deepika Padukone, who plays the titular character in the said film, found a price of Rs 10 crores on her head. And only a few female politicians came out to condemn this threat.
A rich superstar, who has admirers from all walks of life, and has represented India on global ramps and in film, failed to find support from female politicians from her own country. How then, is an average Indian woman, with no political or power backing, supposed to feel assured that these women will stand up for them.
The 2014 elections saw the highest number of female MPs ever to be elected in India. Women won on 61 of the 543 seats in Lok Sabha. A measly 11.23%. 61 women representing 586.47 million Indian women. Naturally, we had a lot of expectations from them. But as usual, politicians have been a letdown. They get caught up in the political battle to retain their constituencies and seats so bad, that’s what 48.5% of Indian population expects from them becomes secondary. And the condition is no better in the states being led by women.
Right now three states in India – Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and West Bengal have female chief ministers. Amongst them, one came out in full support of those who wanted to ban the release of ‘Padmavati’. But not a word of criticism came from the female leader against those from her state who threatened to behead a woman.
Does this mean that once you become a politician, your loyalty lies only with your vote bank and party? Whom should, then we look up to, to stand up for us on national and state platforms?
Men are always accused by us of being prone to corruption from power. We call out when they abuse it for sexual favours and monetary gains. But the naked truth is that power corrupts all, and it makes you catatonic. You walk a thin razor-sharp line in perpetual fear because now you have to please everyone. And you have to watch your own back. Under such circumstances, we can empathize sometimes the stands these women have to take. There is no question in the amount of pressure they are under.
The rate of crimes being committed against women has risen from 41.7% in 2011 to 53.9% in 2015, according to NCRB.
Women are feeling less and less safe with each passing day. And in situations like these, it is the responsibility of our female politicians to lead from the front. They need to channel their forces and consistently resist the temptation to compromise on the front of women’s well-being for political gains. A line needs to be drawn somewhere and these women will have to draw it themselves.