“Not for a gender war” 11 May 2011

Sano Vamuzo knows. She knows that no society can ever evolve into a fine entity if it indulges in an unnecessary gender war. And therefore she explains that the objective of reservation of seats for women is only to give space to women in civic organizations to enable them to contribute their best to the society. As chairperson of the Nagaland Women’s Commission, Sano Vamuzo has been an integral part of the process of creating more space for women in Indian social scheme so that they make a greater contribution to the society’s efforts of genuine growth. After all, years of watching the rather disappointing social scenario vis-à-vis women, Sano Vamuzo realizes the importance of special efforts to offer women opportunities of playing a creative and a useful role – for the good of the larger society and also for their own self-actualization. The purpose is not to unleash a gender war; it is, on the contrary, to create a healthier gender balance in the modern-day Indian society.
And so she said in a statement in Kohima, Nagaland’s capital citry, “It should not be taken as men versus women, as we are inseparable.” The whole world is realising the importance of gender equity, she added while appreciating the efforts of Nagaland’s Urban Development Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu for making determined efforts to ensure 33% reservation for women in civic bodies and also push an amendment to the Municipal Act to this effect.
This is a very mature and correct approach. Unfortunately, on this front, India has not done very well. For, the decision at the highest level to implement 33% quota for women in civic bodies is being treated more as a political move rather than as a step towards women’s emancipation. Politically- oriented people look at this as an effort to capture the huge voting constituency of women. And on the other hand, male chauvinists look at it as political machinations to unleash a gender war in the society.
Both are wrong.
For, the efforts to give women good enough space to make meaningful contribution to the process of societal refinement only indicates a recognition of women as important stake-holders in all the endeavors of the society. Thus, there is a spiritual aspect to this, which most miss unfortunately. That is exactly why there are many who suspect machinations to promote an unnecessary gender war. Sano Vamuzo has understood this well and has sought to dispel uncalled for doubts.
On behalf of all women, therefore, I wish to thank Sano Vamuzo for her insight. She represents a class of people who have understood social dynamics correctly. She is one of those few who know that gender war will only destroy a society. So, she has sought to explain things in a correct perspective.
When I take a good look at the social scene in our country, I realise that women are yet to get the position of honour they deserve. No doubt, they are progressing in every possible field, in every possible direction. A woman – Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil – has even become the President of India. Women have entered every profession – from corporate management to defense services to high level scientific research to film direction to literature to music…..! And yet, the larger Indian society is yet to recognize women as equal shareholders of opportunities to evolve to their fullest potential.
I would love to be wrong in this observation, but I do believe that the Indian women are not getting their due respect because men may be wary of women’s potential to occupy critical positions in the larger Indian society. They may be apprehensive that women may start replacing men in many fields.
This may be wrong and this should be wrong. For, in my vision of Indian society of modern times includes an absolute gender equity not as a matter of men condescending ‘some’ status upon women, but as a matter of great social evolution. My vision, and also that of many, many more, also leads to dream of a larger Indian society in which women will rise to their fullest potential with the fullest support of the society by default. An integral part of this vision is also a clue from the ancient past of India when women were scholars of the ‘Vedas’, participated in high levels of philosophical discourse, were judges in courts, made political decisions like waging wars or launching peace initiatives… In medieval times, things got distorted and twisted out of shape. That distortion is still continuing, and the effort now to correct that distortion, and not to promote any gender war.
Sano Vamuzo, as an example, fits the bill well. I only hope that this vision of this woman from Nagaland becomes part of a national agenda of promoting absolute gender equity and not a gender war.

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