A lot of how our life shapes up depends on how we are born. One of the more defining birth factors for quality of our future life is the financial health of the parents. There are more factors of course but I have picked finance and put it aside to start with because it is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult to get rid of. To the financial mess, add a mix of caste and gender, and things become a lot more complicated. I do not mention the hierarchy of caste or gender here because we are living in an age where any permutation and combination of this set has its own disadvantages. A poor and discriminated-caste born individual has to tide over his social suffering in addition to the wealth crisis. A meritorious upper caste but poor individual has no advantage over the reserved category candidate (financial status notwithstanding) who is inferior to him in intelligence and effort. Add gender here and we get into a whirlpool of problems.
Now take out all other factors and see the female case exclusively, women face discrimination for being born a woman in many social spaces. Now, here lies their problem. While you can still outgrow your caste or migrate to a more egalitarian society, you cannot get away from your gender. As gender is a biological truth, the discrimination takes a more hideous turn and can affect a woman of upper caste as severely as it can affect someone from the lower caste. From the first challenge of not getting sacrificed for a male child and ‘getting a safe birth’ to do everything that comes a tad easier for men, in our present society, women have to battle hundred things to earn a livelihood and lead an independent life. This becomes even more challenging if she is born to poor or discriminated-caste parents. Some do not try, some try but fail, some do not want to try, and then some try and succeed. During this struggle, these women ask many difficult questions to the society. They make themselves aware of their rights and then demand that their rights be protected.
The answers are more difficult than they seem to be at first sight. Therefore, our leaders promise many CCTVs to see the problem more clearly. Then, they realize that the metro fare hike has hit women the worst. They throw a free bus and metro ride pass at them – “please take this free bus pass, you are safer now in Delhi buses. I am hereby buying your vote!”
Arvind Kejriwal is not the problem. He is just another politician who has mastered the art of milking the rotten ecosystem of bribing the electorate before every election. If our politicians had the integrity of thought, there would have been more and better buses on roads, panic buttons and GPS tracking on all buses. There would be more street lighting and better last mile connectivity for commuters, male or female. There could have been free public transport systems for all Indians without burdening the exchequer. Mr. Arvind Kejriwal likes to tell his voters to take the money other parties offer them and still vote for the broom, his party’s election symbol. Times can change quickly. Sadly, he is the one offering that money now. The voters will keep it, just the way he prefers. It remains to be seen whom they vote for next year. A party’s rhetorics and manifesto for the upcoming elections can easily posit themselves as the report card of its manifesto from the previous elections. A dropped promise means that the promise couldn’t be delivered as the Government was busy begging alliances and fighting other elections in the country. A promise added with freebies means that the promise fetched votes last time around but couldn’t be implemented because they were never supposed to be implemented but have the potential to work again if made with some free gifts. A promise finding a place again without any progress or addition means that the party is waiting for a majority in the Rajya Sabha.
The 2015 manifesto of AAP speaks about CCTVs in all buses. Delhi is going to vote again in 2020. AAP has promised to install CCTVs again. Of course, just CCTVs will not be safe enough for the AAP to secure their seats this time. They need some free passes to ride their luck in 2020.