Search: Look for:   Last 1 Month   Last 6 Months   All time

Women in Panchayats, a partnership that works

Ranchi, Sat, 06 Aug 2011 ANI

Ranchi, Aug 6 (ANI): In the tribal society of Jharkhand, women have always held a pride of place. The heinous treatment, discriminatory trends that dog many parts of our country, especially in rural areas are not part of the mind-set, the cultural, social ethos of these communities.


Traditionally, in tribal societies women have always been aware, vocal and pro-active in many areas of family and community life. What would be interesting is to overlay this traditional role to the processes of panchayati raj that are being strengthened in this state which has seen a long hiatus in the working of democracy at the grassroots. Elections to panchayats were held after 32 long years.


It is in the election results that a convergence became clear, between the role of women, evolved over generations with a more direct opportunity to influence and impact governance at the local level. Some 27,000 women being elected at various levels in the three-tier Panchayati Raj.


Of course, a woman in local governance is not a Jharkhand-specific phenomenon. It is part of an evolution of Panchayati Raj over the ages, given a fillip by several national leaders and social activists and given concrete form through the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution.


Participation of women, which has been growing in all fields of activity, was felt to be imperative at the level of the most basic unit of governance, our panchayats.


Their perspectives on many aspects of allocation of resources, of priorities of social issues for are seen to be invaluable for a more holistic and harmonious development. The reservation of 33 percent seats for women in local governance began in the early 90's was a step to concretise this intent.


What the recently concluded elections have shown is that women across Jharkhand are poised to play a role which would help them hone their skills and capabilities in participatory democracy, to make development processes more expansive, more inclusive.


The policy flowing out of the 73rd Amendment, followed by steps taken by the state government to reserve 50 percent of seats in Panchayati Raj for women has served to concretise this role. It has in sense given women a position of strength, recognition and a legal endorsement of their position to participate in governance.


These are the underlying processes that have marked the lives of women like Salma Besra, up-mukhiya of Baisila village of Sohda of Eastern Singhbhoom who was elected unopposed. She is educated till Class X11 and from a young age was driven by a social mission.


She says, "I wanted to get involved with social work after my education because I have seen the poverty of the man standing on the lowest step of society's ladder."


The point for this young woman came soon after her father's death. It was a fork in the road and she decided to discontinue her studies to plunge in to work as a social activist. She began by fulfilling what she saw as a gap in knowledge and awareness amongst people related to their welfare, entitlements for their betterment.


She moved about the village talking to people what she had learnt or understood. About the importance of education, of healthcare, the need for good roads and how they could benefit from a slew of existing government schemes. Yet she realised that there was something missing.


Despite her efforts, villagers remained unmoved in terms of taking action to garner their entitlements, to take steps in their own and the village development. Nor was she, as a leader able to take steps, which could demonstrate the good, that such steps would bring, to actualise the fruits of development, in their lives and that of the entire village.


This was a point of revelation for young Salma, who saw the immense potential of power within the governance system to make that change. This coincided with an opportunity to stand for elections, which Salma decided to contest.


She won and a new stream of consciousness, both personal and public began for this young woman. She was elected ward member and later as up-mukhiya. For Salma, from the beginning, the access to power was to better the lives of people who she represented.


She says with a new-found authority, "Now, I am in a position where I can make decisions. I can prepare development programs for villages and also suggest new policies."


She adds, "Now I am able to many more things for my village."


Somewhere, she believes, it is her education that has shaped her, her expanding vision for society. She uses her clout within society to proclaim the importance for education for all.


It is clear that women like Salma have benefited from the move to bring women's participation in local governance, centre-stage. But in a sense, she along with all the others who have now entered what was once the hallowed precincts of authority represent an aspiration from the ground of more representative, holistic, responsive governance.


In this tribal dominated society, in the social, economical and political system that has evolved over time, the role of women has always been significant. With the strengthening of the Panchayati Raj institution by the Indian Constitution and the adherence to its letter and spirits by the state government, this could bring in a new influence in the processes of governance, which will be the harbinger of change on the ground.


Jharkhand can look forward to a phase in which its women whose capabilities and talents within the traditional society will be called forth to play a much wider, more significant role as elected representatives. The Charkha Development Communication network feels that within this system of governance, they would be able to contribute much to development at the grassroots. By Aloka Kujur(ANI)


Read More: Soh | Kuju | Besra | Pancha | Baisi

Manohar Lal being presented with a memento
Manoj Tiwari BJP Relief meets the family members of late Ankit Sharma
Haryana CM Manohar Lal congratulate former Deputy PM Lal Krishna Advani on his 92nd birthday
King of Bhutan, the Bhutan Queen and Crown Prince meeting the PM Modi
PM Narendra Modi welcomes the King of Bhutan
Post comments:
Your Name (*) :
Your Email :
Your Phone :
Your Comment (*):
  Reload Image




Excellent Hair Fall Treatment
Careers | Privacy Policy | Feedback | About Us | Contact Us | | Latest News
Copyright © 2015 NEWS TRACK India All rights reserved.