Saturday, June 12, 2010
Critique: A Students' Discussion Forum, Panjab University and Centre for Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Panjab University, Chandigarh in collaboration with ANHD, Act Now for Harmony and Democracy, New Delhi organized a discussion on the theme “Campaign Reservation Express” led by ANHD and other solidarity groups on 1st June,2010 at ICSSR, Panjab University Campus. The session was presided by Professor Manjit Singh, Director of Centre for Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy. Mansi Sharma from ANHD and Amrita Nandi from Sangat expressed their views as the main speakers.
Manjit Singh in his inaugural note problematized the theme and highlighted on the positive aspects of women reservation in the development of Indian democracy. At the same time he cautioned the fall outs of Identity politics and said “this reservation bill must not be subject of disempowerment of certain marginal sections of Indian society.
There after, another panelist from campaign Mansi Sharma spoke on the issues before women reservation bill and on their campaign, an important exercise to disseminate the voices of civil society towards passing of bill in the parliament, in the Lok Sabha. Mansi said that the passing of bill will provide a historical due as a compensating justice to the women in Indian mainstream democracy. However, she also highlighted the loopholes and fallouts of Indian politics and its impact on Indian democracy.
Amrita Nandi spoke about the deeper connections and historical aspects of women reservation bill. She was a little hesitant to accept the recent debate about reservation within reservation, where issues regarding inclusion of OBC women and other communities’ women came to the forefront.
Another round of discussion the women activists and members of the Karwan introduced themselves to the other participants.
In the question session there was heated deliberations on three important issues.
1. What is the guarantee that this women reservation bill will going to offer equal opportunity to subaltern section of Indian society where caste, class gender as a catalogue of social discrimination is dictating the whole debate about social experience of Indian democracy.
2. Another question came to the fore that connects with a debate about reservation within reservation. Where and how can we accept this reservation bill is a full proof in empowering the all sections of women as a category?
3. How to address the questions of inequality, social injustices and class discriminations based on diversity of the regions where electoral democracy only offers electoral gimmick but not the substantive assurance about social justice.
At last most of the participants agreed that though there should be reservation for women but with certain qualifying conditions where larger interest of the Indian polity can be accommodated.
The deliberations were coordinated by Ambuj Sharma and Vote of thanks by Lallan Singh Baghel.
Finally the Karwan left with hope to raise the consciousness of Indian citizens about women reservation bill and concerns of Indian masses.