Durga to Devyani: Women as 'punching bags' in political war

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Durga to Devyani: Women as punching bags
New Delhi, Dec 19: Times have moved on, but not our thought processes. Be it India or the United States, women have been the best and the softest targets to win a political war. It had started long back in partition politics when a country divided itself into India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and so did the identities of the women. The winning or losing of a warring country laid its foundation on the victimization of the women of the 'other'.

Irrespective of barriers, boundaries, languages, women were raped and killed, with an intention to taint the honour of their communities they belonged to. Women were punching bags then and they continue to be so even now. Barring rape, which has turned out to be a common phenomena these days, women have become soft targets in cold political wars too in India and abroad.

Durga Shakti Nagpal, is a forgotten name by now, but she still strikes a chord when we talk of vote bank politics. Clearly, she was the SP government's tool to win the minority votes in Uttar Pradesh. 'Tainted' by means of honesty, this lady bureaucrat's only fault was she figured out the political 'exchanges' going on between the government and the sand mafia.

It is not unknow that she had to pay for it dearly. She lost not just her post, but also her image. Hell broke lose when the SP government slapped severe allegations of causing communal tension against her. She was suspended for months and later transferred to a place where she could not reach the mafia nexus.

Once upon a time in Mumbai

Lets dig deep into politics and see. In a Times of India report titled 'Women bureaucrats 'overlooked' for key posts', it is clear how Indian politics sidelines the contribution of the women IAS officials. Clearly, officials like Shanta Shastri, Kumund Bansal, Chandra Iyengar, Manisha Patankar-Mhaiskar, and Malti Tambey Vaidya are leading a life of ignominy even after spearheading projects like health policies, universal education policies, women's policies, restoring MUmbai during rains and being the first woman IAS officer in India respectively.

"Some of us have served as home secretary, additional municipal commissioner, public health secretary and revenue secretary. We are sure that in the near future one of us will be appointed as chief secretary or BMC commissioner. WE are nothing less than our male counterparts", said a senior officer, echoing the hopes of many more.

Besides these women of essence, there is one more fighting the brutal law of a foreign land, perhaps for a fault that she never committed.

Fighting in a foreign land?

Devyani Khobragade, a top diplomat in the Indian Embassy there, was arrested, humiliated on charges of violating the US laws of labour and producing fake visa documents. Though India stands united for her, it is yet to be seen where this politics goes.

Experts here believe that it is not merely a diplomatic arrest gone the wrong way, it may have a political undercurrent-a "deep rooted conspiracy". The whys and hows are unknown, but reasonings come in tides, especially if we study the allegations minutely. If Devyani had stated that she would pay a salary of $4,500 per month to the household help cum babysitter, wasn't it for the US to verify how she could have managed to do that with her salary of $4,000?

Where was the maid since June last year since she went absconding. How did she get to know where to go to lodge a complaint? And why this letter now from her in India claiming that she was treated well by Devyani.

As tension brews up in her case, a number of questions remain unanswered-the prime one being What was the arrest all about? Is it a political war that USA wishes to wage out with India? or is it something that the US is avenging.

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