Winds of Change #YesIDidIt

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Dharapuram is a small village nestled amid the verdant hills of southern India. Around the corner, change was stirring, but the people were oblivious. The villagers were preparing for the upcoming local elections, a routine event that had always unfolded predictably. Men would run for office, women would vote, yet their voices remained unheard in the council chambers.

Among these women was Vasudha, a 40-year-old school teacher. Smart and articulate, she had always been a keen observer of the political dynamics in her village. She noticed how decisions made by the all-male council often overlooked or even hindered the needs of half the population. The lack of schools, healthcare facilities, and safe public spaces for women and children were glaring issues that were repeatedly ignored.

One day, as she walked through the bustling village market, Vasudha overheard a group of women discussing the upcoming elections. “What’s the point?” one woman lamented. “Nothing ever changes for us.” Vasudha paused, her mind racing with thoughts. It was then that she made a decision that would alter the course of her life and her village.

“Politics is not a woman’s play,” scoffed Ramesh, the incumbent council head, as he sipped chai at the village square. “Let her try. The council is no place for idealistic dreams.”

Vasudha, undeterred, walked door to door, her sari fluttering like a banner of defiance. “Why should we suffer in silence?” she implored the women, her eyes alight with determination. “Our voices matter. It’s time they are heard.”

Vasudha announced her candidacy for the local council. Her decision was met with a mixture of surprise, skepticism, and support. Motivated by the desire to bring about tangible changes and ensure that the voices of women were heard and acted upon, she embarked on her journey to challenge the status quo and advocate for more inclusive governance.

In her small, dimly-lit living room, her husband Arun watched her prepare for another meeting. “Aren’t you afraid?” he asked, his voice tinged with worry.

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One evening, as Vasudha laid out her plans on the dining table, Arun looked up from his tea, his brows furrowed with concern.

“Vasudha, politics is a treacherous path, especially for a woman,” he said, his voice laced with worry.

Vasudha’s eyes narrowed. “Not meant for me? Because I am a woman?”

She paused, then smiled softly. “Fear is a luxury we can’t afford, Arun,” she said. “If not me, who? If not now, when?”

Arun sighed, the lines on his forehead deepening. “It’s not just about stepping forward. It’s about the backlash, the talk of the village. Our lives will never be the same.”

Vasudha’s voice was firm. “Arun, I am not made of glass. I have ideas, strength. I can’t let archaic notions dictate what I can or cannot do.”

She reached across the table, her hand gently covering his. “Change never comes easy, dear. But imagine a future where our daughter can walk safely, where she has the same opportunities as any boy in this village. Isn’t that a cause worth fighting for? And I fear for what will happen if we remain silent. I need you with me in this, Arun. Together, we can face anything.”

The tension between them underscored a deeper personal struggle, reflecting the complexity of changing gender roles within their own relationship.

“Arun, do you not know about the significant advancement towards gender equality in Indian politics that revolves around the Women’s Reservation Bill, also known as Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam?”

“These are all hoaxes, Vasudha.”

“Not true,” Vasudha pressed. “Passed as the Constitution (128th Amendment) Bill, it aims to reserve 33 percent of seats in the Lok Sabha, state assemblies, and the National Capital Territory of Delhi for women. This law, officially promulgated on September 29, 2023, represents a substantial effort to address the gender disparity in Indian politics, where women currently occupy only about 15 percent of Lok Sabha seats, and in many state legislative assemblies, less than 10 percent of seats are held by women.”

Under the dim light of their kitchen, Arun’s voice trembled with unspoken fears. “You don’t understand, Vasudha! If you win, they’ll say I am less of a man. They’ll mock me, saying I’m overshadowed by my wife.”

Vasudha, her patience waning, retorted sharply, “So, this is about your ego? About what others think?”

“It’s not just ego,” Arun shot back, frustration evident. “It’s about respect, about the order of things. I don’t want to be the husband who is pitied because his wife wears the pants.”

Arun, grappling with his emotions, fell silent. The conflict laid bare the complex interplay of societal norms, personal pride, and the struggle to adapt to changing gender roles.

Arun’s traditional views were shaped during his childhood in a small, conservative village. Growing up, he observed a clear division of roles: men handled public affairs and politics, while women were the caretakers of home and family. His father, a respected village elder, often said, “A man’s strength lies in leading, a woman’s in nurturing.” These words echoed in Arun’s mind throughout his life, creating a deep-seated belief that politics was an unsuitable and harsh arena for women, a place where he feared Vasudha’s gentle nature and nurturing spirit would be undervalued and possibly even harmed.

Vasudha’s eyes flashed with anger. “And what about my aspirations? Should I suppress who I am because of archaic notions of pride and ‘order’?”

Arun, though initially hesitant, stood by her, proud of her courage.

Two Years Later in the Future, 2025 The Story Unfolded.

Her campaign was a grassroots effort. Vasudha visited every home, spoke at local gatherings, and held small meetings where she listened more than she spoke. She talked about tangible changes – a new school, improved healthcare facilities, and safer streets. Her approach was different; it was not about promises, but about practical solutions.

On the day of the election, the village saw an unprecedented number of women at the polling booths. Their presence was a silent yet powerful statement. When the votes were counted, Vasudha had won by a significant margin. The village had elected its first female council member.

Vasudha’s victory was not just a personal achievement but a beacon of hope for the women of Dharapuram. Her success inspired other women in the village. Vasudha’s journey in Dharapuram was a testament to the power of representation. It showed that when women are part of the decision-making process, it leads to more inclusive and effective governance. Her story was not just about gender equality in politics but about the transformation it brings to communities and lives.

We women have to move forward now, to bring a change in the future.


About the Author

Sharda Mishra

I am a photographer and an avid reader. I am not a writer but I like to give words to my emotions. I love to cook and hike. I believe in humor and its impact read more...

25 Posts | 30,503 Views

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