The Widdershins

Activist Wednesday: A Tsunami in India Rolls In the 33% Solution

Posted on: May 19, 2014

Good Monday, Widdershins! An Indian colleague alerted me to the fact that India has just voted its incumbent Party out, after many years of stagnation and corruption. The victory was overwhelming, an Obama-style mandate (tsunami). He said the winning Party (BJP) is Conservative, pro-business, pro-middle class and pro-India. What he didn’t mention was that it is also pro-women.

First, a little context. The BJP is an outsider Party led by Narendra Modi, a lower-caste politician completely unconnected to the New Delhi elite. Now, this guy is not a fake like Obama, people. He actually is from humble beginnings, and overcame amazing odds to win the Presidency. Nonetheless, he did leverage identity politics to get there.

As a persona, Modi represents many firsts. He is the first prime minister to be born in independent India. He is also the first “backward” to have sailed into the country’s top political office by making his caste identity an issue in the election.

The new Party is not Conservative the way we think of the term. In other words, there is no agenda to make India a nation of one religion, modernization and representation are keywords in its approach to democracy, and it proudly espouses the rights of the young, the poor, minorities, the aged and sick, and women. From reading the Party’s Manifesto, I do get the sense that it is fiscally more conservative than has proven to be effective in other nations, and it also seems like a very nationalistic party. However, unlike our Tea Party friends who advocate mindlessly for less governance, more effective governance appears to be the main goal of the BJP.

I truly don’t have enough expertise to go into a detailed analysis of whether or not the Party is for real. I do, however, see much to hope for in the BJP’s Manifesto. Check out Page 22 and keep reading…you’ll see the part I liked best (where they pledge to preserve 33% of government offices for women), as well as a whole raft of encouragingly practical ideas for educating and economically empowering India’s women. Can you imagine Tea Party darling Rand Paul coming up with any of this? Or sadly, any of our “liberal” political friends? I think not. It is often only those who see outside their social class, or belong to a less fortunate one, who have the freedom and courage to discard conventional wisdom and propose solutions that are….”so crazy they just might work!”

I very sincerely hope that the BJP, unlike our symbol of Hope and Change, is going to keep its promises and usher in a new era in the world’s largest democracy. Perhaps our democracy, or oligarchy as Fredster recently pointed out, may be inspired to follow suit.

This is an open thread.

 

 

 

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4 Responses to "Activist Wednesday: A Tsunami in India Rolls In the 33% Solution"

While 33% does not reflect the actual gender demographics, it is certainly much better than what we have here.

Exactly, Chat. And as we know, there is evidence to show that once about 30% is reached, the electoral prejudices against women start dissolving, and women gain the momentum they need to get to 50%.

Given the ugliness of the tactics Der Roverer is using against Hillary lately, I cannot imagine a politician daring to propose this percentage, much less making it a key plank of a Party platform. Once again, a poorer and less educated country has officially recognized women’s importance in government before we have.

Many poorer and less educated nations have had women as President, or Prime Minister, as the case may be. India, Pakistan, the Philippines, any number of South American nations. Just not The “enlightened” US.

“Der Roverer” LOL! Great post MB. My late step dad lived in India for years and ran a large plant. He had amazing stories and film and pix of his time there.

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