Opinion: Why women shouldn’t sign up for #MainBhiChowkidar
The thing that surprised me most about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s all-guns blazing #MainBhiChowkidar campaign was not that our cabinet ministers obediently added the chowkidar prefix to their Twitter handles or that your WhatsApp Uncle bought the T-shirt and made the #MainBhiChowkidar song his caller tune. What surprised me was that women embraced the idea of policing and signed up to be part of this exercise.
Sure, you see female guards in schools, hospitals, hostels and in factories that largely employ women. Karnataka-based Safe Hands 24×7 Services Pvt. Ltd even says it focuses on hiring women for this profession. The state of Bihar said it would hire transgender security staff in its shelter homes after widely reported sexual assaults on female inmates.
But the private security industry is largely a male preserve. Indian men guarding what belongs to other Indian men—their houses, their cars, their families. Forget equal land and inheritance rights, in many countries around the world, women are still viewed as property, and men, their chowkidars.
Chowkidars, according to the PM’s updated definition, are all citizens who fight corruption, dirt and social evil. Surely all Indian women know to be wary of this tag?
The first thing men want to do when they get carte blanche to fight and guard against “har burai” (every evil)—as the PM exhorted 2.5 million chowkidars last week—is to overpower that most dreaded of social evils: the buri aurat (the bad woman). In other words, the self-aware woman who is political, unpredictable, disobedient and not easy to control.
Enough feminist poets from the subcontinent have sung paeans to this woman. In O Achchi Ladkiyon (O’, Good Girls) by Pratibha Katiyar, the poet urges women to break the patriarchal straitjacket of the good girl and live a little:
Source : Livemint