WOMEN’S RESERVATION BILL SPEECH
Hon’ble speaker sir, I thank you profusely for having given me this opportunity to speak on this historic Women’s Reservation Bill 2023. Sir, as our party DMK and our dynamic leader Chief Minister MK Stalin Thalapathy, have been the torchbearers of women’s empowerment, I rise here to support the bill. While I appreciate the initiative, I do have my own fears, anxieties and doubts. Sir, I opened up to read the bill with huge expectations that it will lead women to enter into untrodden paths so far they have not experienced and into unchartered territories. But again, I ended up with huge disappointment. It is like a post-dated cheque in a bankrupt bank. And it’s like a betrothal with so many ifs and buts and we are not sure when it is going to culminate in a utopian marriage, sir. Sir, this bill, the Women’s Reservation Bill is a matter of right, and not a matter of favour and with all humility and dignity, I would like to profess before the house through you sir, reservation is a birthright. While we the DMK party welcome the bill and support the bill, I would also like to remind you that in not only in this millennial era women are empowered, but back in the Sangam era, 3500 years ago in our Tamil soil we have seen empowered women. Our celebrated poetess Avvaiyar wrote Moothurai – a manual for wise living for all of them. And our rich Tamil epics Manimeghalai and Silapathigaram have spoken about the rights and power of women invariably throughout all walks of life. Sir, Tamil Nadu is a role model state and this bill has been perpetuated and put forth by so many political parties but the seed is sown in the soil of Tamil Nadu by the Dravidian movement and the manoeuvre has been nurtured by the Dravidian trio Thanthai Periyar, our great leader Perarignar Anna, and Muthamilarignar Dr Kalaignar and our Chief Minister. Sir, with our flagship program in the Dravidian model all the schemes and reservations were entirely given to womenfolk. For example- the grant of equal rights to women in family properties, in 1989, 50% reservation in local bodies representation. The present government has implemented 40% for women in government jobs, fare-free travel for women in government-run city buses. And the icing on the cake is the recent Kalaignar Magalir Urimai Thogai providing 1000 rupees for 1 crore 6 lakh 50 thousand eligible women, sir, first time in the history of India, first time in the history of the world. And to quote our Chief Minister, he has stated that, “an empowered woman plays a stellar role in nation’s growth based on people’s wealth and in this Tamil Nadu stands second to none. And while so many of the treasury bench have been profusely here admiring women, it was our Bharathi who said, “ஆணும் பெண்ணும் நிகரெனக் கொள்வதால் அறிவி லோங்கி, இவ் வையம் தழைக்குமாம்; பூணு நல்லறத் தோடிங்குப் பெண்ணுருப் போந்து நிற்பது தாய்சிவ சக்தியாம்; நாணும் அச்சமும் நாட்கட்கு வேண்டுமாம்; ஞான நல்லறம் வரீ சுதந்திரம் பேணு நற்கடிப் பெண்ணின் குணங்களாம்; பெண்மைத் தெய்வத்தின் பேச்சுக்கள் கேட்டிரோ!” meaning that don’t attribute timidity and foolishness to women we want equal rights and we want the right to keep our heads high and walk wherever in this earth as the human beings with wonderful cherished right to live in this world. Sir, the history of the bill has been traced here by all the other members who have spoken elaborately on it. After a tumultuous journey, its been tabled here, now today, I thought we finally see the light of the day but not even at the end of the tunnel I am able to see, because of the loopholes of the bills. It’s being introduced in Hindi sir, while introducing it here our honourable Prime Minister and Union Law Minister called it as Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam. What is this Hindsizing sir, why not in English? When you speak of Nari Shakti, why didn’t our Honorable Madam President not invited for the inauguration of the Parliament? And then again sir, no special quota for the physically challenged women for the inclusion of the bill, that’s another grey loophole in that. The inclusivity of the queer community is totally a grey area in it. And also why is there no reservation in the Rajya Sabha or State Legislative Council? And again, section five of the bill states that the provisions will come into effect after the delimitation exercise. Sir, this is a utopian promise. Delimitation is scheduled for 2026 and the census which was for 2021 never took place because it is clear that it is an electoral agenda for the ruling government. Just a carrot before the rabbit to lure women voters but I believe that the women of India will be very intelligent to decipher what is right and wrong and they will vote for I.N.D.I.A Alliance. To conclude, I would like to quote Dr. Ambedkar. On November 4, 1948, having introduced the draft Report in the Constituent Assembly, with modifications, Dr Ambedkar stated: “The Constitution was workable, flexible, and strong enough to hold the country together both in peacetime and in wartime. Indeed, if I may say so, if things go wrong under the new Constitution, the reason will not be that we had a bad Constitution. What we will have to say is that man was vile.”So, I would, through you, humbly request the Law Minister that whenever they amend our Constitution, they should remember this statement of our dear Dr Ambedkar that it should reap the fruits quickly so as to enjoy them in time. Sir, this Bill should be implemented as quickly as possible before the commencement of the 2024 elections. If implemented soon, it may be a small step for women but a giant leap for womankind. Thank you very much, Sir.