Ranjana Kumari is culpable in the illegal arrest of 100,000 Indian women

Over 1 Lakh women have been illegally arrested since 2004 under section 498A. Ranjana Kumari is culpable for this abominable act as she has been opposing any amendment to this law.

She proposed the strengthening of this abominable law.

The data was compiled by the NCRB and is available online under the report titled crime in India.

Here is a compilation of the data collected by the NCRB: NCRB Data On Women Arrested Under 498A Since 2004

She has lived up to her name as a Feminazi of India.

Ranjana Kumari’s Malicious Propaganda

http://feministmedia.wordpress.com/2007/08/26/ranjana-kumaris-malicious-propaganda/

Aug 26 is women’s equality day. On that day, Save Indian Family Foundation is organizing all India protest against gross injustices faced by women, men and families due to the crass gender politics promoted by euphemistically named Femnazi entities like Center for Social Research and tax-payer funded social perversions like NCW.

Ranjana Kumari, the director of Center for Social Research, sensing that the tide is turning slowly but steadily against their malicious agendas, lost no time in branding the protest a “malicious propaganda”. Source: http://www.hindustantimes.com/storypage/storypage.aspx?id=3eed6c54-ba7e-4653-84b2-578e19a5c842&&Headline=Men+cry+equality+on+women%e2%80%99s+day

Is it? Who are these people organizing the protest? Are they funded by the tax-payer monies or are they embezzling the charity monies in the name of social research? Who are they? What are they asking for?

They are the victims of malicious prosecution; a malicious prosecution promoted in the name of preventing dowry harassment. These are the people who are the best and brightest young men of our country, graduating from premier institutions, working in the most economically crucial fields for our country’s advancement. These are the people wasting their productive years in fruitless litigation and government funded blackmail at the hands of their unscrupulous wives and corrupt law enforcement machinery. These are the people whose aged parents, grand parents and pregnant sisters were hauled into police custody on Friday evenings, so they spend a minimum of two days (often times many more days) imprisonment for no apparent violation of any law. These are the people who are victims of a terror regime unleashed and supported by Feminazis like Ranjana Kumari. All they are asking for is, to remove the scope for misuse of these gender biased laws.

Let us look at her reasoning – “Section 498A is the only provision under the dowry law that allows a woman to save her life. Other sections come into force after the woman is killed.”

Can she please explain how incarcerating, without investigation, dozens of people named in FIR, prevent dowry deaths? If the woman’s life is in such a danger, is it not much more efficient to remove her from the danger and place her in a safer location? Why don’t NGO’s like hers or hundreds of others screaming dowry harassment, provide for such shelters; and then let the law-enforcement agencies investigate her claims?

No, they are not interested in the real victims. All they want is, the ipc 498a to be available in the hands of unscrupulous women as a weapon of blackmail. They want the threat of police custody to be used as bargaining lever to extract maximum ransom from the husband and his family. They don’t care about the social ramifications of laws that treat persons guilty as accused. For them, the feminist self-serving ideologies are far more sacred than social good.

Coming to the question of dowry harassment and ipc 498a- what is really happening? Of all the hundreds of thousands of the cases filed, many cases are thrown out. Most result in acquittal. In some cases, unable to withstand the harassment from the corrupt state machinery, families give in to the blackmail and pay the ransom. The remaining bulk of the cases languish in the courts as Damocles’ swords hanging on the heads of the accused families. Many individuals and families have ended their lives unable to bear the shame and harassment of the false cases against them filed by their unscrupulous daughters-in-law. And then, many a young woman, swayed by the false propaganda, filed the false 498a case, broke her marriage, lost her credibility in the society and ended up leading a bitter and lonely life unable to turn the clock back. All these are facts well documented and well understood.

Except by the ostriches, like Ranjana Kumari. They deny any knowledge of the abuse of these legal provisions. With their heads stuck in the sand, they believe that no one is watching. They repeat the “D “ mantra ad-infinitum, hoping a lie repeated a million times, somehow becomes the truth. If pressed, they pull out of their hats their pet episodes – isolated, extreme cases from some corner of the country. They make a deliberate, visceral and emotional appeal – “what about her?” And then, pester the rest of the gullible population to believe that that was the overwhelming truth across the length and breadth of our country. And the ever complying media is ready to lend them a helping hand.

Sure Ranjana Kumari – we have more than half a billion men and half a billion women in our country. What kind of story you want – we can pull up one for you.

Let us discuss what malicious propaganda really is.

Malicious propaganda is –

a) Taking isolated extreme cases and purveying them as the mainstream life of our society

b) Portraying all suicides of married women as dowry deaths

c) Portraying all suicides of married men as due to financial problems

d) Denying that abuse of ipc 498a, or violation of human rights is occurring on a large scale

e) Asking for more stringent provisions in the existing draconian laws, citing no evidence but platitudes and lies

f) Pushing for more gender biased legislation with ample scope for blackmail and extortion

g) Adamantly opposing any changes in the out-dated laws to suit modern realities of our country

And the list can go on.

That is what Ranjana Kumari and her ilk, are engaged in.

Most informed readers can already see through the duplicity and the sheer malice in the multitudes of feminist inspired articles in the news media. The end of their “malicious propaganda” will occur when ordinary citizens can also see through the same.

Ranjana Kumari sugar-coats her b…s….

INDIA: Sexual harassment Bill would ‘discriminate against men’ – 19/07/2007

India is considering its first ever legislation aimed at stopping sexual harassment and providing protection to women who want to join the workforce of the country’s growing economy. The Bill has been welcomed by women’s rights groups across India. But it is being criticised for discriminating against men, and some have even suggested women could exploit the legislation to further their careers.

Presenter – Girish Sawlani Speaker – Dr Ranjana Kumari, president, Women Power Connect; Dr Jaya Arunachalam, president, Working Women’s Forum; Swarup Sarkar, coordinator of the Save Family programme at the Save Family Foundation

listen windows media listen windows media >

SAWLANI: The draft law is an initiative of the Ministry of Women and Child Development. It will be put before parliament when it resumes on the 6th of August. Although the supreme court has tried cases of sexual harassment in workplaces over the past decade, President of Women Power Connect, Dr Ranjana Kumari says the problem is still rampant.

KUMARI: It is fairly common because of a lot of women who are not reporting due to the reasons of social shame and also they are not prepared to face the consequences in terms of what will happen ultimately once they come out with such an issue. Because normally it is between working relationship of the subordinate and the senior, so the reporting is very extremely low.

SAWLANI: If approved by parliament, the bill will offer victims leave from work and compensation from money deducted from the salaries of their tormentors. Dr Kumari explains that women will be able to seek legal advice through sexual harassment at workplace protection cells throughout the country.

KUMARI: The cell will be called ‘sexual harassment at workplace protection cell’ and they are the ones where women can complain and also of course what you must do and what you must not. What will be considered as sexual harassment is being defined and also the of course the punishment because normally it used to be when a woman will complain but it is she who will be transferred or she who will be seen as somebody who is creating trouble. That approach and attitude will have to change.

SAWLANI: At present, 89 per cent of some 270 million female workers belong to the unorganised sector. President of the Working Women’s Forum Dr Jaya Arunachalam says that these women have no protection from exploitation and sexual oppression. She believes that this bill will enable them to seek help when they experience sexual harassment.

ARUNACHALAM: It will actually protect the rights of women in workplaces. I think the most important thing is the women can go to any court as soon as this bill is passed. I think so this is more important even at the district level, that means she can take it up against any employer or any factory.

SAWLANI: One of the main concerns of this proposal is that women will be able to exploit the legislation in order to seek unlawful monetary benefits and career advancement. Such criticisms have been highlighted by men’s rights groups. Swarup Sarkar from the Save Family Foundation says that women can easily misuse this law.

SARKAR: Basically, the law has been drafted in very badly. This law is made only with one intention, that people can misuse this law, get the money and there is no punishment. This is absurd. Any woman makes a false complain and after proving that you cannot take the action. What kind of law this is.

SAWLANI: Working Women’s Forum’s Dr Arunachalam also believes that such exploitation may be inevitable.

ARUNACHALAM: I think some of these women compromise and therefore I think the women’s movement or women’s leaders who are fighting for this, we lose our credibility.

SAWLANI: Save Family Foundation’s Swarup Sarkar adds that current harassment laws are sufficient and the new bill is unnecessary and discriminatory towards women.

SARKAR: Already in IPC law, its there. Why do they need the extra law? Lets implement this law, it is sufficient. That is a gender equal law. Harassment is harassment. There are also a lot of men earning hardly ten rupees or fifteen rupees people accepting. So the government should concentrate to stop the harassment irrespective of any man or woman. 270 million women are working in the unorganised sector. Ten times more men are working in the worst conditions of the two.

SAWLANI: Despite promising signs of this law, president of Women Power Connect Dr Ranjana Kumari says that implementing it is another issue altogether.

KUMARI: Our problem in India is that we have great laws, you know. We have all these things to say that we are now finally protecting our women but implementation is a huge issue here. So I would think that unless implementation is really streamlined and women get justice, all these laws will be of not much use.

Ranjana Kumari Encourages Women To Strip To Attract Attention To Their Grievances

Folks,

I am disgusted with what is going on in our country. I was reading through the whole Pooja Chauhan Episode. Looks like the country is losing it.

Pooja Chauhan needs a lot of help and support, the psychiatric kind. In the meantime, there is Ranjana Kumari, who is obliquely suggesting that women should start stripping in public to further their goals.

”Shame on everyone who stood there to mock her but did nothing to help her. A woman who is sinking will do anything to keep afloat. Today you are responding, the police is responding, we are responding. I think now women need to dare,” said women’s activist Ranjana Kumari.

Great idea. I think they should. Maybe they can walk around with sign posts advertising what they are protesting about. Best way to draw attention to their cause.

Here is Girija Vyas, chiming in with silly arguments as usual. ” “I am asking my department to write a letter to the concerning officers that they should immediately take action – action regarding her mental health, her protection and speedy action by police on the FIR. The victim should be given relief as soon as possible. There should be awareness programmes and awareness training programmes for the police also, right from the constable to the DG. Sensitisation training and training regarding the new laws also is a must – especially the right of any woman to file an FIR,” Vyas told TIMES NOW on Thursday (July 5). “

The part about “The right of any woman to file an FIR” takes the cake.

I would say “Shame on Ranjana Kumari for condoning indecency”. There are many women in India and abroad who have overcome worse things by not resorting to indecency.

Who is Ranjana Kumari? She can be characterized as a radical feminist. You can read about her here: “Dr. Ranjana Kumari is a prominent activist and widely regarded as a leading force in the women’s movement in India. Dr. Ranjana Kumari is Director of the Centre for Social Research (CSR), President of Women Power Connect (WPC) India’s only lobbying organization focused on gender issues, National General Secretary of the Mahila Dakshata Samiti, an all India Women’s organization, Coordinator of Joint Action Front for Women (JAFW) consisting of 97 organizations, has been senior advisor to the Ministry of Labor, Government of India and Coordinator of South Asian Forum for Women’s Political Empowerment. Dr. Ranjana Kumari has also been a member of the Task Force on Industrial Relations for The International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva. A doctorate in Political Science from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Dr. Ranjana Kumari is an author of 9 books, including the world famous, “Brides are not for burning” and “Women in Decision Making”. As an activist in the women’s movement, and ardent supporter of reservation of seats for women in parliament, Dr. Ranjana Kumari has actively campaigned for the issue for over a decade. She is also involved in the research, advocacy, lobbying, mobilizing campaign and training for the protection of women’s human rights.”

A few months ago, a magistrate issued a warrant against Richard Gere for a harmless peck on the cheek of Shilpa Shetty. The charge was indecency. We have a young mother walking the streets of city in her undies with kids ogling at her, and the establishment doesn’t want to press charges against her ?

I have a sickening feeling that we’ll become a nation of Paris Hiltons if we don’t stop this kind of a nonsense.

Just one thing though, once this lunacy wears off, and the woman comes to her senses, how does she go about pulling all these pics of her off the internet ?

How will she prevent her kids from being taunted ? I am sure that they will hear things like “I have seen your mom in her underwear”.

I wish Ranjana Kumari can answer these questions before making such idiotic statements.

Here are the links to the news items.

  1. NDTV
  2. Indian Express: As usual they give a balanced idea of what really happened.
  3. Times Of India : This article has a pic of this idiot in her undies. Read at your discretion.
  4. DNAIndia: As usual, the NCW, the center and whole set of agencies have jumped on this.
  5. Ekjut: This paper has a couple of pics of this nitwit in her undies.

Egg On The Face Of NCW, WCD And Ranjana Kumari

The entire establishment pounced on the police for not registering a case against the husband and in-laws of Pooja Chauhan.

It now turns out that this is a case of a abuse of the law and that Pooja Chauhan needs psychiatric help.

Here is the story in the Indian Express.
Here is another angle to the story from Indiwo

Now a group of men are out supporting her husband. Here is the article in IE.
Here is the video of the protest here. They are also seen denouncing the Minister Of Women And Child Development.

Winners and Losers.
Now that the Pooja Chauhan episode is winding down, its time to take stock of the winners and losers.

The Losers:

  • The Police: They ended up being losers by not standing up to their convictions and arresting the hubby and in-laws of Pooja.
  • Girija Vyas: “The right of any woman to file an FIR” . She has the powers of a Judge, and this is the extent of knowledge of the law or the fundamental tenet, known as due process, she has. It would have made a difference if she called on the cops to investigate.
  • Ranjana Kumari: “I think now women need to dare”. Please! I would love to see women with good bodies walking on the streets in their undies to air their grievances. We can then truly call ourselves the land of Kamasutra.
  • NHRC: For rushing to conclusions and acting like morons and not an august body meant to safeguard human rights.
  • The supporters of idiotic laws like the DV Act and 498a: For legislating these laws with so many loops holes that even deranged people can abuse them.
  • The hubby and in-laws of Pooja Chauhan: They were innocent, and were arrested for no reason under these idiotic laws.
  • Pooja Chauhan: The voyeurs got a chance to see a young woman walk the streets in her undies. She has been gifted with a guaranteed divorce for filing a false 498A complaint. The NCW very politely said that she was exploited, a euphemism for prostitution.
  • Poojas Daughter: The poor kid. What did she do to deserve a mom like this?

Winners: None. This is the appalling state of affairs in a great country like ours. Mera Bharat Mahan (Nahin)

Ranjana Kumari and Women Power Connect (WPC)

WPC is a lobbying group formed by Ranjana Kumari. She modeled WPC after the American lobbying groups, after sanity and self interest prevailed and the 30% reservation for women in parliament bill stalled. Ranjana Kumari is the driver for the 30% reservation for women.

What do lobbyists do ? The sole purpose of the lobbyist’s activity is to create a climate of support for the proposed legislation leading to voter and legislative support for the bill. The most famous Lobbyist is Jack Abramoff. Lobbyists are reputed to attempt to bribe legislators to pass laws in favor of special interests. In the Indian context, you can imagine how dirty things can get.

WPC is funded by USAID. Here is the link to the page. USAID is talking about 33% reservation for India. Do they understand what this real game is about ? Above all, do you know that the US does not allow the contributions of cash by foreigners for election campaigns? So why are we allowing this in our land and in our filthy politics ?

There is no country in the world, which has 30% reservation for women. They don’t divide their citizens as men and women. My question is why is a 3rd world country like ours, who can’t even feed 500+ million of its population getting into experiments like this?

Here is the most important question: Why are they lobbying for a 30% reservation for women in legislative bodies?

Answer: To form a formidable power bloc that that every party in this country will have to kowtow to. This power bloc can act as king makers in an already fractured polity. They won’t have the responsibility of the party in power nor will they be in the losing situation of the opposition. By playing king makers and power brokers, they pretty much get anythign they want. If you think what I am saying is far fetched, all you need to look at is how we couldn’t get our former President reelected. The commies blocked his nomination as they are the king makers.

Here are links about WPC:

To get an idea about the provisions of the sexual harassment bill, you can read about it here. There are groups resisting its passage. I, for one, am all for it becoming the law, so that chaos ensues and millions get affected and the resulting backlash will cause sanity to be restored.

You can see Ranjana Kumari hobnobbing with celebs like Shabana Azmi in the newsletter that WPC put out and I uploaded.

I also wonder why Shabana Azmi is associating herself with Ranjana Kumari, especially as she is quoted as saying “I am a daughter, a wife, a mother, a woman, an actress, an Indian, and a Muslim. Each of those identities is important to me.”

Ms Azmi, the likes of Ranjana Kumari are trying to deprive your dad, your offspring and your hubby of their right to be treated equally by the law. I hope you understand this.

3 Lionesses

The CSR Study On Effectiveness Of IPC 498A

The Center For Social Research (CSR) is headed by Ranjana Kumari. Here is another example of the intellectual prowess of this organization. CSR sponsored a study on the effectiveness of 498A in 2005, following the JD Kapoor judgment of 2005. They needed to disprove his arguments in some manner or the other. Here is the link to the CSR study.

I don’t hate women and I condemn domestic violence of any kind. I know what domestic violence is, I have experienced it.

What I am against is the co-option of a real issue and the pursuit of a narrow self-serving agenda in its name.

I am openly calling for an investigation into the assets and finances of persons like Ranjana Kumari.

Other women, who were the pioneers in the fight against dowry have realized that the use of coercive laws, whose enforcement is in the hands of corrupt organizations like the Indian Police, do not help in eliminating or preventing domestic violence. This is what Madhu Purnima Kishwar says in her report “Violence against women: Good practices in combating and eliminating violence against women”, an Expert Group Meeting Organized by the UN Division for the Advancement of Women, in May 2005.

I highlight a few points she makes about the abuse of 498A:

  • Way back in 1988, I had pointed out, in what came to be a very controversial article, that there was already a distinct trend to include dowry demands in every complaint of domestic discord or cruelty, even when dowry was not an issue at all (see Manushi No. 48). The police as well as lawyers were found to be encouraging female complainants to use this as a necessary ploy to implicate their marital families, making them believe that their complaint would not be taken seriously otherwise. With the enactment of 498 A, this tendency has received a further fillip. Mentioning dowry demands seems to have become a common ritual in virtually all cases registered with the police or filed in court
  • Many cases have come to our notice whereby the woman uses the strict provisions of 498A in the hope of enhancing her bargaining position vis a vis her husband and in-laws. Her lawyers often encourage her in the misguided belief that her husband would be so intimidated that he will be ready to concede all her demands. However, once a family has been sent to jail even for a day, they are so paranoid that they refuse to consider a reconciliation under any circumstances, pushing instead for divorce. Thus, many a woman ends up with a divorce she didn?t want and with weaker, rather than strengthened, terms of bargaining. Several women?s organisations, with long years of experience in intervening in such cases, find to their dismay that their help was being sought in patently bogus cases. Several police officers also admit that a good number of cases are of dubious standing.
  • However, many feminists think that Section 498A has indeed served women well and proved extremely useful as a deterrent. They argue that without it women may not be in a position to see their complaint through to its logical end. It is indeed useful in bringing the husband to the negotiating table. Since the offence is non-bailable, the initial imprisonment for a day or two helps to convey to the husbands the message that their wives are not going to take the violence lying down. No doubt, some women feel compelled to use this method, to arrive at a speedy divorce and settlement of alimony because they feel that they won?t get justice through the civil courts, given their tardy and unpredictable functioning.

I rest my case !! Moving on to the CSR report….

The report says:

  • Nearly five crore (50 million in a country of a close to 500Million women) married women in India are victims of domestic violence (DV). Only 0.1 percent (1 out of 1000 DV cases) of these are being reported. Out of 100 cases that are ordered for investigation under 498A, only in 2 cases the accused get convicted“.
    • How does this statistic compare with other countries ? I’ll let you know as soon as I compare some numbers.
  • Reconciliation in 498A cases takes place at every stage including the police station, Crime Against Women Cells and courts.“.
    • Reconciliation is normally settling the case by extorting cash where everyone gets a cut, including the cops. This is true especially in the cases where the “reconciliation” takes place in the police station.
  • “In a majority of the cases before a victim filed the complaint under Section 498A, the minimum period she suffered physical and mental torture, was for about three years.”

    • This is a lie. An examination of the cases being filed shows a length of time, from the time of marriage, sometimes running into days, if not weeks before the filing of a 498A.
  • “The trial process is quite lengthy and the proportion of pending cases is quiet high (out of the 40 cases based on victims’ interviews which went for trial in court, 28 cases are still pending). In the cases tracked, the normal trial period was between five to ten years.”
    • This is precisely why the law is being abused. Once a family finds itself accused in this law, their lives are tied up in trying to get out of it for many years. People have been killing themselves, unable to bear the suffering this causes.
  • “It was found that it was difficult to prove physical and mental torture. In all the eight cases in which the accused were acquitted, the victims were found to have suffered physical and mental torture, but as there was not enough evidence to prove torture, the accused were let off.”
    • This is precisely what I have been saying. There is always wear and tear in a marriage. If people don’t get long, mediate a decent settlement and go about your ways. Innocent families get entangled in a 498A for years and then are exonerated as there is no evidence of a crime committed. Think about the scope for the abuse of this law. There are no penalties for filing a false case.
  • “The cases where the accused were convicted had been filed under Section 498A along with section 304B (Dowry Death) and 302 (Murder), which are applicable after the death of the victim. There were no convictions in any of the cases registered only under Section 498A. It has been found that out of 30 cases there is not a single case where the accused has been convicted only under Section 498A. The accused have been acquitted (11 cases) by the court where the prosecutor failed to provide evidentiary proof of cruelty, mainly mental, inflicted on the victim as provided under Section 498A IPC. It is difficult to prove cruelty when the victim is still alive. This makes conviction only on the basis of Section 498A, difficult. Only in cases where Section 498A is used along with other Sections is the conviction rate high.”
    • Murder can be proven and guilt needs to be established beyond reasonable doubt. This makes a lot of sense. But turning an allegation into a criminal offence is scaling the heights of stupidity How about opening more mediation cells to reconcile differences? Anyway, a new domestic violence act has come in. Why not amend 498A so that the abuse of this law is put to an end?
  • “The study also has observed that 6.5 percent of the total cases studied through victims’ interviews were found false at the level of investigation. Many of the accused, police, judges and lawyers, categorically said that ‘educated and independent minded women’ misuse the section.”

    • It is more than 6.5% of the cases. No attempt is made to have a comprehensive survey done or gather statistics to get a real picture of what is going on and how to make laws effective, not coercive or open to abuse. If this happens, the likes of Ranjana Kumari will be out of a job or least or be deprived of her high flying, influential life in the limelight with free trips to foreign countries.
  • “On the basis of the interviews conducted, we can conclude that victims find the Section somewhat useful and felt the need for further strengthening it. In the perception of the NGOs, the provision (498A) is the only Section, which acts as an effective redressal mechanism for victims of domestic violence.”
    • Hello? This akin to saying that we are not having enough convictions in cases involving allegations of murder. So let the law be amended so that it is easy to hang people on the basis of an allegation of murder.

Forget domestic violence, thanks to the likes of Ranjana Kumari, entire families are being subjected to what the Supreme Court has labeled as “Legal Terrorism”. The likes of her do not allow a sane balanced debate to take place. If you want to see how she debates, you can check out this clip from YouTube. She doesn’t give the other guy a chance to speak.

The case they are debating about is covered at this blog. The link is here.

I have received hate mail on account of my views. I just say one thing to my detractors, that you and your offspring, experience the agony that a draconian law like 498A can inflict. If this is what it takes to understand what it feels to be falsely accused under 498A, then yes, you need to experience it first hand !!

Here are some numbers (2005) from the Ministry Of Home Affairs, published by Hindustan Times:

“According to data provided by Ministry of Home Affairs, there were 58,319 registered cases and 134,757 people underwent arrest under 498A and A and Dowry Prohibition Act. That is on average 2.3 people were arrested in every complaint of woman. There were 358 children and 4,744 senior citizens arrested. Out of 129,655 cases, approximately 18 per cent (23,337) were not charge sheeted and hence suffered only because these acts are non-bailable

Renuka: The Mistress of Spice

Hindustantimes link to the article

Mistress of Spice: Renuka Chowdhury

Email Author

New Delhi, July 21, 2007

 

Renuka Chowdhury likes to be in the news. This week, however, the women and child development minister hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Her advice to women to trust condoms more than men received flak not only from men but also from women’s organisations. In the midst of this, she also provided enough ‘masala’ to news channels to rake up a fresh controversy.The 52-year-old minister from Andhra Pradesh is not left deterred, though. “I will rather deal with controversies than die compromising. I will always knock at the door of truth,” was her reaction to opinions against her on television. “People should understand the context (of the statement) — that most women get HIV/AIDS from their husbands. I just wanted to caution them,” she said.

But critics like Poornima Advani, former chairperson of National Commission for Women, would prefer more subtle ways of cautioning. “Telling (women) that men cannot be trusted is demeaning your brothers and creating a rift in families,” said Advani.

Others questioned Chowdhury’s wisdom in asking women to purchase condoms themselves, saying they would be branded as sex workers. They feel that propagating such views can cause more harm to women than do any good.

All for a cause?

A housewife-turned-politician, Chowdhury, however, describes such views as mindset problems. And strong statements such as the one she made, she says, are needed to change the popular mindset. So, don’t be amazed if Chowdhury has more astonishing words of advice for women in the future.

She believes women cannot be empowered without strong rhetoric from the top level in the government and actually takes credit for initiating a national debate on issues relating to women’s right with her statement.

Chowdhury would have you believe that she has taken over the task of championing the cause of women’s empowerment. “I have seen traumatised women in the worst possible inhuman conditions. I am here to bring a change in their lives,” she has said.

Her eloquence on mandatory registration of pregnancies last week had several women organisations up in arms, terming the proposal as a move to infringe a woman’s privacy. Bur Chowdhury disagrees: “What privacy are you talking about? They (women) live with 10 members in a room and don’t have a bathroom. They cannot even decide when to bear a child. Registration (of pregnancy) will help give a woman good and healthy life.”

Heated history

The fresh row in the aftermath of Chowdhury’s statement may dissipate with time as it has happened in past, but Chowdhury’s political career, which started in 1984, has seen a long list of controversies. She hogged the limelight when she stood on top of a jeep to protest the ouster of the Andhra Pradesh government, and won the election against Congress leader P. Janardhan Reddy.

Then there was a time when she created a storm by joining the Congress after quitting the Telugu Desam Party and was subsequently made a minister of state for health and family welfare.

Her stint at the helm of the women and child development ministry has not been any less controversial. Her strong advocacy of the Domestic Violence Act earned her the dubious distinction of being one of the most hated Indian politicians on blogs and websites.

Blogs like the Unquiet Mind described her as ‘men hater’ and ‘creator of gender bias in the Indian laws’. Chowdhury’s office has received large amounts of hate mail but her officers perceive it as a signal of the good work being done. The domestic violence law even received flak from the Supreme Court, when it observed that it was a “badly framed law”.

Mixed bag of results

Chowdhury’s critics like Ranjana Kumari of Women Power Connect point out that mere sensational comments on women and child issues will not work. Many of Chowdhury’s ideas — like orphanages for girl children, which were highlighted in media with fanfare — have just not taken off, points out Ranjana Kumari. She adds that there is a need to bring seriousness in the government’s thinking on women and children issues.

Chowdhury’s retort is sharp: “We are here to restore rights of women as enshrined in the Constitution and give them a dignified way of living, which has not happened in 60 years of Independence.”

But the minister’s overdrive and admission of the faults within her ministry has won her accolades from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

For the first time, a law to protect the rights of children, a law against sexual harassment and a Child Protection Scheme are in the pipeline. Chowdhury admits that the world’s biggest child nutrition plan — the Integrated Child Development Scheme — was flawed, and has asked for restructuring of the scheme.

On the latest issue, Chowdhury claims she has got calls congratulating her for her views on HIV/AIDS and registration of pregnancies. And in making these statements, she says, she had taken the advice of a friend, who told her: “You should speak your heart out.” Well, the advice sure has brought into national focus the once low-profile ministry that she heads.