Not a one-day wonder

Srishti becoming the Uttarakhand CM for a day is symbolic but let’s learn to respect women all other days, too

Days after Kamala Harris assumed charge as the United States Vice-President with many firsts to her credit — the first woman, first coloured person and the first Asian-American to reach that office — 20-year-old Haridwar student Srishti Goswami has become probably the first Indian to take over the chief ministerial reins of any State, albeit for only a day, without winning any election or without being a member of any legislature. Following an initiative by the Uttarakhand State Child Rights Commission, as January 24 is celebrated as the National Girl Child Day since 2008, Srishti held meetings with the State’s top bureaucrats and asked the officials to take steps for checking the migration of youth, especially from the rural areas, and expressed concern over the growing instances of drug peddling in the State. She also instructed the officials to clamp a ban on the sale of tobacco products within a 500m radius from educational institutes. Talking about the inevitable comparisons with Anil Kapoor-starrer Nayak, a confident-looking Srishti, whose father is a shopkeeper, said: “He (Anil Kapoor) was a reel-life nayak. Here, I became a real-life nayak, and I wish to continue on this path by entering politics at some stage.”

Of course, the development is largely symbolic and seemingly aimed at wooing the State’s women voters. It reminds one of seeking the blessings of very young girls to mark the single day of kanya pujan towards the end of Navratras. But why stop the deifying at only one day? What’s really needed is that we, as a people, treat the fair gender fairly and as an absolute equal. The skewed gender ratio needs to be balanced and improved. Women may be empowered by educating them, not exposing them to discrimination and harassment and trusting them with responsibilities. Give them what they deserve rather than giving them something in charity. There are varied ways to empower women other than symbolically making them the Chief Minister. Though it was done in a noble spirit, the trustees are not authorised to be the owners of a trust. People’s representatives had better work for what they are chosen for rather than making attention-grabbing short-sighted moves. Gimmicks don’t work anymore. Only performance counts.

Tuesday, 26 January 2021 | Pioneer

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