I doubt the Women’s Reservation Bill will help bring down crimes against women. Reservation for the depressed classes has been in existence for many years now. Has it helped them? A majority of the backward sections continues to remain backward; it is only the creamy layer that enjoys the benefits of reservation. The one who rises to the top, man or woman, forgets the masses forever.

Those advocating reservation for women should ask themselves whether the means will meet the ends. The need of the hour is to empower all women equally. By giving reservation in Parliament, we might end up empowering a bunch of them, leaving the needy ones out as we have done in the case of the depressed classes.

Abhinandan Kalia,

Noida

The article “Parliament and patriarchy” (Dec. 31) by Ramchandra Guha aptly explained how efforts to empower women are defeated by vested interests, including orthodoxy and selfish politicians. The Women’s Reservation Bill has been delayed for years due to one reason or the other. One wonders how long citizens will have to wait to see one half of India get its legitimate right. It is time efforts were made in all possible ways to liberate society from orthodox customs, social practices and religious laws.

Girish S. Jadhav,

Kolhapur

The special editorial “No turning back now” (Dec. 30) articulates the angst and anger of Indians over the gang rape which claimed the life of a 23-year-old student from Delhi. It is indeed time we empowered our womenfolk politically, by implementing 33 per cent reservation for them in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies so that they have a greater say in law-making and enforcement.

At the same time, a vigorous campaign should be launched to drive home the importance of treating women with honour and dignity. All echelons of society, especially people with affluence, influence and political clout, should be sensitised.

R. Sampath,

Chennai

The editorial and Mr. Guha’s article have rightly called for reserving one-third of the total number of seats for women in legislatures. That will be the real monument for the Delhi student.

The accused will, for sure, be punished but what about the vices of ego, alcoholism and revelry in excess, which trigger crimes such as rape? Enlightening education is also the need of the times.

B. Santhinathan,

Chennai

When the entire nation is lamenting the increase in crime against women and the consensus on quota for women is becoming wider, it is unfortunate that not many are calling for the prohibition of alcohol, a main cause of violence against women and sex-related offences. The agonising death of the Delhi student should awaken law-makers to strengthen the law on prohibition and enforce it scrupulously.

N.V. Rama Rao,

Visakhapatnam

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