In the name of Maitreyi
What is the best way to help a poor woman from any community walk with her head held high? You might say by paying her college fee, helping her acquire a skill, or funding a business she wishes to start. But the Brahmin Development Board in Karnataka has other ideas. The board set up last year by the BJP government seems to have decided that incentivising endogamous marriages is one way of emancipating poor Brahmin women. The board has promised ₹3 lakh to women who marry priests within the community and stay married to them for at least three years. While the name of the scheme – Maitreyi, a woman scholar of ancient India – might lead one to believe that it is women-centric, is it even meant to be? The board chairman, while announcing the scheme, openly talked about the need to help poor priests who have no assured source of income. Is there even room here for a debate on questions of a woman’s choice or problems in rewarding same-caste marriages?
No money for saris
The Textile Department’s proposal to procure sarees from weavers, who have been hit by COVID-19 and lockdown, is likely to remain only on paper. To help the weaving community, the Textile Department has submitted a ₹36 crore proposal to the Finance Department seeking money to buy six lakh sarees. It was proposed to procure sarees costing ₹500 to ₹600 each in order to clear the unsold stock. It was to be distributed among COVID-19 frontline warriors such as anganwadi workers, ASHAs, and Home Guards.
After the Finance Department, which has been facing severe shortage of cash, rejected the proposal, it has been resubmitted by Textile Minister Srimant B. Patil. It remains to be seen if the Finance Department headed by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, who talks volumes about the poor, will stand up for poor weavers.
Recently, the street vendors of Hubballi-Dharwad were up in arms against the authorities after a special drive to evict them was launched. They gathered in large numbers to stage a protest alleging harassment. Their grouse was that they were being targeted without properly identifying hawking zones.
They argued that while they were being targeted for occupying pavements, bigger shopkeepers, hoteliers and hospital owners were using pavements for parking with immunity. They sought to know why none dared take action against them. Even policeman, speaking off the record, admit that poor vendors have a point.
No show, please
KPCC chief D.K. Shivakumar proved himself a tough taskmaster at a divisional meeting of party representatives in Bantwal last week. Mr. Shivakumar made it clear activists need not come to where he and former Chief Minister Siddaramiah were seated to register their attendance. “Cameras are capturing you all and we both can see it on the big screen,” he said, and went on to make it clear that merely marking attendance will not do. “You need to keep your mobile phones silent and be fully involved in the proceedings. I want only those who can spare time for the party to be here,” he said, adding that the party knows activists who are working hard and those involved in theatrics alone. Unlike earlier conventions, when all leaders were seen on stage, leaders sat below with workers this time.