Political Entrepreneur Dr Shalini on Why She Joined AAM Aadmi
“If politics is a dirty business then someone should clean it…more women should join politics to be the change they want to see”
Photo Credit : Shalini Yadav/Twitter,
It all started when a lady with curly hair not unlike Indira Gandhi’s said, “We see women at very good positions in administration, finance. So why aren’t they in politics? Certain factors that hold back women is that politics is a dirty business. That it demands tremendous sacrifice and time. I agree with that but if politics is dirty business then someone has to clean it.
As people of integrity I cannot point fingers at someone else and say why aren’t you doing anything, if I’m doing anything myself.”
Dr Shalini Yadav is a writer, a scholarly woman who has dabbled in intellectual entrepreneurial efforts in radio and education ventures. When she decided to get into politics, she decided to go with AAM Aadmi Party. At WEF 2017, there were people pulling her aside and asking ‘why did you choose to be part of AAM Aadmi?”, as if they couldn’t believe this sophisticated scholar who spoke with dignity could ever fit in.
We speak of entrepreneurs as those trying out new ideas for commercial purposes. In a way Dr Shalini is doing the same thing but in politics. When she decided to get into politics in 2013, she became part of the AAM Aadmi Party.
“The reason why I joined the AAM party is because it represented a new sort of politics, a politics of hope. The world over the need was being felt that citizens should be more involved in the political process. Because democracy was starting to become a sham. People were being elected, they’d be sent to the parliamentary bodies and then citizen would be forgotten.
The decision making was happening at a higher level where the citizen were not getting adequate representation. And this is something the AAM Aadmi Party promised to change. We believed in decent politics, where decisions would be taken by the people themselves,” Dr Shalini who now serves as the AAM Aadmi Party’s state observer for the Haryana unit said.
Her reason to set aside intellectual pursuits at least for a while for the real world of active politics was because she wants to be the change wishes to see in the world.
“Here’s an anecdote on why joined politics. It happened when I was still at JNU, my father’s uncle in his late 80 s at that time was criticizing politicians, which is the norm – everyone does this, we all say all politicians are corrupt and nothing is done. So I asked him, ‘Baba, how old were you when India won independence?’ He was an age that made him old enough to contest an election. And I asked then, ‘Well why didn’t you do something about it?’
‘Why didn’t you come into politics? You were educated, you had a vision. You could have given this country a different direction. Why did you let politicians who aren’t doing a good job come into politics if you thought you could have done a better job?’ Of course he was miffed,” she laughed.
Dr Shalini thinks that’s the fundamental question everyone educated yet who won’t do anything beyond complain about lazy corrupt politicians should ask themselves.
There’s a famous quote – “it’s a participatory universe. No participation, no universe.”
It’s time more women get into 'influential' politics
This political first timer continued, “AAM party is also a substitute to the regular politician. We say to our constitutions that we are here and we want to be that change.”
The change she wants is the change under served women cry out for. The only answer seems to be women actively taking up political roles.
“I have worked for elections in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana. In my work I have come across situations that have made me realize how important it is for women to be empowered and to be politically emboldened. I have worked in areas like Mewat right next to Gurgaon, and I could not believe what I saw with my eyes. The water taps have been dry for more than ten years. There are no schools, no electricity. Campaigning in areas like that is a nightmare.
We conducted our campaign in candle light. The women at these meetings were so glad that someone was coming to hear them out. There was this expectant electric energy of hope in the air awaiting us, where the women felt someone was there to listen to their issues like lack of water, electricity and schools. How do you nurture and educate their children?”
Dr Shalini continued,
“That area has become famous for crime, and unsafe because most youth will resort to crime because they have no other option. As a mother how are you going to be okay with your child taking to crime because of lack of educational facilities? The women were sick of this and asked me, ‘As a mother how would you feel?’”
This is why it’s an imperative for women to get into politics.
“Women are the ones that bear the brunt of all political decisions. And yet they are the ones that who have the least amount of power. They have no voice, they are not involved in decision making bodies. The world over at all international forums, it has been said that there must be at least 30 percent representation of women in government. Only 11 countries has this. India along with many countries have the same dismal record not complying with this.
There are countries with absolutely no women in government. Women make up 50 percent of the world. They make up more than 50 percent of the electorate. You’d be surprised to know that the women who turn up to know how the high the numbers are. But when it comes to governing bodies, women are marginalized. They are given roles which are in the social service sector. Roles are reserved for women in the so called soft sectors. And I feel that it’s unfair because these are times when we see women are achieving and doing simply everything men do.”
It’s time women pushed their way out of fringe politics to the main stage of the real albeit somewhat dirty political game.
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