21 July 2007

Unlike many of its neighbours...

India chooses to let the clock run forwards.
-- NEW DELHI (AP) -- India elected Pratibha Patil as the country's first female president Saturday in a vote seen as a victory for the hundreds of millions of Indian women who contend with widespread discrimination.

The election of a woman to the largely ceremonial post continues an Indian tradition using the presidency to bolster disadvantaged communities.

Hindu-majority India has had three Muslim presidents, including incumbent A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, since winning independence from Britain in 1947. It has also had a president from the minority Sikh community, and Kalam's predecessor, K. R. Narayanan, came from the bottom of the society's complex social hierarchy.
I'm not sure people should be breaking out the champagne and party hats just yet... India obviously has a ways to go on the road to a just society.
While India has had several women in positions of power - most notably Indira Gandhi, who was elected to the more powerful position of prime minister in 1966, and her daughter-in-law, Sonia Gandhi- many women still face rampant discrimination.

Many Indian families regard daughters as a liability due to a tradition requiring a bride's family to pay a groom's family a large dowry of cash and gifts. As a consequence their education is often neglected, and many don't get adequate medical treatment when ill.
It's obviously a long, tortured journey.

At least India isn't walking backwards.

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