Opinion | While we were not looking, India won some battles

A call from a political party scare-mongered me into checking if my name had indeed been struck off the election list. A visit to the Election Commission site for Delhi told me that all it needed was an SMS to check if my name is on the list—I message at 7738299899, write EPIC space my voter ID number. Thirty seconds later, I get a confirmation that my name is there and it gives me the booth address where I will vote.

After the sheer delight at this super smooth process, I remember that I had got my Provident Fund (PF) balance on SMS too. Also, the passport and visa processes is mostly all automated and keeps us well-informed about the progress of the process. So I began to count what else works in India. We know and are vocally critical about what does not. So what works? Well, the metro network where it exists, as it does in Delhi, is superb. Do we hear of strikes or regular breakdowns in the cities in India they operate in? We don’t. Travel to Europe and see what breakdown of such services means. France especially is constantly on strike.

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In which women move away from visual imagery of being the devi diva

Women’s Day imagery often shows a sari-clad woman with multiple arms bearing various implements that run the home and work—a laptop, a belan, detergent, kid, a phone. The woman is usually smiling and looks serenely on top of all that there is to do. Not a hair out of place. If women don’t think deeply about this image, there can be a feeling of pride in being able to manage and stay on top of all there is to do. But step back and see the subliminal messaging of this image. It says that a successful woman can do it all. Work outside the home. Inside the home. Be the one to take off in case of a family emergency. And manage to keep it all together while looking good. Look again and you see that most of these images don’t have money in her multiple arms. Why not? Oh, she gave it to the father, husband, brother or son to manage. In doing that, she has tried logically to reduce one job from her already packed schedule. Hand over money and its investment to the trusted man in the family. Notice that the monthly household spends are still part of her work load. She is fully capable of managing the home spends. It is just the control over asset creation—and therefore the assets—that is not part of her work. The social messaging around money to women aims to stop her from claiming her share of assets.

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