Udaipur Professor, Dr. Zenab Banu has received rave reviews for her recently released book ‘Muslim Women in Political Process in India’. The book delves into areas that are rarely touched and seldom touched about participation of women in political setup. The author has shocked readers with the statistics about Indian political setup and comparison with other international communities.
Dr Zenab states in the book that representation of Muslim women’s political participation in formal politics is extremely low. Women representation in Indian Parliament is 10.8% and is well below the world average of 20%. She further notes that India ranks at 109 out of 190 countries in list of women representation in Parliament. What is even more disturbing is that even Afghanistan and Pakistan rank above India in this matter.
The author mentions that the women played a significant role during independence but their political involvement has dwindled post independence. Dr Zenab highlighted that ‘From 1952-2010 there were only 15 Muslim women who entered the Upper House either through elections or nominations’. At State assemblies, figure is even more disturbing at less than 8%.
On Muslim women representation, the author argues that if Muslim women are to be represented as per population distribution, they should be holding 35 Lok Sabha seats. However, their number has not exceeded 3 in any of the sixteen Lok Sabha elections.
The author has also challenged the argument that Islam is reason behind the lack of participation. The arguments of author throughout the book make it a must read for any reader interested in understanding the gender and minority issues prevalent in the Indian society.
About the Author:
Dr Zenab is a Professor (Emeritus) in the Department of Political Science, MLSU, Udaipur. Her specialisation is in the studies of politics of communalism and women. She has, in past, written authoritatively on problems of Muslim and Tribal women.