From: HARAN BR
Date: Mon, Jun 16, 2008 at 3:50 PM
Subject: Women empowerment in Kerala - A secular hypocrisy!
Women empowerment in Kerala - A secular hypocrisy!
B R Haran
Women empowerment, like social justice, has been a pet theme for the politicians, but both have not been achieved even after sixty years of independence. The main reason for this failure is the whimsical and cynical way by which the politicians handle these two issues, only to accomplish their self interests instead of true national interests. The Congressmen, Marxists, Dravidians and other P-Sec parties vie with each other in this regard, which results in utter chaos not serving the purpose.
The state of Kerala, which has been ruled alternatively by the Congress and Communists, constituted the 'Kerala Womens Commission' in the year 1996, as per the Section 5 of Kerala Women's commission Act 1990 vide GO (P) No. 9/96/SWD dated 14-03-06 with a Chairperson and six members, in order to improve the status of women and inquire into the unfair practices affecting them. The present Commission headed by Justice Sreedevi looked into the Church's practice of appointing 'Nuns' and the issues affecting them, as per the direction of the present CPM led LDF government.
The Churches in Kerala have a practice of appointing even minor girls as 'Nuns' and there is a feeling among the Christian community that the nuns are not properly taken care of by the institutions. Cases relating to physical and psychological abuse of nuns and usurping of their properties have been widely reported in the media every now and then and the 'Sister Abaya' case is an apposite example of such an ugly practice going on in Kerala.
After making an in-depth study on the issue, Justice Sridevi Commission came up with a recommendation that restrictions have to be made in the process of enrolment of nuns by Churches. It has suggested the government to enact a Law to prescribe an age limit for appointment of nuns, so that, legal actions could be taken against those parents, who send their minor girls to Churches for becoming nuns. The Commission has also asked the government to formulate measures for the rehabilitation of the nuns who return from the Churches and Convents after relinquishing their nun-hood due to the ill treatment meted out to them by the Churches and other institutions. The commission was critical of the fact that the Churches, which take over the properties of the girls who get appointed as nuns, do not have the habit of giving them back to the ladies when they relinquish nun-hood for some reason or the other, leaving them in lurch with no means for livelihood.