Archana Ramasundaram, the Director of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) was appointed on Monday as the Director General of the Shasastra Seema Bal (SSB), a paramilitary force. Archana Ramasundaram thus became the first female head of a paramilitary force in India. SSB serves in the critical areas of Indo Nepal and Indo Bhutan borders given the open and friendly nature of these borders effective patrolling becomes a must. The reach of SSB as a force extends to the whole of Himalayas on the northern side and the whole of North East, thus serving the country in some of the most remote locations.
This is a historic and defining moment in many ways though we will not see any immense analysis on this because of political motives of the mainstream Media. We list down various reasons as to why this is a defining moment in the history of Women Empowerment in India though the Pseudo Feminists will find it insignificant.
Indicator of Government’s intention:
The Government of India through the appointment of Archana Ramasundaram has sent out a clear and strong message. The Government is no longer going to restrict the top posts for men and the male IPS Officers are no longer going to enjoy monopoly over the apex positions of these forces.
This in turn is going to bring a trickledown effect when the upper strata is going to freed from any bias slowly its effect will go down the ranks and workplace in Government Offices may become more desirable for Indian Women. Since, Kiran Bedi was unjustifiably sidelined for promotion we have come a long way and now we have appointed a female chief for a paramilitary force.
Sensitization within the Forces:
The effect of this appointment is going to be two fold. First of all, the women officers and constables serving within SSB will somehow not feel the fear of harassment given their minority numbers within the force and the social misconceptions. A female head of the Force will definitely be more considerate towards the position of women within the force. This trend should thus be extended even to the other forces and in case there are senior female IPS Officers suitable for such positions they should not be wrongly sidelined.
Secondly and more importantly this will help in improving the attitude of Force Personnel towards the local women. The Paramilitary Forces perform a multitude of functions, one of these is maintaining close contact with the Locals. Unfortunately, instances of harassment of local women by the Personnel prove detrimental to this purpose. Once a female head is appointed who can take such cases more seriously and take the requisite steps. This in a nutshell is going to bring a positive change in the paramilitary forces and will go a long way in sensitization.
SSB- The platform for Women Empowerment:
The appointment of Archana Ramasundaram is not the first time that SSB has been involved in such a bold and yet welcome step. In fact, the SSB was also the first Paramilitary Force to induct female troops and also the first Force to send a female contingent to the Republic Day Parade. This move went on to change the image of SSB in the bordering and strategically crucial locations of India.
Such was the effect of this bold move by SSB that subsequently other Forces too have started inducting women troops and their numbers are steadily increasing. The CRPF too recently accepted a proposal of giving 33% reservation to women for the post of constables. Thus the SSB had clearly set a benchmark by becoming the first force to induct women troops. It has again become an active platform for gender sensitization within the Paramilitary Forces as it is set to work under the command of a female head.
The Modi Government though full of male ego and chauvinism within the Mainstream Media appears to be feminist in the true sense of the word as far as the ground reality is concerned. The Union Home Minister too has repeatedly stressed on increasing the percentage of women from a meager 5.04%. For this purpose the Union Home Ministry also proposed providing for reservation for women within the Forces.
This move is not a populist measure but a well thought out decision as it does not blow things out of proportion and only gives a female her legitimate right but the effect of decision is not merely limited to the appointment of Archana Ramasundaram as the DG of SSB but will have a comprehensive effect on how women are seen within the Forces. The Paramilitary Forces also have to perform certain unconventional functions like intelligence services along the Borders for which gender sensitization among the troops again becomes critical.
The Government has taken a welcome decision as it has neither held back on the front of women empowerment nor has it tried to appease a particular community. For the Feminism Brigade who continuously demand unprecedented benefits for the female community, this is the true example of women empowerment. This is Feminism put in its correct perspective.
The appointment of Archana Ramasundaram is a very welcome move.