‘Marriage & politics cannot mix’
She is aggressive, enthusiastic, energetic and a go-getter. Standing tall amidst the white, dhoti clad, rustic, loud mouthed politicians, she is now searching for a prominent role in a new political party, the Karnataka Janatha Party. Shobha Karandlaje, the small town girl from Puttur who made it big in the murky world of politics says ‘women have to face a lot of flak as men are basically insecure and they cannot tolerate the rise of women in the political arena of the country’.
Preferring to remain a spinster, Shobha says, “Marriage and politics cannot mix at any point. Just imagine the problems if I was married. I feel my attention would be divided between family responsibilities and public life. I am happy with my sister’s children and my family. As it is at 46, it is too late to even think about it,” she states.
Recollecting her childhood days in Puttur where she studied and developed interest in politics, she says, “It was in 8th class, my interest began and I started taking part in many social activities and was involved in many environmental agitations in Dakshin Kannada. Later I did my Masters and started working in Manipal Academy of Higher Education. But to leave a well paid job and join full time politics, I faced opposition from my family who felt it was a lost cause. “Supporting 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and legislature, Shobha feels women can deal and address the burning issues of water, food and civil supplies, energy, etc. better. “If 50 per cent of the population are women, then the ruling political class too should be 50 per cent. In fact, women understand these problems better than men."
Going hammer and tongs on the issue of discrimination against women, she stresses, “Despite their money and muscle power, men politicians feel so insecure that they always try to suppress the rise of women in politics. Once they enter from a particular constituency, they want to be permanent fixtures here throughout their lives and therefore, oppose the idea of reservation for women. As it is women are scared to enter politics as they have to face a lot of personal attacks and allegations once you enter this field.”
In recent times, Shobha is the only woman politician in the state whose power and presence has been noticed and felt by one and all. Thanking her mentors Basvaraj Patil Sedam and B S Yeddyurappa, she says, “Every politician, whether men or women need the backing and support of established politicians especially when you are greenhorns and you have find and win from a constituency. As it is when I was in BJP, I was hounded by many for unsubstantiated wrong doings and allegations and I overcame all those and bounced back as a minister. I feel Indian democracy is moving towards regional parties as demonstrated in many states and even in Karnataka, we will prove this in the coming days,” Shobha signs off confidently.
33 surgeries and going strong
“I wanted to run, I wanted to fly. But then I realised you need wings to fly and legs to run,” says Arjuna award and Padma Shri winner Malathi Holla, an international para athlete. After 33 surgeries and a life full of challenges, Holla stands strong. “So what if I cant run? My dreams are not paralysed, my confidence is not paralysed,” she says.
Holla believes that each one of us is born with disabilities like over confidence, ego and selfishness. “The only difference is that mine is visible,” she says. She has overcome all the hurdles in her life only on one strategy, ‘Respect yourself only then will the world respect you. “Learn to accept yourself and you will see everything will be fine. My disabilities are my strength,” she says.
A raging fever paralysed Holla’s entire body at the age of one. Through electric shock treatment for more than two years Malathi regained strength in her upper body but lost the strength in her legs forever. As she gets ready for the photo shoot, Holla instantly starts taking out the wheelchair. Noticing the surprised look on our faces she says mischievously, “But this wheelchair is my identity.”
Being a woman, Holla fights a battle everyday. However, she says that till the time you are fearless no one can lay a finger on you. “I am paralysed yet I travel at 11 pm in my car. If someone attacks me I wont be able to do anything. But I take that risk as I don’t want to restrict myself. Physically, you cant fight men. If your mind is strong, no one can touch you,” she said. Holla asks women to come out of their shell to discover themselves and become fearless.
She also believes that in order to change the world we first need to change ourselves. And, she has lived up to her word. She didn’t like her condition so through her service she changed the lives of so many disabled children. “I opened this house and now I am the proud mother of 25 children. I am doing my bit and together we can achieve,” she signs off.
‘I had my own share of struggle’
I feel, of late with the incidents happening in our country, a women's integrity should not be reserved for one particular day. Respect a woman, every single day.
I think everyone should really feel proud of having a girl child in their house. Today, women are making their parents more proud and are standing up for their parents much more than the men in their lives, which is a very good sign.
I really feel special and obliged of being an independent woman. I had my own share of struggle. But it is a part of anybody's life.
I never had any godfather to enter the Sandalwood industry. But I did not lose hope and today I am happy for the fact that I could make it big and my confidence has helped me. Today if people know who Ragini Dwivedi is, it is because of my hard work.
In this industry, you learn from various incidents and experiences. As a woman, there are so many difficulties; people keep distracting you, taking you to wrong directions, but never ever lose hope. Always think, when people are trying to pull you down, you are certainly above everything. Being a Punjabi, I am accepted in Kannada and Malayalam industry. I am glad I am also part of a heroine oriented film - Ragini IPS. The producers are willing to spend money. I feel, the way offers are coming in, I am looking at a positive front. I feel really lucky to be part of this industry and if you are good at what you do, there are no dearth of opportunities in any field. I hope to do more meaningful roles in the coming years.
Naturally, as a person, there are low moments in life but everything happens for a reason and one should not lose hope.
Ragini Dwivedi is a Sandalwood actress.