By Albert Thyrniang

In Meghalaya we are, in one way or the other, affected by pressure groups and their activities of strikes, protests and agitations. What defines these ‘Sengbhalang’ (common welfare groups)?
The first attribute of pressure groups is male dominance. A vast majority of these groups are run by men. All the office bearers or executive members of central bodies and units are men. There are hardly any women. All speakers in rallies and agitations are men. Women do cheer in the crowds. “Ka Sur Ki ‘Nong Mawlai” (The Voice of Mawlai People) is an all-male conglomerate group. In its protest rallies against the alleged ‘cold blooded’ killing of the former HNLC leader, Cheristerfield Thangkhiew on August 13, the male dominance is for the world to see. All the speakers who lambasted the government are men. The very pedestals they stand on while they attack ministers are meant for men. They stand atop vehicles to raise catchy slogans. Women, certainly will feel uncomfortable climbing these high platforms. Why have suitable stands when all ‘climbers’ are men?
A women’s group has emerged from Mawlai to lend its support to “Ka Sur Ki ‘Nong Mawlai”. Only after more than a fortnight is there space for women; that too separately and not in the main organisation! Why? Is it because of the male syndrome that ideas come only from men? That planning is to be done by men? That discussion and deliberation is the prerogative of male leaders? That women are…

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