Nagaland…..A state where the social system describes “Womanhood” as “raising a family well.”
Males of Nagaland do not want women to interfere in the sections they are dealing with. The best example of this is the recent uproar in the state over the 33% reservation to the females in Local Urban Body Polls. But in such an adverse condition a lady is showing the path to many others with her sheer grit and determination.
Rosemary’s early life:
- Rosemary Dzuvichu is the lady that belongs to the lands of Nagas, who fight for their entity in the state for a very long time.
- The social system of the state is patriarchal where women are mostly found doing household works.
- She belongs to the military surroundings as her family members are serving the nation.
- Her house was near to the military camps Kohima where the clash between forces and Naga underground groups was so common.
- Dzuvichu developed a rebellious streak since her childhood.
- She attributes her fighting spirit to her grandmother Zeliezhu, one of the first women leaders of the underground Naga National Council.
- Her mother has played a special role in carving her as a free bird.
- Rosemary achieved many graces in her life as she teaches literature at Nagaland University.
- Along with this, she is an adviser to the Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA), an apex body of women in the state.
- Rosemary, also associated with organizations that take up human rights issues and political empowerment.
- She made her presence felt in local administration in Kohima too.
- As the president of the Kohima District Mahila Congress, she had drafted the party’s first manifesto on women.
- Yet she remains the exception, for the norm in Nagaland remains of women not having a role in public life.
Lady behind the 33% reservation of women in the state:
- Women of Nagaland account for the 55.75% of the total population of the state.
- Along with this, the state has more of women voters than men.
- The state has had no woman MLA with Rano M Shaiza being the only MP (Lok Sabha) during the period 1977-1980.
- The reason why Rosemary felt the need of upliftment of the womanhood of the state.
- Dzuvichu and the NMA decided that it was a high time for women in Nagaland facing the difference based on gender.
- Therefore they demanded 33% reservation in urban local bodies like everywhere else in India.
- Though her path to this was not easy and she received criticism as well.
- Patriarchs opposed the idea, citing customary laws of Naga tribes.
- By Reservation, they feared, could alter social equations and said women, who don’t have property rights, not supposed to be in administrative or leadership roles.
- This led to a major uproar by these patriarchal people of the state that brought destruction to the state.
- The NMA went to court in 2011 seeking a directive to immediately hold civic body polls with 33% seats reserved.
- The polls were to be held in January-February 2010 but were indefinitely postponed by the state cabinet that predicted trouble.
- After the decision of the High court, the apex court finally entered to the matter.
- In April 2016 court ordered the Nagaland government to hold polls across 32 municipal and town councils with a third of the seats reserved for women.
- The government too conceded that stalling elections in the past 10 years hurt development.
Rosemary’s personal beliefs:
- Dzuvichu feels that the mindset in Nagaland has to change in an era when even the most rigid of nations are moving towards greater gender equality.
- “It took World War I for women in England to enjoy voting rights, and American suffragists imprisoned and beaten up by police,” She said.
- According to Rosemary, “We haven’t had to fight for the voting rights, but we will continue to our rights to be public representatives in constitutional bodies.”
- “My exposure to other cultures and education beyond the confines of the state let me see positive progress elsewhere,” Rosemary said.