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Debate on Indian Women’s Role in British Politics


Indian Forum on British Media held an inspirational session, in Parliament Committee room on 12 th June, for aspiring women of Indian origin who are interested in political participation in UK. Reports Asian Lite..

 by . Prabhakar Kaza, the President, opened the sessionand explained that in view of the statistical fact that there are very few Indian women who are participating in UK politics, it is imperative l that Indian Women in UK choose the careers open to them in this field and do full justice to the available roles.The session was chaired by the host Mrs.Seema Malhotra, Member of Parliamentfor Feltham and Heston, who exhorted the women to go out of their comfort zone and reach out to the society as a whole including businessmen-corporate/retail andother entrepreneurs.


They should expand their social circles attending businessBreakfast meetings and form their own corporate/social networks which will be useful for their canvassing. Baroness Shreela Flather, Member, House of Lords,narrated her experiences dating back to the mid-eighties when she joined politics when more often than not she was the only woman in a group of men  or in a meeting. When she was appointed to House of Lords, she was the first ethnic minority Lady member and her dress(saree) drew enormous attention. She urged the participants to stand for their rights and fight their way in all public matters. As a woman she emphasised that they have to be far better than men in terms ofcompetence and act confidently at each and every step,putting in more energy.

Mrs. Omana Gangadharan, Civic Ambassador(2007) and CoucillorNewham,London expanded on the issues the councillors face with theadministrators and in particular when you belong to minority communities. Sheinformed the audience that the job is very self-rewarding as it places the person in aposition where they can serve the society in a better manner.

Mrs. Manju ShahulHameed , Former Mayor & Councillor,Croydon, candidly stated that she had no political ambitions initially but was an accidental change of career from being a

Charity volunteer that brought her into political limelight. Her growth in the field ofpolitics has been rapid and becoming a people’s Mayor gave her lot of satisfaction.Unlike public perception she informed the audience that the status/perks of the jobare amply compensating. The job does involve making huge personal sacrifices butpermits leaving behind a decent legacy and widening the scope of services that canbe rendered to the citizens.


Not all speakers were electorally successful politicians. Mrs. Nirmala Madadi,who lost narrowly in the last elections narrated how she doubled the votes her partysecured, by reaching out to the constituents and vowed to fight on. She exhorted

more and more Indian women to participate more vigorously in local elections as

voters,volunteers and councillors.While not understating the fact this additionalinvolvement leads to stress on family time, the compensation of serving people fromthe political platform would be truly satisfying.

The talks were followed by a Q & A session in which the panel emphasised on theimportance of securing the co-operation of the family members in these efforts. Theaspirants should also gain the support of their colleagues as any victory in politicacampaigns is a team effort.The event was anchored by Simi Arora and ended with a vote of thanks.