Ladies, imagine being fined for using your mobile phone! Women in a village in Bihar are facing exactly such a predicament. Reportedly, a village panchayat in Bihar has asked its womenfolk not to use cellular phones, and have threatened them with heavy fines if they violate the diktat. The news is from the Sunderbadi village Panchayat in Kochadham block of Kishanganj district in Bihar.
Mohammad Manzoor Alam, who presided over the meeting, said that mobile phones were the cause of all evils in the society, and were responsible for the rising number of love affairs and instances of couples eloping. Alam added that the decision imposing the ban was met with favour from the attendees, especially the village elders. The ban essentially dictates that if a girl is found using a mobile phone, she will have to pay a fine of Rs 10,000, while a married woman will have to pay Rs 2,000 if she were to be found talking on a cellular phone outside her residence.
Mobile woes (Image credit: Getty Images)
Reports suggest that Kishanganj is one of the most backward districts in Bihar and has 60 percent of its population living below the poverty line.
If this instance reminds you of Rajya Sabha MP Rajpal Singh Saini's statement, don't be surprised. Saini found himself grabbing national headlines recently for stating that children, especially girls, should not be given mobile phones. “Don't give mobile phones to children, especially girls. I say this at all the places where I make my speeches. And if any of these kids have a mobile, take them away. What are they missing anyway? What are the girls missing without mobile?” he said. He went on to add that mobile phones were distracting and useless.
Saini clarified later that he meant students of a certain age should not be given mobile phones. “What I am saying is that students should not be given mobile phones… It is the age to study, and mobile phones are a distraction,” he said.
However, Saini earlier shared his view with a distraught man whose daughter had eloped. He said that the mobile phone was responsible for the daughter’s move. Saini went on to add, “Our mothers, sisters… did they die if there were no mobiles during their time?”
The mobile phone is the preferred device for communication today. Changing lifestyles, a modern outlook, and education, among other factors, have led to women becoming self-reliant and owning a mobile phone today is not a status symbol anymore – it's a necessity.
This clearly isn't the first time that women have been banned from using phones. In July this year a village panchayat in Bagpat district of Uttar Pradesh banned love marriages, and went as far as to disallow women below 40 years of age from going out for shopping and girls from using mobile phones.