Political Consciousness among Rural Women in Indian Himalaya: A Study of Kumaon Hills

Dharmendra Kumar Dube


Present piece of research is an attempt to investigate and access the political awareness among rural women through their own view point. The study was conducted in the Eastern division of Himalayan state of Uttarakhand (India). Keeping in view the vast ecological variation, the study area is divided into four ecological zones named as Shiwaliks, Lesser Himalaya, Great Himalaya and Trance Himalaya. Stratified random sampling technique was used to select 25 villages from study area giving due representation to each ecological zones. Descriptive statistical techniques were used for the analysis of the data. It was found that all women cast their vote in village body elections (Gram sabha and Gam Panchayet) but this enthusiasm of participation sinks down for higher election of state assembly (MLA) and Parliament (MP), 56.82 and 46.46 percent respectively. Though almost half of the women cast their vote for higher elections yet only one-forth to one-fifth women know the name of their elected MLA and MP respectively, which depicts that they don’t have much interest in these higher body elections and casting vote is just the execution of the family decision taken by the males of the family. Further it was found that only 27.33 percent women know about the political parties and affiliation to the parties is limited to 4.68 percent women only. However 86.33 percent women were aware about the duties and functions of village bodies and more than two-third supported the higher reservation for women in these bodies. A clear cut zonal variation in all parameters of awareness and action were observed under different zone, ranging highest in Siwaliks followed by Trans Himalaya and Lesser Himalaya and the lowest at Great Himalaya. Besides drudgery and illiteracy, lack of access to the information was one of the major factors for poor awareness of politics. Only 22.79 percent women listen daily news through radio and Television; just 6.06 percent read newspaper every day. Besides these the socio economic setup, poverty, accessibility, proximity to the cities and plain areas and less importance given to the rural women by political parties and candidates are the other major factors for their poor awareness.

Keywords: political consciousness, elections, rural women, Kumaon hills, Himalaya,

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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