The replacement woman is a satire based on gender discrimination and politics that has plagued the nation for ages. Things take a weird turn when extremists on both ends employ dire measures to counter each other.
It was in the year 2047 that justice was finally served. All genders were now equal. They were equally represented and equally repressed. Much of this revolution was attributed to the feminist movement in the country during the early 20’s of the new millennium. Out of the 38 states in the republic almost 22 now had Feminist governments. These states had much better progress rates as compared to the others. In fact, Law and Order situation had recovered considerably as rape and harassment cases went down. Women were now represented and elected in majority. Equal pay was professed as a right and age-old discriminating gender laws were being demolished gradually. Though the power in the center belonged to a male dominated regime, the success of these feminist governments was undeniable. The united front of Male-centric political parties feared the feminists more than the Jihadis feared their doom at the hands of a woman. Their highly funded campaign, aimed at creating mass hysteria predicting the end of the world if feminist parties came to power, was a failure of epic proportions. Men and women of the new world just ignored the diktat and North Bihar was lost.
After a crushing defeat in the stronghold of Bihar, the top brass of the party called in for a Manthan Shibir. This was the time when the heavyweights were made to shed their posts and a detailed analysis was to be conducted to find the real cause for the defeat. The ritualistic finger-pointing had already begun and motor mouths spewed without the fear of being reprimanded. Yet a way to regroup and strategize for the next elections was the need of the hour. With less than 4 months for the next state elections, the workers along with the party leaders waited for a miracle. In their desperation to find a magic cure, the party ran a nationwide campaign to find the best ideas from their supporters. Of course this had to be done in a very elaborate garb of recruiting new volunteers as per the Election directorate rules. New Research and Advertising agencies were scouted with emphasis on an all male teams preferably with an allegiance to the party principles. The internal surveillance and security checked for leaks and moles within the fold of the once esteemed political party. The next election was going to be the toughest test as a washout would mean losing the home ground of UP.
Research had shown that each year, even common males had started to vote for these women-centric political parties. These were the same men who were being falsely framed by their wives in false dowry cases. Men who lost their coveted promotions to women, men who paid up money more than their salary as alimony and even a few hardcore criminals booked for crimes against women were now reformed feminists. A nationwide probe demanded by the male-centric parties, conducted by the CBI, ordered by the government and sanctioned by the ED revealed startling facts. The All India Feminist Congress (AIFC) had deployed unfair means to recruit and influence voters. Instead of the regular booze for votes and money for votes campaigns that were permitted with minor restrictions in the Indian polity, the AIFC introduced mass human right violations as a means to steer voters. Their tactics included absolute non-participation of women in family matters, rerun of old women-centric TV shows 24X7 and relay dharnas in front of male washrooms. To make matters worse, a state-sponsored campaign to implicate all men was run throughout the nation. It was reported that during the buildup to the Bihar elections more than 700 FIR were filed per police station every single day against ex-boyfriends, bosses, husbands and unknown men. Each person named in the FIR had to pledge their allegiance to the AIFC before his name was dropped. In remote areas Feminists khap were appointed that were known to rule in favor of women. Men lost their inherited lands, houses and even clothes. Feminists leaders hailed the campaign a success and claimed that the men now knew what it was like to be suppressed for centuries. Yet despite the evidence and records, it would be decades before a judgment was passed against the AIFC, much like most of the women harassment cases.
Inside the heavily fortified mansion in Allahabad, the stalwarts roamed dejected amongst the clueless followers. Still trying to recover from the trauma, the over excited volunteers burned effigies, shouted slogans and stoned a few houses randomly just to vent out their frustration. In an unprecedented move cutting across religious and political lines, the leadership of the party invited their arch rivals: Clergymen from a different communion. These clergymen and their followers lived in the fear of obscurity as their own gender-biased personal laws were being discontinued throughout the nation. With various campaigns such as ghar pravesh for the men to shun feminism and embrace hyper-masculinity as prescribed by the party was pushed forward. The extremists from the party even suggested that preplanned riots and bandhs be announced so as to hamper the newly appointed feminist governments. More matured political elitists advised in holding religious places and the parliament at ransom. Yet dissent was widespread as none of the political veterans, experienced brand gurus, religious hatemongers, hyper-excited trigger friendly goons and biased media failed to reach a consensus pointing to a definitive strategy to fight the menace. But it was not until a young IITian from Delhi spoke that hopes to make a comeback sparked in the audience.
“Hello I am Vikas Kumar…” said the shabbily dressed IIT dropout. He came from a typical dysfunctional feminist family where his mother was in power and his father would be afraid to say a word. Yet when it came to the future of their only son, the parents left no stone unturned and ensured that Vikas got the best tutors and guidance. Despite being a brilliant student when somehow he failed to get a seat in the top institutes, he could hear his mother wish for a girl child. Yet here he was, standing in front of his role models presenting them one of his own creations.
” So what do you have for us today, Vikas.” said a husky voice that Vikas recognized almost immediately. It was Dr.Vohra, the patriarch of the party.
” Ins…Instead of me presenting you, let me show my project.” said Vikas as he signaled someone from behind the curtains to come forward.
As the person came forward on the stage, the crowd gasped in shock. Words failed even the most seasoned politicians as they saw a young woman walk in front of them. The furious crowd was ready to lynch the traitor for betraying the most sacred vows of the party.
” Are you mad ! How dare you? These people will kill you for bringing a woman into the party building.” warned Dr.Vohra as he furiously called upon the security guards.
“This is not real…She is not real.” said Vikas.
“What do you mean she is not real….Security! take this idiot out of here now !” shouted Dr.Vohra.
“She is an android…a robot that I designed. She is not a real woman. It just looks like a woman.”
” And why on earth would you present this to us. Do you want to mock us?”
” Hear me out. I designed this woman…this android on your principles of Bhartiya naari. She is not a feminist. You don’t have to fear.”
” You have 2 minutes to explain yourself. If not; don’t hold me responsible for what the crowd does to you.”
” I have always been a fan of your writing. Your 1980 book about the ideal Indian woman inspired me to design this android. Yes, the robot looks and behaves like a human but it’s not. I have programmed it to follow all your doctrines on the Indian culture.She can cook, she can clean the house and she can stay confined to a room without any fuss. She can recite all prayers and hymns that too from all religions. No shopping hassles or extra attention or demands for special rights.”
“Does she protest and report to the police like a normal woman does?” asked someone from the crowd.
“Not at all. In fact, I have made her exactly like women were a century ago .”
” What about taking commands from us?” inquired an old politician.
” Each prototype will be programmed to take commands from a specific person. Soon you can have your own woman just like you have your own transponder and Tele pod.”
“What do you mean? Have a woman? Is the robot marriable?” came the curious curt question.
” Yes. Given a few rules and regulations, I don’t think there should be any issue. You can keep a robot at home without charging and avail others robots too. And since its is a Robot, no infidelity or divorce laws would apply.”
” Avail others? can you customize it?” the audience was hooked to the presentation now.
” Of course. You can customize the robot as per your wish. She can come in a saree, a western outfit or a burkha. She can also speak in various regional languages with multiple accents.”
” Though it sounds amazing, I have a few doubts. What about the fact that it can never replace a woman. You know like give birth and propagate the species. I doubt it can ever do that.” Dr.Vohra questioned.
” I agree as of now it sounds impossible. But I am working with a few scientist on a project. With the help of artificial insemination even these robots can give birth. Another five years and these robots will replace every feminist in this country. If we market it at the ordinary male, I am hopeful our voter base would quadruple. We can even use these droids to infiltrate the ranks of the AIFC and they won’t even have a clue. It’s just the start and the possibilities are limitless”
” But there is still one question, Vikas. What do you name it?”
” In order to overthrow this cruel and unjust feminist reign, I have decided not to name it. It is a slave and will always remain a slave. The project will be known only as ‘The Replacement Woman’.”
Tears of joy escaped Dr.Vohra’s eyes even as the jubilant crowd rushed on stage to cheer and celebrate the young visionary.
Little did anyone know that Vikas Kumar, a virtual nobody now a political superstar, and his invention The Replacement Woman had changed the course of history in matter of minutes.