Who is Tokheli Kikon? Isn’t that the first question buzzing in your head? Well, she is a politician hailing from the beautiful land of Nagaland. Rolling your eyes, thinking what is so special about a female politician? She is an inspiration, to say the least. There is a general perception that Northeastern states are governed by matriarchal philosophies. Nagaland, however, has carved a name as a highly-patriarchal society.
Tokheli Kikon broke the glass ceiling of the men-dominated Naga political world by being the first elected female MLA of the state.
She is the first and the one woman ever selected for such an elected position in Nagaland. Nagaland was formed in 1963 and consists of 1,200 villages. Naturally, Tokheli Kikon becoming the elected MLA is a very big feat for the Naga women. She started her journey of being concerned about public life during the period when Nagaland was left scarred and torn due to the insurgency. She stepped into a dangerous situation to rescue many youths. In her own words:
‘I rescued a lot of youths when there was no ceasefire, and, in the process, gained confidence. I am a grassroots worker and people are happy with my work.’
According to the 2011 census, the state population consists of 9.5 lakh women. The number of men, however, is 20 lakh. This figure is enough to portray the huge gap between men and women population. Patriarchy is a harsh truth of the place and it is evident from her statement:
‘Naga men will harp on gender equality, but scratch the surface and you will see the patriarchal mindset of the people and the biased customary laws.
Her ride into political life was far from easy. This 60-year-old lady had to face the threats and physical assaults for standing up against people who were involved in land encroachment. However, the mother of three never gave up and stood her ground fiercely.
She is such an inspiration that shows that we should never give up our fight, even in face of adversities. The only thing we hope that the path she paved will be explored by other females too. Do you have something to say? Share your thoughts in the comments.