Anuja Kumar, a mother of two teenage girls and a human resource professional, could barely sleep on Thursday night and was up at 5am on Friday morning to be ready by the time television channels started their counting day programmes.
By noon her WhatsApp had “caught fire” thanks to the barrage of texts from friends who wanted to discuss their poll predictions and by 3pm she had taken her seat in an auditorium packed with 250 other women who were glued to a giant screen beaming live election results.
Millennium Mams’, a society that aims to empower women through financial literacy, of which Anuja is a member, had for the last two months organised intensive “political literacy” classes for over 200 women from across the city. The programme culminated on Friday with a collective viewing of the final declaration of results followed by an hour-long question-and-answer session on the financial, economical and political implications of the results.
“All these years, I have followed politics only from an arm’s length but this time once I started studying the elections, I was completely consumed by it and could not wait for the results to be announced,” said Sunanda Awasthi, a resident of Alipore.
For most women, many of whom are now independent investors and entrepreneurs, these classes were an extension of their financial learning and one that helped them gain a wider perspective of finance and investment.
“We realised finance cannot be taught independent of how governments and politics in our country work. Hence we felt that a deeper understanding of the elections would help the women understand the investment climate better,” said Bishnu Dhanuka, director of Millenium Mams’ who conducted the political literacy classes. Picture by Amit Datta