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I’m A and I have been living in London for the past 1 and a half years. Until then, I was born and raised in Chennai; and used to patriotically boast about the Indian-ness in me. I was introduced to your blogs by one of my friends/colleagues who in spite of being a non-Indian, shares the same sort of feelings that I do on such issues on a humanitarian basis. But for the past few weeks, whenever I read different stories (or more precisely tragedies) in the papers about sexual harassment; I realize I can’t improve the conditions or empathize, but quite helplessly apologize on behalf the sex-starved, perverted men who do the unimaginable. At this juncture, I hope the world and most importantly our country and its women accept this apology even though it sounds insincere; as we have to enter the recuperation phase with regards to sexual harassment, women empowerment, and even corruption –
and we have to do this ASAP.
After reading your blogs on this issue, I can’t help but appreciate you for the time taken in closely following the issues happening back home. So, I thought of feeding you some inputs as well. Talking about culture and how women were suppressed heavily both in the society and even at home; I would like to say that I’m really lucky to have been born into a family that isn’t as bad as a few others. With regards to your latest blog, I would like to bring to your notice that, the Indian culture very strongly teaches people to respect the elders and women. I don’t know why, but somewhere down the line, they forgot the “woman”part of it. I also have heard numerous stories where fathers, uncles and next of kin sexually harass and rape their minor daughters and nieces, which is HEART-BREAKING! It was not just for daughters-in law but also for daughters and even wives to stay quiet and even leave the room when an elderly person enters. I remember my grandma telling me stories about her mother and earlier generations wherein the wives weren’t even allowed to call their husbands using their names. It was deemed disrespectful.
Before my mail gets too long, I would like to voice my opinion. At the outset, forget all the debates about capital punishments, laws, corrupt officials, and so on. There are TWO things that worry me greatly!
1) How will we make sure we make our country safe for women (especially our mothers, sisters, missus, etc.) — Capital punishment and castration?! – NO! we are taking about prevention and not cure (don’t know whether it can be called as cure in the first place). Taking to arms and guns?! Hell NO! In fact, statistics in the US say that women become more vulnerable to injury when having a gun for self-defense; and statistics do not lie. Please see - http://www.independent.co.
They might be enough for shooing-off the odd and lonely groper in a public place. But aren’t we seeing what’s happening?! What can a helpless lady do when she is held down by a GANG of men? Self-defense is as worthy as toilet paper then isn’t it? What will happen when you provoke a gang of men who already have perverse and wrong intentions. Sadly, it won’t just be their privates that penetrate the poor lady, but even unimaginable things that are often reported. Where is safety here?! How can I “prevent” my sister or female-friend from being sexually molested? This is what we, as a society should be concerned about! NOT changing the laws, or castrating the accused! For God’s sake, lets for once shift the focus on the right questions (ie; preventive measures) in order to provide security to women rather than discussing about repair measures.
2) It is not just deep remorse that I feel when I read about such issues. Its ANGER. Pure RAGE! The majority of politicians, who “RULE” our country are uneducated or have only a preliminary level of education and have some sort of criminal history hanging around like an albatross. I am simply IRKED by the senseless misogynistic comments passed publicly by many such politicians and even worse — office bearers of high ministerial posts. Given below is a collection of such comments which I thought might be of some interest to you.
“Mamata is decorating her house with rape victims.” - CPM leader Anisur Rehman. Mamata bannerjee is the current Chief Minister of West Bengal.
“Those who claim to be students – I can see many beautiful women among them – highly dented-painted (sic) – they’re giving interviews on TV, they’ve brought their children to show them the scenes.” - Congress MP Abhijit Mukherjee
“Delhi’s burgeoning population trend is further exacerbated by the continuous and unbridled influx of people from all over the country”. - Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit (who happened to attend and “dance” at a controversial Punjabi singer – Honey Singh’s party when the entire nation and mainly Delhi was fuming and mourning the death of the 23 year old Jyoti.)
“Kal tak paiso ke liye TV par thumke lagati thi. Aaj chunavi vishleshak ban gayi” “You (Smriti) were loitering around acting in TV shows for money and today somehow you’ve become an MP”- Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam about BJP’s Smriti Irani (on a LIVE debate at prime time on NATIONAL TELEVISION).
“Rapes are happening because men and women are interacting more freely”. – West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“From which bhatar (Bengali slang for a prostitute’s client) did she (WB CM Mamata Bannerjee) get Rs 24 Crore (Rs 240 Million) to fund the Trinamool Congress’s poll expenses?” - CPM (M) MP Anil Basu
“Jaise jaise samay beet-ta hai patni purani hoti jati hai, woh maja nahi reh jata hai.” “As time passes by wives become OLD, and is no FUN to be with (or – becomes boring)” - Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal
“Just because India achieved freedom at midnight does not mean that women can venture out after dark”. - Andhra Pradesh Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana
“One of the reasons behind the increase in incidents of eve-teasing is short dresses and short skirts worn by women. This in turn instigates young men.” - Trinamool Congress legislator Chiranjeet Chakraborty
“I think that girls should be married at the age of 16, so that they have their husbands for their sexual needs, and they don’t need to go elsewhere. This way rapes will not occur.” – Haryana Khap Panchayat member Sube Singh
“I don’t feel any hesitation in saying that 90 per cent of the girls want to have sex intentionally but they don’t know that they would be gang raped further as they find some lusty and pervasive people in the way ahead.” – Haryana Congress spokesperson Dharambir Goyat
“Poverty and intoxication are the main reasons for rape as well as young people sitting together the wrong way. But also eating chowmein causes a hormonal imbalance which is a big reason for rapes.” (REALLY?!?!?!?!) - Khap leader Jitender Chhataar
“There is no need to give phones to women and children. It distracts them and is useless. Why do women need phones? My mother, wife and sister never had mobile phones. They survived without one”. – BSP leader Rajpal Saini
“Ban skirts as school uniform to reduce harassment of girl students.” - BJP MLA Banwari Lal Singhal
“Rapes happen in India, not Bharat.” - RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat referring to westernization of our society.
“If you want to sell a BMW, obviously the BMW has to be strategically placed between two bikini-clad women, so that the people don’t notice the BMW, but the women.” - BJP member Sheshadri Chari
“Women display their bodies and indulge in various obscene activities. Women are unaware of the kind of message (their actions) generate.” - Vibha Rao, the chairperson of Chhattisgarh State Women Commission – referring to models and actresses.
“Virginity was preserved (before the British era), but purity has been totally disturbed by these models.” - Vishwa Hindu Parishad international president Ashok Singhal”
“There is a theory of social contract in the universe. A husband and a wife are bound by a contract which says – you (woman) look after the household chores and satisfy me, I (man) will take care of your needs and will protect you. Till she delivers her duties without fail, he keeps her on the contract and if she fails to honour the contract, he disowns her. And if it is the husband who is not honouring the contract, she can also abandon him. One can go for a new contract then.” - Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat
There are more. I have added the translation in a few places, but the entire compilation was quite strenuously put together by the correspondents of popular news channel CNN-IBN http://ibnlive.in.com/news/
I literally fume reading their statements. Again, are these the ones who have set out to amend our Laws?!?!? When a college graduate who is required to have a decent score and a CV is made to attend numerous interviews and struggles to get a trivial job with a basic salary, how can we SIMPLY let our nation be ruled by plain IDIOTS like these without demanding ANY educational qualifications whatsoever. Not to mention the numerous criminal charges that person faces and in most cases even found guilty!!! When India’s most intelligent and the smartest of the lot, struggle for years to clear the service exams to get the much sought-after and revered posts in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), etc., their efforts and pride goes down the drain on day ONE of their service when they are made to stand and salute Ministers who barely saw high school!!! I strongly feel the focus should also be on this 2nd focal point – Amend laws so as to demand a basic educational qualification for a person to be able to hold a ministerial post along with the necessity of having a clean Criminal sheet!! The equally big problem of corruption will gradually decrease as well, if we have politicians who TALK SENSE and not blame Chow-mein for increased number of rapes!!
Hope I’ve been able to feed you on a few points from my POV. Congrats again on your blogs. Hope you keep up the great work and spread the word!!!