Women Vs. We Men in India !!!

“We attain the real freedom only when a lonely woman can walk freely anywhere in our country during midnightMohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

The Father of the Nation must have said this in the 40’s not with animals or aliens in mind.  He clearly alluded to the lurking threat from ‘we men’ to the women community.  Sadly, going by this definition, we as a country might have achieved political freedom, the economic freedom may be just in sight but the “Real freedom” may be light years away. The recent ghastly incident which took place in our country’s capital, Delhi beat the daylights out of me as most of my fellow citizens.  It will be naïve to assume that Delhi is an exception as a city in India and other cities are quite safe.

There is a heated debate today in India on ways to stop this – ranging from Speedy justice, Capital punishment for the accused, fast trial courts for women related crimes,…,..  The lady victim/fighter or whatever one wants to call her has to live through the trauma almost every day of her life. Even if she wants to forget, the society will keep reminding her of the same.  So by hanging the culprit and taking his life, you are giving him the freedom which the victim does not have.  According to me, he must live and live to repent his shameful act every day/ every hour / every minute / every second for the rest of his life.  At the same time the punishment must be delivered in such a way that makes other men think 1000 times before they unzip before an unwilling woman in a moving bus or elsewhere.

That could be

  • Fast track courts exclusively for women related crimes with women as judges
  • The victims compliant corroborated with circumstantial evidence to be treated as final evidence and the accused charged
  • Laws amended to make “Castration” as the punishment for Rape against women
  • Judgment to be delivered within 1 week of any such incident
  • Punishment executed within 1 week from judgement

As a liberal, I’m in general against capital punishment and other such primitive punishments and agree with the view that these kind of aboriginal retributions have no place in a civilised society. However I’ve come to the conclusion that laws and punishments must be in tune with the civility and morality index of the country.  A country where a woman is raped every 2 hours (as I hear) cannot certainly be in the august group of Civilised nations.

Let us hold those grandiose pretensions for a while till as a country we learn to behave and demonstrate civility in general.

  • It’s time to think less about economic recession and worry about morality recession.
  • We face sleepless nights about currency depreciation but don’t bat our eyelid seeing the depreciation of values in front of us.
  • While being delighted watching the bullish trends in the stock market, let’s get concerned about dousing the raging bullish attitude of ‘we men’ towards women.
  • Time to have targets for Gross Discipline instead of just for GDP growth.

May be it’s time to deliver justice the primordial way which may eventually act as the much-needed deterrent for such heinous acts.  Somebody passed me this link from a Tamil movie – though this is a bit crude and violent way of delivering justice, I’m certain a variant of this form of punishment may prove to be the final deterrent for crime towards women!

While this could be a short-term solution, we must pause to pose the larger question. What is with Indian men that make them treat women with contempt, as an object of desire, as an item, ..,…?  As part of the oppressing gender in India today, I cringe with smallness.

To me, it looks like that’s the way we have been brought up in the society.  Till the time I started travelling out of our country in my 20’s I didn’t realise the “Women Vs. We Men” battle being staged in our country day in day out.  I would like to enumerate some of the scenes most of us I’m certain will be witness to :

  • The office elevator reaches the ground floor with men and women in it. As soon as the door opens, the men just rush out without having the basic courtesy of waiting for the women to step out first
  • At the same elevator, as the women try to get out, you will find men charging in to get into the lift – as if the lift is a local train.  In Mumbai where I live now, I see this “Suburban train” approach (which is basically barging in before people get out or without giving space for others before the train leaves) in everything. Even if it’s boarding a plane, getting into a theatre, driving a car on the road,..,..
  • In the airport coach at the departure or arrival gate – you will find very few iPhone/Blackberry wielding alpha males yielding their seats to females even if they are with infants or of the elderly type.
  • The driver of the car keeps honking as a pedestrian who happens to be a woman tries to cross the road and makes sure she halts so that he can breeze away. The short stint I lived in Dubai taught me that as a driver the 1st priority is for the pedestrian.
  • A group of office colleagues (male and female) get out of the company bus and walk together towards the office door to make an entry. Seldom will you find the male members allowing the ladies first and awaiting their turn later.

You may feel that I’ve spiced up some of the incidents for better effect, but actually not. These are what you get to see in the ‘Maximum(bai)’ city every other day! So I was not at all surprised when Mumbai was voted as a ‘Rudest City’ in a worldwide survey of 35 cities by Readers Digest.  That it was Mumbai was just incidental. It could well apply for most of the big cities of India.  I’m not claiming that Readers Digest is the ultimate authority in judging morality or civility, just thought not out of context to quote that to drive home my point.

As a long-term solution, the need of the hour is to coach our children on the basic courtesies in general and towards women in particular and not to view them as just an object of desire. We owe this to our nation. So, tomorrow when I leave my house with my family in the car, let me start by opening the door for the 2 ladies at home!

Enough

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34 thoughts on “Women Vs. We Men in India !!!

  1. Arun says:

    Stand up and offer your seat in bus or metro to a lady, and get a dirty look, you think of me as the weaker sex. I now just get up as though I’m preparing to disembark.

    The issue is not lack of courtesy. The American South is known for its politeness, but women are not on par with men. It is the whole cultural setting which defines masculinity in terms of holding an upper hand over women.

    Like

  2. Omanakuttan says:

    Very good expression that we all the so called new generation Indians should realise where we are heading to especially your below comment.

    “It’s time to think less about economic recession and worry about morality recession.
    We face sleepless nights about currency depreciation but don’t bat our eyelid seeing the depreciation of values in front of us.
    While being delighted watching the bullish trends in the stock market, let’s get concerned about dousing the raging bullish attitude of ‘we men’ towards women.
    Time to have targets for Gross Discipline instead of just for GDP growth.”

    Like

  3. kavita says:

    very well written and very timely, enough is enough, and may be this unfortunate event which has shaken the fabric of the nation was needed to shake all of us and arouse us from our slumber, from asking the govt to change things, that will not happen, but instead make a difference start a movement and be a catalyst of change. Thanks for the article

    Like

  4. surya narayan says:

    Hi Anandwell said. Male offenders need stunning punishment that is serious enough to scare people away from commiting such crimes. I also wish women don’t take up western culture too much either eg., living together without getting married, sex before marriage etc.I believe moral values are the one that made our country better than the west. Advanced Happy Birthday wishesSuriDate: Sun, 23 Dec 2012 13:03:46 +0000 To: drsurya@hotmail.com

    Like

  5. Khushroo Cooper says:

    While I wholeheartedly agree with you that capital punishment is not the solution and a stricter form of punishment, one that will infuse fear into the criminals and deter them from committing such crimes is essential, I have a few reservations.

    Fast-track courts are helpful once the guilt is established. The system needs to be fair to the “accused” as well. It is not unknown that men have been falsely accused of committing crimes against women; possibly falsely incarcerated as well.

    The other point that I disagree with is the lack of chivalry. I believe in a society based on equality and firmly believe that you cannot have a sub-system of privileges for a system whose goal is equality. There is a fundamental flaw in that theory, call it reservation at a more grander scale or chivalry in your everyday life. Equality and privileges don’t mix. With equal rights come equal discrimination.Hard words but thats what equality brings; a single baseline.

    That been said, I agree with the being courteous and considerate, things that have become a rarity in the modern world.

    Thanks for your post.

    Like

    • Yeah , I have struggled with this equality v/s privilege debate. I don’t have the answer but I strongly feel equality doesnot give one a license to be rude. Here in the west tht is what has been happening too. and on the other hand it puts a lot of pressure on women to appear to be strong , individualistic and self-sufficient. It makes you feel bad if you ask for help.
      I think chivalry or courtesy is not extended because someone else is weak but it is offered out of the goodness of one’s heart.

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  6. Chandra Nagarajan says:

    The main problem is a dysfunctional criminal justice system which takes years to deliver justice. If the system is fixed to deliver justice in months, rest will fall in place.

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    • Hi Chandrasekhar, I agree. Swift and severe punishment will serve as deterents as we have seen in other countries where Indians follow the law diligently while in India – they don’t care. Thanks for your comments.

      Like

  7. Martin says:

    Anand, a really good entry! You put the finger on something very important, unknowingly or not, namely that the huge inequality in India has a huge part in this. You write:

    “However I’ve come to the conclusion that laws and punishments must be in tune with the civility and morality index of the country. A country where a woman is raped every 2 hours (as I hear) cannot certainly be in the august group of Civilised nations.”

    This is something that I understood while traveling in India, that the middle and upper-middle class want the country to be thought of as equally modern as western countries. At the same time people are defecating in the streets and in some cities you see essentially only men walking about. Those are both signs of a country with a long way to go. Don’t get me wrong, I think India is a awesome, marvellous, fantastic country with huge potential and *parts* of it is definitely on par with western countries.

    But this inequality, both between rich and poor and between men and women is what is holding you back. That and corruption.

    Like

  8. Vijay Venkatachalam says:

    at last i found some time to read this… very well written… especially i liked the 5 scenarios which u’ve mentioned. Very true which i saw in most of the Indian cities wherever i’ve travelled… Basically it calls for “Self-discipline” which is very hard to get imbibed… if u’ve a disciplined approach to any act then u’ll not have to enforce things… Well done anna.

    Like

  9. junaikjunaidk says:

    Lot needs to be done for security of women all we know that .
    “I don’t feel fear, rather there is a lot of anger and
    I don’t hesitate to say this. Many of us are
    privileged to have a lot of assurance about our
    safety but most of the women in our country do
    not have that. A lot is being said but a lot more
    needs to be done about it. There should be definite laws for offenders. They should be
    punished immediately. That is when we will see
    the change in the society,” says Aishwarya, who
    was in the capital to attend the second edition of
    Zindagi Live Awards.
    I have to say ”We must make our women safe and secure”
    It is not a matter of rape alone, but about respect
    that is given to women in public places, homes or at work.Schools and colleges should compulsorily train
    women in self-protection methods.Above all, it is important that as a
    responsible civic society.If a woman is sufficiently ambitious, determined and gifted – there is practically nothing she can’t do.

    Like

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