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