Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Women in India violated!

There is this latest article by an American student doing the rounds, about how she felt violated and traumatized during her study tour in India and how she ended up with the PTSD. Refer article here:

This post would seem like a continuation of my previous post about India. India is all about rich history, beautiful architecture (whatever is left of it), variety of cultures and all of that. I love this country no doubt, but the only way to be safe here is to rise above the 'common man' status. Which again would mean probably joining politics and other illegal means. Sigh. Coming back to what I really want to talk about here, women in India. Its not about having fair skin and coloured hair here. Its about every woman that gets out of the house.

I am born and brought up in India, with a fair share of exposure to foreign countries. I have been brought up in a fairly modern family in the armed forces. Majority of my childhood I lived in NOFRA, colaba, Mumbai. Very secured, very safe. And its nothing like the typical 'India' you experience outside. In my early teens, we had to move to this city of Indore, because dad had taken up a job there. Thats when the cultural difference gave me a heavy jolt. One incident where  had worn shorts and went for a walk with my dad in the colony attracted eve teasers and hooting calls. My parents had restricted me from wearing shorts, spaghetti tops, short skirts, anything that was 'inappropriate' as per the culture there. That's when I began hating the place. Any place or culture that objectifies women, doesnt let them be, isnt worth liking anyways. There were many such incidents following this one that only increased my disdain for the place.

Cut-to youth. The Real world. Back in Bombay. Working. I was back in Bombay and working. But no more in the security of Colaba. I was traveling in trains and meeting new people. I was scouring the common man's markets looking for work related things. When I connected with my Bombay again. It had changed. Although it is miles ahead of the cultural shock that Indore was. It was still different. I didnt feel safe. I had hit men at station for trying to grope me. I was reporting men for eve teasing. I was being stared at. Not only stared, there is a very crass term that men use when they look at women, its called 'chakshu-chodan'. I am sure all women here would have experienced that. There were men looking at women and pleasuring themselves in full public view. All this without any apprehension or the slightest of worry of being inappropriate. Sadly, in India only women are inappropriate, not the men.

Walking around in India with the common public, women feel like fresh meat, amidst hungry dogs. unless you are traveling in an AC car, doing rounds of an upper crust mall, and going back home, you will be subjected to everything that the article above says the student went through.

Again, I am not generalizing 'all Indian men'. But c'mon whom are we kidding. How many of Indian men are gentlemen. A fraction few in India. A very small percentage. Those men that wont eve-tease, that wont comment, that wont stare, that wont lust when they look at women. Men who would step aside when a woman is passing by, and not try to stick their elbows out so that it brushes her breasts. How many? Not many Indian men I am afraid.

The student also mentions attempted rape, that I agree happens in other countries as well, and not only in India. But what happens post rape is another story here. The women are further victimized, they let the men get away with it.

I would think all Indian women should have PTSDs cause we go through this every day, every bloody day. But we have grown thick skins now. We have learnt to hold our bags to our chests and walk. We have learnt to keep our head down and stare at the road, We have learnt to wear headsets listen to music and not hear the lewd comments. We have learnt to compromise and learnt to be victimized. We get sexually harassed everyday and don't even realize it to that extent. The saddest part is that, this has become second nature to us.  We are ok with it.

For women in India sexual harassment translates more into embarrassment, as we are made to believe time and again that its our fault and not the other way around.

I hope more mothers teach their sons to respect women. But then, will the labours, street and slum dwellers ever learn that? Maybe not. Maybe in some years the educated and learned people in India will stop existing and just move out. This co-existence is becoming more and more diificult.

Cheers to a new India. Sans the intellectual class.


krushal malde said...

nice blog...
very true...women are still not given the respect they shall be entitled to...few days back i was at inorbit mall....there in parking lot..i found a man pulling his wife's hair..dragging her...i and my friends went there...we were waiting her to ask for help so that we can provide some...but she didn't said a word... but just cried.....unless women doesn't speaks one can help....every women should raise their voice against all violence..........

Anonymous said...

Many Indian men ARE gentlemen. If a man spends a few seconds longer looking at a woman, depending on how she looks or is dressed, I dont see how that makes the man evil. Sure India has large numbers of uncivilized, crass men and women do face a hard time but this blog seems to give a far more negative image than what is real. India is not just MP UP and Haryana. There are other states too and women hold slightly higher places in society there. N btw, Indira Gandhi ruled India decades ago while Hillary Clinton was still thinking of shedding her skirt for pants. You do need to actually go through statistics to know how safe the US is for women.