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After the celebrations on the last evening of the previous year to welcome the beginning of the New Year, We, Bengalureans woke up to a breaking news flashing on most of the TV channels : Bengaluru Shamed, mass molestation of girls at MG Road and Brigade Road. Then followed the statements and reactions of the various people. Some said that these things do happen on such occasions. Some said that girls wear western dresses to invite troubles themselves. Some said that why do young girls go out partying late in the night and so on. Some of our netas openly rebuked the victims and took sides with the molesters.
In our country, it is very common to put all the blame on women for every obnoxious thing happening around. We have adopted western ways in countless things. We use western toilets instead of Indian ones. We eat on dining tables rather than sitting on the floor in a traditional way. The list is practically endless. We never see anything wrong in it just because its a matter of personal preference. We use iphones, ipads and all the western technologies with pride. When men dress in tuxedos, ties, bows, they are called gentlemen. But when women dress in western attires, they are labelled as bold. Why the matter of personal preference is not applicable on it ? Why this disparity ? Why any such incident triggers a debate over women's clothing ? From time to time, our own Netas keep on pouring their distasteful remarks over the dressing of women. Can someone assure me that if we women stop wearing western dresses and shun all the western ways, the crime against women in our country will become zero ? Are girls wearing salwar-kameez or a saree not molested, teased or raped ? So, why such hullabaloo over clothing ? I guess it is the only excuse they have to defend their incapacity to curb crime against women.
The question we ask is why do girls/women go out in late night parties ?When men go out and drink, they are just having some fun. But when women do the same, they are inviting troubles, Right ? Why we become so partial ? Instead, we should ask ourselves why women can't go out when they wish to. Just because its not safe ? So, why not to make it safe for them rather than judging them in each and everything. Why every restriction is applicable on them only ? Why can't we make strict laws and impose serious punishments for such crimes against women ?
The pertinent question still remains, who is to be blamed ? the molesters ? the law and order authorities ? the Parents or the Girls themselves? If someone asks me, I would say psyche of our own people is the main culprit. Women has always been objectified in our male chauvinist society. They have been seen as the object of fun and enjoyment. Many men think its okay to flirt with and molest women who wear revealing clothes and drink on night outs as according to them, they do not belong to the category of sober ones. They are 'waisi' ladkiyan according to their classification.
No matter, how much we cry about equality, the rights and the safety of women; the situation remains pretty much the same. Off late, whenever someone talks about the rights of women, there is much hue and cry about pseudo feminism. But, I doubt the concept of pseudo feminism can exist in a society where the safety of a women is a big concern. For me, the society which cannot treat its women with dignity and respect, is the worst place to live in. In my opinion, the progress of a society should not be just measured on the scales of materialistic development but also on the fact that how it treats its women. Call me a feminist, a pseudofeminist or a rebel for that, I won't mind. Also, when people say that such things like molestation and eve teasing happen, it implies that they are pretty much comfortable with such news. The reason is, we hear such things on a daily basis. There is nothing new in it. But isn't it something serious and shameful that we don't even realise the severity of the situation ?
It is high time we think beyond the clothing (I had seen a billboard at some place in Bangalore which said, ''meri skirt nai, teri soch chhoti hai'' and I do agree with it ). We need to stop blaming the fairer sex and take some concrete steps towards the safety of women which is the need of the hour. After having said all that, I would also like to add that some responsibility also lies with our youth. They need to behave maturely and responsibly. They need to draw some boundaries. They should realise that whenever they go out for a fun time, they should not get carried away to the extent which creates menace at the public places and jeopardise their own safety.
P.S. Shame the molesters, shame the conservative mindset of people but not the beautiful city of gardens.