India’s shame

Indian women are not yet free

Icons abound. Indian women have risen to positions of power, prominence and influence — a prime minister, a fighter-pilot, a new-economy CEO, a international top-cop, sundry Miss Universes, Miss Worlds, even a Booker prize-winning terrorist-sympathising rebel of all causes. But their millions of ordinary counterparts are trapped in an incomplete freedom. They have and use their right to vote, they have and use their access to education, they have and use the opportunities created by India’s economic growth — but they still dont think its completely safe to take a stroll down the road, unaccompanied, even in broad daylight.

Discrimination of women in India carries on unhindered irrespective of caste, class or religion. The traditional preference for the male child has meant that illegal sex determination tests, resulting in foeticide or infanticide, are as common in urban areas among educated people as in rural, illiterate families. Violence against women, in the form of eve-teasing, rape, wife-beating and dowry deaths, has shown no signs of abating even as the country takes the great economic leap in an increasingly globalised world.[HT]

Its not as if there are no laws to protect women — there probably are one too many. It is the application of those laws that leaves everything to be desired.

12 thoughts on “India’s shame”

  1. Praktike,

    Again, a matter of shame, that usage is also Indian. Here’s what The Free Dictionary says

    Eve teasing is a euphemism used in India for sexual harassment or molestation of women by men. Considered a growing problem throughout the subcontinent, eve teasing ranges in severity from sexually coloured remarks to outright groping. Some guidebooks to the region warn female tourists that eve teasing may be avoided by wearing conservative clothing, though eve teasing is reported both by Indian women and by conservatively dressed foreign women.

    Various reasons are suggested for the prevalence of sexual harassment in India. Some feel that it is the direct consequence of a puritanical and sexually repressive society, especially one in which women traditionally have no voice and nothing resembling equal rights. Others insist that the influence of western media is the primary cause. Indian movies, especially those from Bollywood, have a mixed record on sensitivity towards women’s issues. While some tend to be overly pedantic and take an extremely conservative tone on sexuality, others, especially those directed towards the youth, have been criticized for questionable attitudes regarding women.

    In recent years the Indian government has made some efforts to round up eve teasers. The deployment of plainclothed policewomen for the purpose has been particularly effective. However, long-term solutions are unlikely without fundamental changes in societal attitudes.[TFD]

  2. I know.
    Its indefensible.
    Doubt whether laws can, in and of themselves, make much impact. maybe with time they do. The leftist lobby did get somethings right. They enacted the anti-discrimination laws and held up the civil rights movement – both of which brought considerable relief to blacks in the US over the period of a generation.
    Maybe, with women gaining more and more financial independence, things in india too will change.

  3. 2 suggestions to prevent eve-teasing, and molestation of women:

    -Legalise pornography, and regulate it.
    -Legalise prostitution, and regulate and tax it (the most frequent users of this service will be our Nehru-topiwalas, for sure).
    -Improve education (duh).

  4. Wow looks like you and me are in agreement over a lot of things. Looks like I joined the party a little late however 😉

  5. hello
    iam journalist from KASHMIR HERE THE WOMEN ARE REGULARLY FACING EVE TEASING due to neglance of police as they are here only to control militancy and women are suffering

  6. promote co education in india. Don’t separate boys from girls. Let them feel that they are same humans barring biological differences. Eve teasing is an off shoot of curiosity one gender about other gender. This gets evoperated if you teach them basics of safe sex education from childhood itself. Am i not right ?

  7. Hi,

    PK, you are right. One of the main reasons for sexual harassment- yes, eve teasing is just a stupid euphemism- is lack of proper knowledge and comfort with the opposite sex, in the educational stage and beyond, for most people in India. The conservative might approve this lack of will/necessity to educate people and attribute this to conforming to the “Indian culture”, but this kind of attitude is definitely misplaced and is one of the main reasons for deterioration of our great culture – the very aspect of India it is tryig to ‘protect’.

    The need of the hour- and this might not be exhaustive- is to:
    1. Include basics of sex education in the school,college curricula.
    2. Mete out higher punishment to the offender, make it public; this would act as a warning to everyone. This is done in a lot of countries now.
    3. Encourage Indians in being more forthcoming in reporting offenses- to the police(this is a different ball game altogether) and others- cases where the offender is from the victim’s relatives or is a close neighbour(one article written by a woman says that she couldn’t complain to the offender’s wife because she couldn’t break the wife’s heart)- well, duh! how many hearts would that guy go about breaking if allowed to run free??

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