Sleaze and the city…

 

After living and having lived long enough in relatively safe cities venturing out alone after 7PM in a city like New Delhi is not exactly my cup of  tea. I am completely at ease in Mumbai but Delhi is a city where I wear an armor of caution around me, I am more than adequately vigilant and ready to brandish a sword even if someone were to tap me on my shoulder. Delhi does this to me, all the time, every time. I sound and look like I have depleted bucket loads of caffeine, and I am most surely on the edge in this city. If there is one word that describes me better, it could be frenzied. I do not recall being placid in Delhi.One does not have to wait until midnight to see something evil lurking in the dark, but I stay petrified of shadows ( mine included ) that lurk around. I do not believe I am capricious in my judgement of the capital city. The city continues to have its regular daily lavation of murders, rapes, kidnapping and other forms of crimes. It continues to top metro’s in crime rate and it is surely not getting any better. Not surprisingly, the city also has the highest crime rate against women. I can sum up Delhi in three “U”s – unsophisticated, uncultured, uncouth.

In comparison, the other metros are a lot more endurable. Yes, they too have their share of crimes but there is some element of trust that manifests amidst the smoky haze of these cities. Bangalore is a city where I could swiftly transubstantiate myself into karate kid if need be. In Chennai I could possibly defend myself with a flourish of Tamil,with a wag of the tongue. Mumbai, cosmopolitan and busy has no time to pester the ordinary, you can do your own thing and the city lets you be. I lived in Calcutta many years back and from what I now hear from friends, Calcutta remains by and large a cultured city. Hyderabad is safe unless you decide to venture into the old Charminar area in the middle of a riot. Sadly, I am a chicken in Delhi and I have  been able to pin point the exact reasons why. I have not wandered and meandered in the streets of Delhi on my own, I do not play Christopher Colombus and prefer being sheltered amongst known faces and places. Even when I shop in the so-called upmarket areas of Delhi like GK, I am conscious of my surroundings, I am conscious of myself. The men look and sound like they have never seen a woman before.The staggering crime rates in Delhi, the regular explosions in crowded market areas are enough to play games with the mind.

Unfortunately for us women, there are many things that need to be considered before wearing an explorer’s hat in India. Forget exploring the unknown, even the known has its due share of risks. Working friends from Chennai narrate stories of how impractical it is for them to use public transport. Stories of harassment of women riding buses is not unknown. Regrettably, there is no alternative for these ladies and they say they “endure” it all. A bit of redressal happened during Jayalalitha’s (one who has never ridden a bus but capable of bulldozing those puny men who dare to harass her kind ) tenure.There was an element of dignity brought about when “ladies special” buses were introduced.The state also increased the number of women police stations and it now has the highest in the country. This provides a relatively safer platform for women who are constantly harassed and teased to lodge a complaint.

Bangalore, safe and sound as always was rudely awakened last year to the cries of ladies harassed in pubs by the Ram Sena. For years, even long before it became silicon city, Bangalore was known for its pub culture. Girls and guys freely mixed and partied in a society that was not only cosmopolitan but above all venerable. Groups such as the Ram Sena tried in vain to introduce an element of “sleaze” in the minds of the happy-go-lucky multitude. Elements still strive hard to introduce mayhem, but they are being held back by logical minds. Having lived in Bangalore for most part of my life, I can confidently state that this is one city in India (besides Mumbai) women are likely to feel the safest.

Despite our comfort factor in familiar cities in India, the “safety” factor for me has been the greatest in non-Indian cities. Melbourne, a city where a stray crime incident would bag the headlines for a few weeks or months until the crime is solved is probably one of the safer cities in the world. Little surprise that it also stays in the top three livable cities in the world. Yes, you may raise an eyebrow and wonder about the Indian students who died there recently. I see this as a one-off incident and one which has got its fair share of coverage from the Indian media. I had also discussed in detail my own views on it here – https://sharmilasays.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/the-curious-case-of-indians-down-under/ I share the same view of Hong Kong which I would think is a lot safer than even Melbourne given it has a much higher population and a lot less space for the population to fit in. In these cities I would not think twice about taking a cab or using public transport even past the mid night hour. The psychedelic lights that come on in these cities after the sun goes down are a stimulant.I have never been on a similar venture in India, not even in Bangalore.

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76 Responses to “Sleaze and the city…”

  1. MonaLisa Says:

    Sharmila,
    3 ‘u’s you mentioned are quite alarming. shocking enough that that The Capital city is the place where highest crime against women occupies front page or at least some space in newspapers more often than any other place in India. Yet no concrete steps have been taken so far for safety of women….so sad..
    The way you described men in the capital city of India is hilarious….’as if they never saw an opposite gender(woman/girl) in their lifetime’…… 🙂
    No matter how high Indian men blow their bugles about culture & all that, it proves how low their (average man’s) mindset is and an opinion/attitude for opposite gender.
    Although I am not sure, how safer the Public Transport in western countries are in wee hrs…either…!

    • Yes, Delhi is a sad state of affairs. It would be foolhardy to prove a brave point in this city unless you have ample security around you. Sad , but true. Mumbai is a lot better and so are the other cities. Re – public transport in the west, I was making a point about Melbourne and Hong Kong. Would not say this about Chicago or New York.

  2. MonaLisa Says:

    Sharmila,
    Glad to see ‘Maradona’ on Top…his deserving place…! nice pic…
    The Tiger on top looks fierce and cute…! such a gorgeous creature….The Big Cat is…!

  3. It is ironical that Delhi tops the cities among crime against woman despite the fact that the Chief Minister of Delhi, Mrs. Sheila Dixit, is herself allegedly feminine. And the city prides itself for the presence of Sonia Gandhi who issued a party whip for her congressmen to pass the Woman’s reservation bill in the parliament.

    However, in the instances that you have quoted above, I would not blame my own gender alone for the distraction.

    Yound college girls in cinema halls or shopping malls are not all Sarawati or Laxmi or Sumati. They do exercise their freedom to attract attention in more ways than one.

    The city boy who falls prey to these cats is often one who feels like Prithviraj Chauhan on his famous horse Chetak only to realise later that the girls are better riders and he is no better than the horse!

    Just watch the way a Punjabi aloo-paratha girl manages herself in a crowd. She can carry two or three of these men on her left shoulder and still board a bus with a comfortable smile.

    Allow me to tell you the account of an incident I witnessed in a village near Pune called Saswad.

    This village sleeps quite early after sunset as there is no electricity most of the time. (That is probably one of the reasons for the population explosion, but we’ll leave that topic for some other day).

    I was riding my motorcycle through a small 3 feet wide lane. My eyes were focussed on the tracks below trying to carefully avoid a litter of pigs and the surface drain on both sides.

    The headlights of the bike illuminated some distance. And I literally broke into a cold sweat as the shape of a medusa-like woman appeared right in front of me standing in the center of the lane. I held the vehicle and my breath instantly.

    “Bhaiyya..” she cried.

    “huh?” I said

    “Have you seen my husband?” She whispered in a low voice that brought me back to life.

    “Who are you?” I asked politely.

    “Its me..” She said

    “Hmmm..” I said, at least re-assured that she was not a loose soul that was separated from the machinery, “Whats your husband’s name?”

    “Bhima”

    “Yes.., ” I said helpfully, “He is lying on the road there.”

    And I went back with her to the spot where her husband was lying completely knocked out for the day by a spirited revelry at the local pub.

    I offered to help her pick him up and she said,

    “No need. I will carry him back. This is a daily ritual. Sometimes when I don’t find him he lies like this for the whole night. Dumb idiot is going to freeze to his death one day.”

    And there the matter rested. I returned to my shelter thinking about the woman and the man. What sort of relationship is that? A Husband-wife, a mother-son, a father-daughter, a brother-sister?

    I played an old song of S. D. Burman before going to sleep:

    Sunn mere bandhu re, sunn mere mitwa, sunn mere saathi re…

    … … … Listen my brother, listen my mate, listen my companion…

    The song is addressed to the same person… what sort of a relationship is that? It is humanly impossible, I said to myself, and went to sleep.

    The next day I met the man taking his daughter to school, I waved at him and he waved back with a polite smile. And in that instant I knew why that woman was struggling to keep this man alive…. they were a family!

    Quote:

    Maho Arnah Saraswati prachetayati ketuna |

    Dhiyo vishwa vi raajati ||

    … … … Saraswati awakens the knowledge of Truth by resolving perceptions |

    … … … The world is thus illuminated by Intelligence ||

    (Rig Veda 1.3.12)

    (Translit mine)

    We see before us a world of changing values. Saraswati today is just an esoteric concept – not a real woman.

    The real woman is in the shopping malls sweating in her pants. Why blame the males alone for the crime rate?

    • Reader – Your comment requires a lengthy reply, Will be back, with the daggers.

    • Egad! I will go find my Armor of God…

      Atha te antamaanaam vidyaama sumatinaam |

      Maa no ati khya aagahi ||

      … … … Then may we know a little of your inner most righteousness |

      … … … Show not beyond us, join us ||

      (RV 1.4.3)

    • Reader – Dress code has nothing to do with sense and sensibility of the oggling lot in Delhi. One could be covered from head to toes yet not be spared. The tormentors will bully, insult and tease.Even the most “rugged” of women are subject to harassment in these cities. The brave ones if you wish to call them that just become thick skinned over a period of time and altogether ignore what is going on around them. We try so hard to ape the west, again this is one are where we fall miserably short. It is considered rude / impolite to stare, let alone at only a women. When do we ever learn this? Yes, if somebody is going out of her / his way to attract attention it still does not mean that unwanted attention is given and whuy shoul it just because te other party is boisterous?This is a lame excuse. I see so many drunk women here who attract the same kind of attention. Honestly, no one gives a damn and thats how it should be.

    • Sharmila,

      Sorry for the late entry. I was away all day.

      Dress code surely does “not” have much to do with sense and sensibilities of the oglers. Let me make a list of women who are “impossible” to stare at:

      1. Old ugly women

      2. Old beautiful women

      3. Pregnant Women

      4. Middle-aged women with lot of baggage… she normally calls the first person who looks at her to help her carry the weight.

      5. Women in hospitals

      6. Women in politics

      7. Women selling detergents door-to-door

      8. Police Women

      9. Mothers-in-law

      10. Women in sports mainly shooting, boxing and martial arts

      11. Women in red light areas

      12. Half-naked women begging on railway stations

      13. Women who use abusive language

      14. Women doctors

      15. The Boss’ secretary, unless you are James Bond

      16. Women CEOs

      17. Women lawyers

      18. Ones own mother

      19. Ones own sister

      20. Ones own wife

      21. Fat women on the dance floor

      22. Girls who want to get married

      23. Girls who stare at the boys’ behind

      24. Girls who like rich boys

      25. Girls who come first in the class

      26. Girls who wear too many loose clothes and wear matching specs

      27. Girls who bring their brothers for a movie

      28. Women who forget their credit cards at home

      29. Girls who argue

      30. Women who don’t argue

      etc etc etc…

      🙂

      PS: You did not say anything about the missing cast of Saraswati, Laxmi or Sumati. Or is it too late to expect women of this age to have moral values? Do we need scoundrels like Ram Sena to use this as a political opportunity?

      Vagabonds are not just men, there are as many women vagabonds as men.

      Walk into a night club and watch a show. Its entirely run by women who are far more sleazy than a man can ever be.

      A girl’s body language changes with her attire. A man can think of romance and passion regardless of what he is wearing!

      🙂

      • What do you expect the crowd that parties in a night club to do? I am not advocationg sleaziness from either of the sexes. The younger generation consider their moves and grooves in a night club to be “hip”. This is the case world wide. However, it does not mean that this hip crowd gets attacked on the road when they are not asking for trouble. There can be a Saraswati or a Sherry or a Shehnaz in a night club, if they ask for trouble on the streets of Delhi and provoke ( verbally or physically ) the vagabond, not much can be done. But, if they walk the streets of Delhi with no intent of provocation, it is unacceptable.

      • Sharmila,

        here is my take.

        I can speak to a vagabond for 2 hours and convert him into a powerful human force that no one can stop.

        But I am unable to reconcile that the hard working women in the village and the socializing night club ‘hip’ are both Indian women.

        Guess its only me. The vagabonds obviously know something that I don’t. At times I think the police constable supports the vagabonds against what he thinks is unethical/ unbecoming behavior.

      • Reader – Forget India, have you read about instances where women in Saudi Arabia have been raped? Thats a society which has the strictest of laws and yet women are harassed, molested and raped. And what is your definition of “Indian woman”? The clubbing woman, the village woman, the woman in parliament, the President of India, the socialite, the illiterate woman are all one and the same. None of these women should be subject to any form of inappropriate behavior in a society which is uncouth.

      • MonaLisa Says:

        Well..! In that case ‘Law and Order ‘ can provide, can be a key factor of mitigating the tension and bring he situation down to truce between two genders…
        Unfortunately in India, even if there is a law of protection, its very hard to implement it in this case scenario like other serious matters.

  4. I can understand your vantage point about the safety of the city after dark but I must completely disagree with you about your 3 U assessment of the city. Delhi is a massive metropolis which makes it a city that must be traversed by car. Having said that it is the political, cultural , and intellectual hub of the country. During the day time it … See Moreoffers greenery and parks that Mumbai could only dream of, shopping malls boutiques and stores that rival anything in the west, superb dining (Bukhara, Karims, Wasabi), and mega hotels. The rich history and culture of the city is reflected in the countless sights and attractions (Qutab minar, Redfort, India Gate, Parliament, etc) as well as the chaos of CP and Old Delhi. The cultural sophistication of the India Internaltional Center with the multitude of great speakers rotating trou is always a must on a visit to the city. The serenity and history of the Delhi Golf Club as well as the great snacks on the lawn at the Gymkhana on sundays are always a treat as well. I do admit that there is a very north indian bias in the city overall but that is a reflection of the fact that it became the defacto home to many Punjabi families after partition (mine included).
    I doubt I’ve changed your take on the city but I wanted to give a slightly different vantage point.

    • “greenery and parks that Mumbai could only dream of”

      that’s because of the price of property in mumbai. it’s rs 1 lakh/sq ft in some areas right now as we speak. so parks dont stand a chance when such money gets involved.

      however you might not know that mumbai has the world’s biggest national park within city limits. 100 sq km out of the 600 sq km island is a national park which is 1/6th of the city (was 110 before slums gobbled up 10 sq km). add to that the 60 odd sq kms of mangroves (might be 58 now..builder must have chopped off 2 sq km as we speak)

      thats 160 sq km of greenery. go and count the trees in delhi…you might be surprised that we have more trees than your city.

  5. Vivek – Thanks for your view. I have put up your comment on the blog too as there may be other readers who share your point of view Yes, I did not write about the pretty things that Delhi offers including it’s great cuisine, the Delhi Gymkhana, Golf Club, the boutiques at connought, GK, it’s architecture etc, I may do it as a travel diary. My focus was on how safe this city is for women in general, for tthose who do not traverse by car or wine and dine at the Gymkhana. No problem with the city being more North Indian based and less cosmopolitan, the attitude on the streets is quite dastardly.

  6. Sharmila,

    In my opinion, from a perfectly visitors point of view, I would rank the cities in this order:

    1. Bangalore: Safest and most recommended despite the one-ways.

    2. Mumbai: Best services in the world for all budgets.

    3. Calcutta: Cheap

    4. New Delhi: Rich

    5. Old Delhi: Criminal

    6. Chennai: Unsafe and not recommended even for a stop-over unless you can speak Tamil.

  7. MonaLisa Says:

    Reader,
    Is there a problem with a girl’s/woman’s dressing or the fault lies in an attitude to look at them…!?
    Punjabi paratha girl description is hilarious…!

    • Depends on the person who is looking. If he is used seeing his mother and sister in those dresses at home, he won’t feel tempted.

      Punjabis are a strong breed! They believe in brute strength and won’t marry anyone below 200 pounds either gender!

      • Correction: Para 1 line 2: used to…

        Can I ever write one without corrections?

      • MonaLisa Says:

        Then again its a matter of mentality and attitude towards opposite gender. woman is nor merely an sex object anymore as those vagabonds think she is..!
        Do you mean ‘Burqa’ clad women never get molested..!?
        Such behaviour is the result of quite an absence of Respect for opposite gender.

    • Precisely my point. Lets not forget how Venus and Serena dress for the grand slams. Not sure what would happen if they were to play Tennis in New Delhi dressed that way. Ah, we would never know thankfully as we have the commonwealth to first finish up with despite the best atheletes dropping out.

      • I think I didnt make myself clear.

        Let me re-state my view.

        People (both male and females) who ogle at the opposite gender have an in-built inferiority complex.

        And given the average Indian at 5’6″, Venus and Serena will give them a permanent paranoia!

        🙂

        PS Mani Shankar Iyer, Sr. Congress Leader has gone on record on TV that the CWG complex has installed 3000 condom vending machines in the hope of making Rs 3 Cr!

        Wonder what common games this wealth is about!

      • ManiShankar Aiyer has lost the plot.

  8. MonaLisa Says:

    Hmm….That’s not right…! Are you suggesting that there should be a Dress Code…!? well…One can’t always blame on opposite gender’s dressing or something else and let those vagabonds loose…considering them Mr.Clean..
    wow..! 200 pounds…! is the weight an indicator of strength…!? 🙂

    • Ofcourse we don’t need a dress code. In the near future the children of this shopping mall generation will be comfortable with the current fashions.

      I am talking of a behavioral code which is in a state of flux. And this needs a common campaign not gender based discrimination. The number of vagabonds in the city are always more than in the villages and the rule/fear of law is practically non-existent.

      In the villages a vagabond indulging in eve-teasing or similar such nuisance will be stoned to death.

    • MonaLisa – Yes, why should there be a dress code? Utter nonsense to have an expectation like this.

      • There is absolutely no need for a dress code for men or women.

        Women in any attire will always look like women.

      • MonaLisa Says:

        Yaa…!Sharmila…! That’s what my point is…why should there be a burden on females gender for anything and everything happening to them or around them..!?
        Why there are ‘codes of conduct’ set for females and ‘no codes of conduct’ set for male gender…!? ‘coz it’s a man’s world and has been a man’s world since the existence of mankind…!?

  9. Sharmila,

    I completely agree with all that you have to say about our capital city and its people….Uncultured, Uncouth, Unsophisticated. I shall add one more U to this…Untrustworthy. I have had enough experiences to say this. When in trouble, while in Delhi, never go to a policeman for help or assistance for he is the one who befits the description of the Delhiite that we are talking about. I do not mean to offend anyone here but this opinion about Delhi is almost universal and shared by most of my friends.

  10. Anand Khare Says:

    madam,

    Woman’s vulnerability is inversely proportional to her age and experience.

    I feel very sorry for your condition of anxiety/panic while you are in New Delhi.With this reservations and apprehensions you will never be able to appreciate the city’s beauty and spirit i.e. dil walon kee.

    The belief that Delhi can be summed up in three “U”s – unsophisticated, uncultured, uncouth are unfounded in absence of any personal experience of yours in the city. Apparently,your frenzy is a result of some reports you mentioned that Delhi is top metro in crime rate and the city has the highest crime rate against women. If you go by such reports you will end up believing that ‘UP mein dum hain kyunki jurm wahan kam hai’.

    Please believe me that most men in New Delhi are have equal, if not more, exposure to women what their identicals have in other part of country.It is not that the men in Delhi look and sound like they have never seen a woman before.They some time stare/gawk at good looking pretty faces and balanced figures just to convey their appreciation for the beauties that deserved.it doesn’t mean in anyways that they are going to harm you.

    But since you have raised this issue, some tips for all women travelling in Delhi,

    1. Always try to travel by Delhi Metro.
    2. If you need a private transport, call a taxi from nearest taxi stand. They will give you number and name of the taxi driver on phone itself. It is mandatory for them.
    3. Always inform your host that you are travelling to them.Take proper address and directions. Don’t expect the driver to know everything about the locality you are visiting.
    4. Have police control number handy and approach nearest police van if you are feeling alone or someone is following you.Delhi police is one of the best in India. Don’t confuse because of their haryanvi/punjabi accent.
    5. Dress up respectfully i.e. avoid revealing dresses while on street.
    6. Avoid Noida/Ghaziabad/Faridabad in night.Gurgaon no problem.

    I have personal experience of cheating in Chennai by auto rickshaw man. My only fault, I didn’t know tamil.Still, I enjoy Chennai whenever I visit. Bangalore of-course is not same as it was before 20 years. The crime is increasing and many crimes may not be recorded.

    I would agree with “Reader’ that Mumbai,Pune, Kolkata,Ahmedabad and Vadodara may be safer for women and I think for men also.

    I don’t compare European or American cities with Indian cities for obvious reasons, the foremost of them is cost of living.

    Anand Khare

    Reader- Chetak was Maharana Pratap’s horse. Prithviraj Chauhan always used elephant. It is believed that he died in battle action riding a horse that he may be using in absence of his hurt elephant.

    • Anand,

      Sorry brother. My history was always as good as geography i.e. both are awful.

      Maharana Pratap it was, not Prithviraj Chauhan.

      I am good at anything that starts with circa or BC…!

      🙂

      PS Thank you for the concurrence. I oppose discrimination in any form, by gender, territory, faith or color.

      I say, even vagabonds are born of human mothers! I speak culture…

      🙂

  11. Anand – Thanks for the travel tips, all valid points. But, let me tell you that I have written this based on personal accounts from friends and my own experiences, though mine have been only the one I mentioned in GK and a couple of other places. The rest are contributions from friends and the stats from the newspapers. I do not think men were appreciative , they were lewd. Of course, Delhi has it’s old world charm in parts and certain areas around Race course, Rashtrapathi are beautiful. Refer to my answer to Vivek above. Delhi is not safe for women despite it being great for it’s cuisine, architecture and of course thw shopping. I probably touched a nerve, are you living in Delhi?

  12. Delhi, being unsafe is a usual observation among travelers to Delhi and when they rate cities in the business magazines. I think because it’s spread out and until now there wasn’t quite good public transportation owing to which, you wouldn’t see many people on the streets. In Mumbai there is always somebody around even at 3am in the night.

    The statistics from http://ncrb.nic.in/CII2008/cii-2008/Snapshots.pdf say that

    The cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru have accounted for 12.8%, 9.4% and 8.5% respectively of the total IPC crimes reported from 35 mega cities.

    If you assume Delhi’s population as 2 times that of Bangalore, it’s Bangalore which has achieved the status of the most number of crimes in a city in India.

  13. Sharmila,

    Allow me to take back all that I have said yesterday.

    I feel there are 3 significant issues that stand out in the post.

    1. Crime againt Women in general.

    2. The role of the moral police like Ram Sena

    3. Safety for women in Indian cities as compared to other cities in the world.

    To address each one,

    1. Crime against women by men will stop completely only when the two genders are physically and emotionally separated from each other.

    To achieve that women should be granted what they have been demanding for centuries now – complete independence to do whatever they wish.

    Men must leave women alone. Let them be happy as they are. Have an all-women’s housing colony, all-women’s clubs, schools, colleges, transport, shopping malls, towns and cities.

    Every man shall be taught to live for himself and by himself. By God’s grace he doesn’t have to become pregnant nor is he lawfully required to make a woman pregnant. Let ‘Soma’ fill the ecstasy of his life.

    2. Moral Police like Ram Sena in India shall be instructed to only protect the men from the women. Any man found in the vicinity of women shall be lawfully admitted into a hospital and castrated. I will speak to Muthalik personally next time I visit Bidadi near Bangalore. We can always get the BJP to do a pilot in Kengeri or Mandya.

    3. Indian cities can never be as safe as New York, London or Melbourne because those cities do not have as many Jacks and Psychos as there are in India. We beat them by sheer numbers. In fact we are a step ahead of the west on this. We have both male and female versions in each category.

    I would like to take back all that I said yesertday. Let us stop talking culture.

    Let us stick to ritualism as we have done for the last two thousand years.

    Let us continue to pray alone, pray in fear, pray in shame, pray like beggars, pray in remorse, pray in sickness and pray in gratitude.

    At least, this way, we do not have to think about culture anymore. This culture thingy is already becoming a nuisance. Life is too short for culture – most children in the cities have already grasped that.

    Let’s not bite more than we can chew.

    • How about the culture? Sex is more freely available in the west. Don’t you think that plays a big part? lol

      • Ninad,

        In my opinion, western culture is a lot more than just physical liberties.

        Speaking only about physical passion – for example – if your right ear is itching, use your little finger and scratch the ear. Which feels better? The ear or the finger?

        A person has just about 30 years of prime time when he talks of culture to get some short term benefits. Neither children nor the aged are interested.

        So, why bother?

    • Ha Ha..no words but sounds like utopia.

      • I hope it is only an Utopia…

        I know people who are working on 5 – 15 year business plans. I myself am working in an industry that has a business plan upto 2040.

        If the business plans of some of the regional parties’ succeed by even 10%, the children of India have no future whatsoever.

        By end of next year 2011 several states will be riven by civil riots.

        By 2012 the Western Ghats and the east coast will be fully occupied by Maoist militants. The peninsula will be taken over.

        By 2015 India will a union of autonomous states like the erstwhile USSR or today’s USA.

        By 2017 half the nation will participate in ethnic violence and mass killings like the Hutu and Tutsi because by that time the population will not have enough oxygen in the air and food in the earth to share.

        By 2018, when today’s children will be ready to function, they will migrate to Europe, South Pacific or the US.

        By 2020 civil wars in different states will force the G7 alliance to colonize the country.

        By 2021 multinational Oil companies from Texas, and speculators in rare metals and minerals will establish exploration companies across the country as there will be none left in the rest of the world.

        By 2025… hell.. who cares about 2030.. there will not be a 2025 for us…

        So, I hope it is an Utopia

      • MonaLisa Says:

        Omg…! Reader…! your example is so…..gruesomely orthodox… yuck…yuck…! never knew one gender (female) are under obligation of the other gender(male)….By God…they should and must stop obliging any further ….
        The misconduct of vagabonds become more serious and unpardonable for that matter….

      • MonaLisa,

        Is it Orthodox?… Pray tell me what is the modern version? Does the finger enjoy more now than the ear?

      • MonaLisa,

        The example was strictly about physical passion for Ninad’s comment about physical liberties in the west. It was not an opinion.

        I still believe that the mis-behavior of vagabonds is caused by an inferiority complex or perhaps hatred in some extreme cases due to their inability to meet the society’s expectations.

        The vagabond’s behavior is easily corrected – not the society’s moral values.

        There are two choices about this moral/cultural thing.

        One, go back to the ancient traditions and keep women out of any discussions or decisions about culture or morals.

        Two, set the women free, let them be on their own and keep them away from any role in a man’s morality.

        They don’t sound very different to me.

  14. Aishwarya Says:

    Sharmila,

    Most women would have had bitter experiences in their lives, in the form of lewd looks, remarks, being groped, stalked, chased, harassed, and worse, raped. It is a serious issue. I, however, dont know how mild or severe it is in each city.

    There are men and women, say celebrities/models/people in the hospitality industry, who are used to being gawked at. There are also people into rebel fashion, who prefer to be different and take the staring for granted. Rather than put all the blame on men and sound like a feminist, I would like to say that most women do enjoy the occasional appreciate glance or once over, even perhaps the double takes and second looks! The problem arises when it does not stop at that.

    We cant have a dress code – that’s a personal choice. We cannot ask people to stop looking – it wont work. And if its a bomb explosion, gender wont matter…equal in death and all.

    What we possibly need is self-defense classes made mandatory in schools and for women. Any form of martial arts or even Kamal’s kalari moves in ‘Indian’ would work! It would also be wise to always carry a pepper spray…’ammunition’ to instill confidence. So the next time women can venture out in freedom, not in fear – irrespective of the city.

    Aish.

    • Aish – Great tips. Love the pepper spray. Works well. By speaking of self defence you have given a practical solution to the entire issue. Thanks.

  15. Okay, peace.

    There’s no point in breaking an egg and trying to glue it back together.

    In my own personal life, I have always broken relationships gracefully and without trying to teach lessons. So, why should a blog be any different?

  16. MonaLisa Says:

    Reader,
    If it’s that easy to correct those vagabonds, someone must have done it by now.
    Suppressing women or cut them loose are not the appropriate solutions for today’s situation. Again it sounds like, the burden is on female as always.

    • I agree, efforts should be made to progress not regress and go back hundred years in time, trying to keep women in check. We are in an age where a woman is at par ( if not better ) than a man. My last two domestic flights in India on Jet were a matter of great pride. The pilot and the co pilot were women. I must say, it was truly a spectacular feeling. I made it a point to chat up with both the ladies post the flight. They have both come up the hard way and have not been given reservations like the way we now have in parliament, (which is dissapointing). Apart from this, vagabonds will never change, they have not been taught civility, thats where law enforcements kick in, to ensure that the society is protected from the malice of these vagabonds. The problem lies when the educated behave like vagabonds.

  17. Sharmila,

    I completely agree. This is also a comment on yours way above, where you talk about the various guises of the Indian woman. May I include all women, not only the ones in India – although it looks like they have to bear the brunt of male unfairness.

    A woman is a woman is a woman all over the world. She is as smart as a man, she can accomplish as much as a man and she has the innate right to live in a world that is not any more a man’s world, but a human world.

    Again, your and my refrain: Education is the key. Can we bring up our children in respect of each other?

  18. Renate – Of course, this applies to women all over the world. Education once again is the key as you rightly point out. Children must be taught to respect the other gender and also made to realize that the genders are at parity. I like your take ” human”wold. Abslutely apt.

  19. Sharmila, MonaLisa,

    About Indian-ness of women and corrective actions.

    I am typing a separate response because the width of the para becomes smaller and smaller as the string grows longer.

    Sharmila,

    It is a human world. Not a man’s or woman’s world. Evolution made it thus. I hope MonaLisa doesn’t thing that that is a ‘gruesomely orthodox’ opinion.

    I am a man. (And I don’t need a woman doctor to certify that.)

    Here is my opinion about women from a man’s perspective – specifically mine – not in general all men.

    1. All women are “not” the same. Every woman is different. Physically, emotionally and morally – no two women are alike. I speak from my experience. I have had friendships with women from practically every civlised region in the world. Civilised, in the sense, they have a language and history to support. Brits, French, Swedish, Bulgerian, Dutch, Ukranian, Georgians, Russian, Uzbek, Tanzanians, Libyan, Sri Lankan, Chinese, Filipinas and scores of Indians from different states. I have never found one like another, in any form or fashion.

    2. That was the reason for what I stated my view in the first two comments. 1. The traditional role of an Indian woman in resolving perceptions. (MonaLisa calls it a burden – I call it women on top!). 2. The long list of 30 types of women who cannot be stared at including old beautiful women because they stare back and say ,’Hi!’.

    3. The traditional vedic role of an Indian housewife ‘resolving perceptions’ is practically redundant. So, no point in discussing that.

    4. The unfair behavior of men towards women is still a valid point. Even kidnappers release a man after receiving their dues without much fuss but if they have kidnapped a woman she is molested even if the ransom is paid. Very unfair that. Its probably because they do that to their own wives, those wives become pregnant and make them raise the consequences of their mistake for the rest of their lives.

    I speak of kidnapping because most successful vagabonds/eve-teasers end up in that line.

    5. To answer the question ‘What is an Indian Woman’: A woman who testifies and lives the values of an Indian culture. We do have a culture that exists outside the night clubs. We have such a complex value structure that every human value, indeed ironically by today’s standards, has been personified as a woman!

    Saraswati – Knowledge

    Laxmi – Wealth

    Sumati – Righteousness

    Kali – Violent Justice

    Parvati – physical passion

    Sita – Duty

    And so on… there are as many female deities as male in vedic tradition. (This is in sharp contrast to a similar era of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates in the west)

    But thats ‘gruesomely orthodox’ according to MonaLisa… lets follow the contemporary philosophy of Noam Chomsky and Arundhati Roy… or if that is too current lets idolize Kantian mysticism that life is pragmatic.. values are whatever we wish they are… reality is whatever we imagine…

    6. Corrective actions against vagabonds are not preventive measures. Its necessary but not enough. Prevention is possible if the underlying causes are addressed – which is restoration of moral values. And this time they should not be poetically personified into women’s characters because those are irrelevant, too burdensome and ‘gruesomely orthodox’ for a liberated, responsible mother of today’s era. Those values should be re-defined and stated without using confusing metaphors. That however is the subject for a large scale reform and a joint venture for the two genders, if possible.

    Disclaimer: I, Reader, am not interested in participating in such a reform. I have wasted 47 years trying to understand some of this. I have only a few decades to go, if at all. I would rather enjoy them alone. This reform and culture is bad for health. Ask mahatma Gandhi – poor chap never had a square meal in his lifetime…

    • I agree that a woman is essentially made up of different compositions and no two woman are the same. The same can be said about men too. It is but natural that all women have the traits that you describe from the six goddesses,some more, some less, even if a woman were to not have one single trait in minimilistic terms, it does not give anybody the right to harass her.

    • Point 6 is of utmost importance. I concur.

    • MonaLisa Says:

      o’..Boy…! That really went right under your skin, i believe…..Reader…!
      Will get back to you soon on this. I gotta go now…

  20. Reader – lol on the last para. Will get back on the rest in a bit.

  21. Reader,

    A quick correction on the Gods at the time of Plato, Aristotle and Socrates:

    The 12 olympic Gods were:

    Female: Hera, Athena, Demeter, Artemis, Aphrodite.

    Male: Zeus, Poseidon, Ares, Apollo, Hephaestus, Hermes, Dionysus.

    Not complete gender parity, but not a “sharp contrast” either.

    I second your call for a reform as joint venture of both genders and I, for one, am willing to participate.

  22. Renate,

    I was referring to the practice of ‘personifying’ metaphysical values like Sacrifice, Knowledge, Righteousness, Kindness, Malice, Envy, Love, Hatred, Self-esteem, Purpose, Devotion, Worship, Reasoning, Sense of Life etc… In the ancient Indian tradition, each value was emphasized or idolized by a female figure…

    I haven’t found that too often in Greek and Roman literature.

    As you say, the contrast is perhaps not that significant.

    All the best in your joint venture. Hope you find a good team of missionaries.

    I am content with just practising what I learn. I believe, philosophy that requires to be professed is not a philosophy at all.

    Better safe than sorry. I’ll keep away.

  23. And I second vociferously all those who believe in a world of humans, surely more humane and a lot happier.

  24. MonaLisa Says:

    Sharmila,
    The problem lies when there is a vast difference in to be, to have and to believe in. We certainly believe in a humane, World of Humans…yet reality differs time to time,region to region circumstantially….what an irony..!

    • Monalisa – Yes,, there is irony in plenty attached to this notion. I agree. A humane world must be strived to reach out to but there are infinite hurdles that each and every one of us must overcome.

  25. Breaking News on Headlines Today.

    Janata Dal (U) leader Sambhu Sharan today was video taped while caning and thrashing an eve teaser in his village in Bihar. The boy was convicted by the local village panchayat which is headed by Sambhu’s wife. (33% reservation remember?). He was tied upside down on a wooden beam, and Sambhu was shown striking him on the back of the bare feet, as policemen are known to do during third degree torture. The boy was yelling for his life.

    The Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, has expelled the leader and a case has been registered by the local police. Another Janta Dal faction leader Ram Vilas Paswan says there are thousands of such cases every day, whats new?

    So, now, a vagabond is punished. And the politician is also punished. Have we moved forward?

  26. Great example. Beating up the vagabond is not the apt way of punishing him, sending him to a remand house would have worked better. The Minister needs to be reprimanded for this crazy act.

  27. MonaLisa Says:

    🙂 🙂
    Real funny things are happening in India…! ROFL….. 🙂

  28. Where is Sharmila?

  29. I never thought Delhi would be that much unsafe for women.I do not have any points to defend my city here.May be you know it better than me because I had have hardly spent anytime there recently.And when I did,things were quite serene.But its a sad state of affairs if so is the condition considering the fact that the CM herself is a woman…..

  30. Apologies for commenting on a dormant (dead?) thread but I stumbled upon this blog and this was a very interesting thread for multiple reasons.

    What Sharmila said is absolutely true … Delhi is the WORST darn metro in India and I say that as being a male traveller who has visited Delhi on numerous occasions over the last 18 yrs, from my student college days to now as a businessman. The city fits all the “Us” (and I mean all 4 Us) – its character is disgusting as it takes that deemed invicibility of “political connections” by every 5th person and adds to it the pig-headedness and testosterone fuelled male ego/power trips of the Jat/Punjabi populace. Most shopkeeprs/rickshaw/taxiwallahs/cops… everyone is excessively rude. The only ones who seem to be somewhat pleasant are the staff in the 5 star hotels…most others seem to have forgotten basic courtesy.
    I have had the misfortune of being in Delhi for a couple of New year nights and this I have to say is the only place where rich spoiled, drunk, “politically connected” kids… consider it their birth right to race through the city streets screaming and throwing liquor bottles on passer bys! This is the most disgusting trait (not to mention DANGEROUS!)

    Not sure why the thread veered off into discussions of morality and values of men vs women…its a grey area and all sides are correct (and wrong) … so no comment form my end…but all I wish to do is underline the fact that despite having an awesome city with great history…Delhi as it stands since my 18 yrs of experiencing it, is easily the worst metro in India and seems to plumb new depths every year. It is the one place in India I hate going to (and I have visted all the states in India, including all the North-east states…cos I love to travel) So I do not say this with any prejudice… it is with great sorrow that I have to say our country’s capital is our worst advertisement.

    • Sharad – thanks for a great comment. I completely understand your point of view here about our capital city. It is surely not pleasant living there.

  31. bhojpuri video songs…

    […]Sleaze and the city… « Sharmila says…[…]…

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