Friday, 29 March 2013

Bangalore for Women - A Times of India/ Indiblogger meet


Recently I attended a meet organized by Indiblogger and The Times of India on the topic `Bangalore for Women’. I have attended four meets organized by Indiblogger and this was the best, only for the opinions that came out. More than a few expressed their opinions about safety of women in Bangalore and one of them made me ashamed of Bangalore. The Bangalore, which I was brought up in, had immense respect for women. House owners always preferred girl tenants because unlike boys they don’t create any problems for the neighbours, and in this case this girl was evicted in the middle of a night, just because she dared to complain against a psycho who stalking her. What sort of heartless person is that owner? He is a bigger criminal in this issue than the psycho who was stalking her. I can only bow my head in shame before this young girl, for the hurt and anguish caused to her by a few insensitive citizens of my city.
Once Bangalore was a sleepy city and there used to be hardly any movement of people after 9 pm. I still recall once when I had to pay fees for ICWAI course in N.R. Colony, Basavanagudi and missed the last bus. I decided to walk back home which was 25 kms away. I did narrate this incident in the meet and you can read all about this here. Ever since the IT/BT story came to Bangalore, the city never sleeps. You can always see a young girl waiting in the middle of the night for her office cab or returning home at an early hour. Everything seemed fine until Pratibha Murthy, a BPO employee was raped and murdered by her taxi driver. A huge hue and cry was raised about protection of working women, especially those who have to travel late nights or early morning. As is the case with all hypes, this too died down. Still I see on my morning walk, girls returning alone in a cab. Nobody takes the responsibility; neither the always dormant Government; nor the software bosses who always have comments on functioning of the Government but never realise that charity and clarity begins at home; nor the Press which when such an incident happens highlights the issue to hilt and later puts it to rest when another issue becomes the burning topic. The rapist and killer of Pratibha Murthy meanwhile has got away with a life punishment. CALL ME BARBARIC, ANYBODY WHO RAPES AND KILLS A WOMAN HAS TO BE HANGED AND THIS HAS TO TAKE PLACE WITHIN 3 MONTHS OF SUCH AN INCIDENT. THE ONLY EVIDENCE IN A RAPE CASE SHOULD BE THE DNA TEST AND NOTHING BEYOND THAT. THERE SHOULD BE NO PROVISION FOR A MERCY PETITION FOR SUCH AN ANIMAL. AS FAR AS A RAPIST WHO DOES NOT KILL, HE MUST BE GIVEN LIFE IMPRISONMENT WITH SOLITARY CONFINEMENT AND SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO MEET HIS FAMILY OR ANYBODY. THERE SHOULD BE NO HUMAN RIGHTS FOR A RAPIST.
Yet another lady had complained about ladies seat being occupied by men. Sorry girls, this is not an ideal world, raise your voice, rankle a few guys and the change will set in. I have seen ladies from lower strata of the society fight for their seat in a public bus but not the educated ones. If what is rightfully yours is not given to you, learn to snatch it. Why not start a campaign on the social media `Get you’re a*** out of my seat’? Good news for girls travelling in buses, BMTC has recently lodged a campaign to book men who sit in seats reserved for women. The BMTC has an excellent complaint mechanism and you should lodge your complaints to ensure that this campaign is continued.
There was also a lady who narrated how she dealt with sexual harassment at work place. Take a bow Madamji, we require more ladies like you at work place. The best punishment for a guy who indulges in sexual harassment at work place would be to conduct the inquiry in presence of his family members. Inclusion of such a provision itself would put off many an office swine.

Trafficking of women was one topic which was never discussed in the meet. Here, I would like to point out that the print media carries classified advertisements about seedy massage parlours; friendship clubs and at time escort services. Will any newspaper’s finances crumble, if they stop carrying these advertisements?
I am appalled at the fact that after speaking so much about respect for women in the society, I enjoy item songs; dance to their beats and call up radio stations to play them. Do you also indulge in such hypocracy? I hope not.

A girls dress cannot be blamed for a rape. If dress is the reason for a rape, why do Dalit women who go fetch water, covered from head to toe get gang raped? The blame and shame for a rape or sexual harassment or trafficking or eve teasing is not on the girl but only on the man who indulges in such acts.
One last piece of advice for the girls at the risk of being called a MCP please be aware of the city you are staying; safe hours to move around; safe modes of transport and most importantly the unsafe spots. This is not to curb your freedom but please understand that your family and the society depend on you for its progress. There is no point in your precious life being lost to the designs of a barbaric just because you were not a little more aware.



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