Making Indian cities safer for women

The molestation incidents in #Bengaluru are reminiscent of the incidents of ‘Taharrush’ in Europe which have been attributed to immigrants from non European countries. This is a very sad state of affairs when women in India can’t go out on the streets to celebrate New Year’s Eve without fear of being molested. What’s sadder is that on such occasions the focus invariably shifts to insensitive remarks made by politicians. This incident should rather make the authorities wonder how something like this can be prevented. If a large number of people have to be controlled by force, we will not have a safe society in our lifetime. Consider that if just 5% of car drivers in Mumbai decide to disobey the traffic laws tomorrow morning, there would be chaos. Cars would pile up on highways and there would be massive casualties. Consider what happened in Kashmir last year. Large mobs of people attacked the police station and destroyed it. The cops had to run away. There are never going to be enough cops to prevent crime. People have to be responsible for their own behavior. Crime needs to be prevented by changing society. This isn’t just about ‘changing the mindsets’ of people. The problem is much larger.

UPDATE: The Times of India has since published a report claiming that this incident was blown out of proportion.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Earlier this week, when I paid my bill at a restaurant, the guy taking it chuckled saying ‘That’s like half my salary!’. I realized that is probably true. And this guy is among the gainfully employed ones who will probably be far more comfortable financially in a couple of years time given his efficiency and drive. Look at the ones who have nothing going for them. No education, family background and zero employment opportunities. Many of them migrate halfway across the country to work as labor in a city where they can only afford a vada pav for breakfast and a little room in an overcrowded slum. They see people spending more on shoes than they have saved over months. They live in sub-human conditions, have no access to healthcare or basic sanitation facilities. For most politicians they are little more than a vote bank to be used and discarded. There is growing discontentment among these have-nots in our society which needs to be addressed. These people come from a society that is deeply patriarchal. Recognizing women and their equality with men is probably slightly higher on their list than their concern for the environment, global warming and saving tigers. They see urban women many of whom are far removed in their appearance from the women in their families. To go from an environment where women are not allowed to interact with men outside their family to a city where couples cuddle and kiss in the open and women step out in shorts is apparently a huge culture shock. They know the odds are very long of being able to befriend or even make an acquaintance with urban women. As a fallout of this distance, these people have as much empathy with you as you have with them, which is probably close to zero. This leads them to objectify women far more than the average person. That they are wrong in the way they perceive and treat women is unquestionable. The troubling reality is that you and I can do little to change this. It’s our government, which has to step in. They must encourage industrialization and generate employment in India’s hinterland so everyone can stay in villages with their families, while the villages develop into towns and eventually cities. Right now in metros like Mumbai, we’re living in an insulated space, away from the harsh realities of India outside our air conditioned cars and Uber cabs. How long can we do this though? We need a massive overhaul of the system with a crackdown on red tape and corruption to encourage industrialization across the country. Education and healthcare facilities also require an expansion to ensure a better quality of life. It’s about time people stopped batting for their pet causes and demanded a more equitable India.

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