The Youth, The Reservations and Super power India!!

Past couple of weeks have been very exciting for the country. We managed getting the Women reservation Bill through, Save the Earth by switching off the lights has become a huge campaign, virtual world becoming a factor for social cause has become huge and many more such events. I have been following these trends closely and reading comments, blogs about this stuff. Whats struck me has been the underlying current of focus on the youth, the school children, college students, young working people etc.
I can probably write about a lot of things here and link them but i somehow drew a connection between a few things i read. A post on what IIM-B has shown , the women reservation bill and the discussions surrounding them and what it means to me and this small initiative on facebook by kids of defence personnels.
The Reservation law has been discussed in detail all over with all its aspects being dissected and the whole topic of equality coming back to hound us. Honestly whether or not “Protective and Positive discrimination” is good or not is very contextual. India with all its myriad of cultural, traditional, religious dichotomies and adding to that its experiments with all kinds of reservations, does have what i can call a very skewed under standing of development. How and what of it is something i am sure can be a whole range of discussion all over again, but here i am drawing a link between this “ground breaking law” and the IIM-B news. The reservation law has been hailed as something that will bring in women to the political juncture and we will have the new age woman striding ahead in policy discussion process. The men all around have been talking about how getting more youth participating in this process is also needed. The Congress drew upon it young and vibrant band of leaders to get mileage in elections and still does actually. So reservation coming should actually be a reason for the youth and young women to get out and be there- becoming a part of the policy deciding structure right. despite what ever is being said and spoken about it shouldn’t it be something that positively encourages me to stand in the elections and try and become a part of that system? So for that comes the whole range of debate of this law helping only the “women from strong and powerful families” and what it will become. I am wondering then that are we such skeptics and actually have no faith in the “not so powerful family women” doing well. And secondly we have a lot of young people discussing this aspect too and therefore this kind of skepticism should have probably been followed by discussion on what this can mean as a future for young women who should get into politics. Maybe i have missed those kind of discussions but why is it that its not been so resounding! here i bring in the IIM-B post which is an indicator to me of what the youth is thinking actually. The organisation had absolutely no takers for social development sector despite the fact that the fee was being waived! two things disturb me- 1. the institution has to bring a “fee return” clause to make the social development field become lucrative! 2. A student saying that if “the trend catches up probably students will take it up”. Now when i read this i am able to draw a link between why a step like reservation which can be made a new step ahead has become a skeptical topic! If we have the Generation next not looking at social development as “lucrative” or “enterprising” or anything at all actually! So then how do we leverage this whole segment called “that-women-in-a-simple-life”? Why then do we complain that only the powerful will leverage this opportunity at all? The SC/ST reservation had a whole history that was not only started out wrong but also became a skewed reality when implemented. But why can’t we look at having more seats in the parliament etc as that one step at getting into the change mechanism! Are realities only meant to be dealt by “jhandaadhaari group”, only for speeches and not for the youth to get into at all! I look back at my under graduation days of law and the fact that out of a batch of 100 students in the college and many more in the university i was the only student who pursued human rights! There is nothing to boast about it but i do remember what my colleagues had to say. There were things like “i would rather have a safe career option” “i am not cut out for this” “you are passionate about causes”! So really are we to blame for this whole process of condemning the reservation law too soon without even realizing its worth!
I will say yes to this. The women today have this as an opportunity to utilize. maybe it is unfair on the men, i am no feminist, but then why not make social development a career choice? I look at this as a dismal portrayal of what we are becoming. Just like many other things we will dissect, post mortem everything and talk and discuss. But it isn’t “lucrative” so well why try it. Am i disheartened completely? Not really actually. I see discussions like these and i know there is a segment of youth which is talking. They are people who have seen what giving is all about. Coming from the defence the discussions there are what i call passionate and thought provoking. Am i biased? I come from the forces myself so yes i probably am but then i see that at least this can be taken forward. The youth is creating a dialogue of prospective roles in the politics of this country. Maybe that is the way forward which needs nurturing and guidance. Even if it is a group somewhere on a virtual world it’s at least something that makes me optimist and a believer that i will see some young guns break it out in the world of policy making soon.


Census to Become Disabled Friendly!

2011 will now be a more interesting year in terms of the Census happening and the population getting to be enumerated in the database. What is being discussed now is who all will be included in the census and what parameters will enumeration include. The disability sector has taken it as the next step to ensuring that the disabled in the country are no more invisible and have a more resounding voice in the matters concerning them. The news rooms have been constantly writing about what NCPEDP the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People an NGO has been doing for the same. As a first step it has got the government to include question related to disability and train the people who will be volunteering for the census process. Very effectively the organisation has been able to bring out how the enumeration process was a regular exercise in the British era and then was lost out! The census in 2001 had only one question and was hugely ineffective in getting the numbers right.
The disability sector has had to fight many a battles to ensure that they are given access to their rights and also at some level given protective discrimination for their growth. What came about with that is guarantees in form of laws and policies which were aimed at providing a growth stimulus for the disabled of the country. It becomes pertinent to note that though the law has been place for the longest time now whether or not it has been effectively implemented has been debated, discussed and brought to the government’s notice repeatedly. The laws though clearly indicate about how children with disabilities should be given inclusive eduaction, workplaces should become more disabled friendly, health facilities should become more readily available for the disabled and plethora of reports and findings by organisations etc stressing on the need to make the spaces around us more disabled friendly , the truth remained that the disabled did not get their due. Umpteen reports and investigations and studies indicated how the diabled were being condemned to a life which was dependent on others help, charity and whims of the abled.
With the enumeration demanded in the up coming census there are people discussing if this will help at all? With the implementing machinery in India always being at its worst its worth asking if it will really help to know how many disabled actually live in the country?
I believe that the numbers being accounted for will have a certain impact on how we look at disability as an issue in the country. Look at how the situation stands now- An access audit done by NCPEDP in colleges in Delhi gave a dismal state of affairs of the accessibility of the colleges. The reason that was glaring in the face is lack of awareness amongst the community. The same stands true for almost all the other sectors like employment etc. Lack of awareness, insensitivity by the abled community, poorly guided schemes are in some sense out comes of a collective voice being easily ignored. The disabled have been un accounted for in the counting of the people and therefore their statistics stand at whatever someone reads or hears from organisations etc. This does have an impact on how the “majority abled community” perceives disability. Enumeration in the census is expected to increase the numbers from the present 2.7% to about 5-6% which in terms of “inclusive” policy formulation and amendment of present laws becomes a big number. Service providance for the diabled and inclusive practices at educational institutes, work places, public places etc is a big problematic issue that has been the topic of discussion for a lot of decades and yet nothing seems to be done . The numbers being changed with the enumeration could mean that there will be acknowledgment of the fact that things have to be changed for the disabled.
Larger numbers always have an impact on the social psyche too. The society that has also been a hurdle in acceptance and mainstreaming of the disabled could become more sensitive by the numbers being brought about and told to the public. The public at large has always been affected when numbers have been portrayed to them in complete ways and the concept of charity and pity can give way to inclusive living and mainstreaming. Advocacy of disabled rights will also get a big leap when the numbers come out right and the community can seek increased grants, funds etc for the realization of rights of the disabled community. It is essential to keep in mind that the allocation of grants, funds, schemes are based upon the official numbers that a community has and therefore for the disabled section to be able to assert for more medical services, more grants for assisted mechanisms the increased correct numbers will hold a real value. Medical research and further technological advancement will also depend on the increased numbers becoming official and a part of notifications and government papers.
The disabled have been fighting for the realisation of their rights for a long time now and the up coming census will be a test for coming through of the campaign. The state’s real effectiveness will be show cased when the people doing the census are sensitised on the question to be asked during the census relating to disability. The state has been on the back foot for too long on the rights of the disabled and the census is that first step forward for this community to move ahead.

Stories and What They Become to Children:)

I have been doing story telling for children for a lot of time now, but never thought of writing about my experiences probably because it was always a part of my growing up. I am finally putting it down after being encouraged by wonderful people who are doing amazing things for children. So here i am sharing what amazing and wonderful wonder a child’s creativity is.
Over the years my story telling experience has been with different sets of children.
I remember my first story telling for our maids children back in class 7, when they came home for learning lessons. I would see the two kids just doing nothing in evenings and then got to know one of them was in nursery, the other in std 2 and the maid then one day asked my mother if i could help them with their lessons since they didn’t get much english exposure in the government school. I agreed and started my “tution” sessions (i liked the whole grown up feel actually!). After a week of figuring out “good mornings” and “good evenings” and almost two months of the elder one getting started on words, lines etc i noticed that the two kids looked fascinated by the whole lot of story books that used to lie around in my room. Since i never ever really got over my fairy tale, Enid blytons or classics i had a whole lot of them all over my room. The kids were always looking for a chance to see the pictures etc. So one day we sat down with the little red riding hood with all the big pictures and for an hour they just skimmed through the pictures. Then the elder one looked at me and asked me to tell them the story, which was a difficult thought because translating it to hindi and explaining it scared me. But the next day we started reading the story together, the elder one and me and the little one looking at us. We read through the first few pages with him repeating the lines after me and then getting an explanation from me as to what was happening and we did this for 3-4 days. The next week he picked up the book again and started to read the story (with my help on sentences etc where he stopped) and started to enact the story to his little sister. me and my brother became a part of the scene and suddenly we were 4 little children enacting the “Little red Riding Hood” and having a laugh.
At the end of it Manu(the boy learning english reading) started to talk about how the girl in the story could have lived in a different place and how he would have preferred a tiger to a wolf! It was probably nothing to me then, but i guess some where a little child was thinking on how he could change a story. Manu then started to bring his school text book of english for me to help with the stories in them. Although graphically not appealing he liked the idea of learning the words and knowing the story and then would imagine his own characters.
I still help such kids when ever am home on vacation etc and though am not home for too long a period i still see children warming up to the stories in their english text books once i start the process of reading them together and then enacting/almost enacting them.

Once i joined my under graduate course for law and would come back home for one month-two month leave periods i started going to the army schools to spend my time. Always too scared of what science and maths questions the grown up kids may ask i invariably went to the junior block. I love the way nursery to KG classes kids light up seeing those colorful books and nursery rhymes become so much more fun. These children have a way with words that you cannot understand initially but once you are into the story with them you realize its so much more. After the stories have been told i have seen the children draw the little princess’, the mouse or the tiger and in their own way imagine different stories and maybe expand their horizons about characters!
For kids between 1st to std 3 stories become a way of thinking. I have tried making the children draw, paint, write again stuff after they have read a story. Its always been amazing to see what the kids come with. Imagination takes wings and a lot of times children have given stories like cindrella etc a different look altogether in their depictions. With children from 4th standard onwards i have been able to do something what we call ‘lets write what we want”. Here i talk to the children about what they see around themselves and the class gets involved into the discussion when one kid talks about a little boy on the street or a girl talks about her little puppy she got home yesterday. Then we decide to write whatever we think about one of the chosen lead. So a little boy on the street becomes our protagonist and children then write a few lines, paras centering around him. They relate the topic to their lives, fictious characters etc. Some children bring in their noddy stories background too. What i do follow it up with is reading those ideas with all the kids around and more often i am asked by them to read mine. That leads us to at least trying and make children think about the world they see around themselves more closely. I do story telling twice or thrice with the kids in the school and for the month or two i am home i have had some very interesting ideas being bounced around.
For the grades above i try making them try and write stories how they want. I tell them they can write in any form, sentences, the flow doesn’t have to be what every book has and stories can take any form. So i have had some kids changing the form of the daily storybooks to what they want it to be and most of the times we have an amalgamation of so many ideas on scattered sheets of paper and yet so very resounding.
Story telling also has the power of creating a chain mechanism. We once did a story discussing session on what it meant to give with a happy heart and how we had to take out time for it.We decided that we will think about it and everyone had the chance to have their own hero for the story and what they thought was actually giving somebody something with a happy heart.The story could be developed in what ever the kids thought was a good form. This was with kids from 5-7th std. At a mess party i met a mother of one of the kids and she had a very interesting conversation to share. Her boy (Ryaan)was a part of the class and an avid reader. He was also a very strong participant in the story discussion class. After the whole discussion about giving he went back home and spoke to his mother asking if she gave her old clothes etc to the maid with a happy heart. He also asked her if like our protagonist in our story she knew she would do this even if there was a way of just disposing off the clothes and the old things in the house. That evening he spoke about his story with the maids son (who was his cricket buddy too) and the maids boy said to him, “i will give you my toffee if you want which i buy from the one rupee i get from home everyday, because you have been my cricket friend.” Ryaan came back home to tell his mother that this was giving with a happy heart and then started to share his stories with his cricket buddy every evening. Honestly i have so many kids that i probably don’t remember Ryaan’s story idea but i keep in touch with his mother and she tells me that he now helps his friend with his lessons.

When i help my mother with her kids at ASHA schools where she works with differently abled children, stories become a lot of things. For children who are able to comprehend things the characters in the books become something that they talk about amongst themselves. For a child with more serious nervous disorder he sits around and watches the books with a lot of attention and pictures are fascinating to them. Then when i try teach them simple words like king, queen, or maybe apple over and over again, some day randomly a kid picks up the book and points out to the king or the queen or the apple. For me their level of understanding is so beautiful that i still them stories while i help a kid make a castle out of the jig saw. Who knows what really is sinking into him/her and what it becomes to them.
I saw this movie “Happily Never After” which started with things like centuries after centuries the stories have had the same endings, the same lines and the movie itself does end on a happy note.I have made children see it and a lot of them do like what it says and love giving stories their own shapes. So for me story telling, reading,sharing are all such wonderful experiences that its never enough.
I was once asked, how do stories happen” and i said “people happen to us and then stories become as if they were meant to be…” So i guess what we tell out children, narrate to them become a part of them to keep…FOREVER…

Internal Terrorism and How to Deal with it?

This blog has been preempted by BBC’s WHYS topic on internal terrorism.
Internal terrorism has been an ugly scene in India probably for as long as we have known. The independence war saw the nation split into two parts which led to not only blood shed but left a scar across the hearts of many. People who were living together were made to separate and more importantly ideologies were imposed and the immediate next generation exposed to hatred of the worst kinds. India then got involved in the problems of the eastern part of pakistan and freed bangladesh. What it brought about was another wave of resentment and more people added to the list of intolerants. The eastern states were not stranger to the problem of maosits, cry for gorkhaland and more!
Jammu and Kashmir with time became the symbol of “war for independence” and with time internal disturbances else where became self determination symbols. The Punjab terrorism of the mid 80’s is a stark example of fundamentalism rearing to give it a go. Probably the only example where it was “contained” (am not proud of the way it was handled and what it became) yet the fundamentalism was throttled. There is something interesting i have observed, living in punjab for close to 5 years, that the present generation living there does not have scars etched in them badly. No denying that since the terrorism has stopped now the present generation has a peaceful life, but also its pertinent to note that the horrors of the past are not being made a part of the present understanding.
The wars being fought everyday on the borders of India are no trivial matters. They are a total mis understanding of what “identity” is and what India stands as one nation. What has constantly fueled the wars is fundamentalist attitudes and the politically correct stands India has taken. Internal terrorists are people whose ideologies aren’t really their own but invariably based upon brain washed facts, stories, beliefs which they probably don’t even adhere to. What happened next was AFSPA, army batallions deployed to kill their own people, political decisions not being made and more broth making. There is no under standing of the term “self determination” of identity and extremists ideas that are fed, imposed, taught to the populace there become the bane for future generations. With terror spreading in the country at a critical level and day to day life being threatened by fundamentalists
and the ever convenient use of “ideological standards” by sections whose strings are pulled by people who don’t have an idea on what “self identity” is!
How can we deal with it?
1. Can we allow fundamentalism to rule the roost? That can answer a lot of this debate. When people show courage on a movie like MNIK it is a sign that the populace is ready to have its own opinion. We need to allow propagation of such opinions. Maybe the hype got to it but then again people showed that they had a mind of their own.
2. You cannot allow anything in segregation. Even when you have the leaders of such terrorist groups to deal with we have to remind ourselves that the population living there is not alien. They are people who are coerced,brain washed, threatened into believing and living an ideology which isn’t there’s. Constant dialogue sharing, confidence building, trust building has to happen with the populace living in these terror prone areas. We cannot fragment these people from the totality of being a part of one nation state.
3. Allow national interest to stay above personal conflicts and therefore hard steps have to be taken. If its the army which can sort it out then politics has to give way to stringent steps. Whatever Gill did in Punjab was a curse on human rights and the reality remains he finished fundamentalism. Yes the question “at what cost” is important but at times you have to wipe out the extremists and army should not be stopped from taking crucial decisions. (I agree there can be a lot of debate here.)
4. Fundamentalism grows when you do not take action against it. When we allow incidents like what is happening in maharashtra, andhra Pradesh (India) we are paving the path for further internal terrorism. The policy makers and more importantly the implementing machinery has to move beyond trivial interests and nip this from the bud.
5. We cannot allow a collective history of brutal memories to develop. When the mother in MNIK says “there is only a good boy and a bad boy” i cringe at that. Maybe it is our collective duty to ensure that the generation growing up now and preparing for the future is not fed with hatred and vengeance. Exchange of ideas, opinions, perspectives in the youth has to be ensured. Allowing more and more students from these terror prone areas to assimilate in the mainstream cities and ensure that the youth is not brought up with a tormented history in their system. One essential thriving point of fundamentalism is the target audience that it holds and its essential that we break that cycle. Its our collective responsibility that a muslim boy does not grow up resentful or that he is not brought up with a museum of collected horror stories. The generation bringing up its children has to move ahead with a resolve that the children grow up loving and caring. When we allow a shared history of hatred being passed into generations we are creating more terrorists.

Internal terrorism can be anything from what is happening in african nations to what India has been facing for a long time now to what australia is waking up to. Though stringent actions are the call of the hour to wipe the menace the grim truth is somehow political conveniences will always hamper it. So whats needed is a futuristic step to prevent further segregation, marginalisation and ensuring that a further brand of terrorists aren’t created.

What does Having a Religion Connote?

This was a question my dad brought up a few weeks back when i was meeting my parents for a quick meeting. He was updating me on what all the matrimonial sites results for my account had been, and since i hadnt allowed him to put up a religion on my profile there were inquiries from all sects! This seemed to really irritate him and he was almost regretting the “modern day education” he had got me into!

But really what does a religion connote to all of us? For my father being a high end hindu brahmin is almost like having a huge stamp or something. He has tried impressing upon me and my brother on how important it is for us to realize what it means to be from such a sect. Now i am a confused person, at the age of 24 i dont think i am religious but i do have a small place of all the idols in my room (mothers can be very strong on imposing such things) and yet i dont pray. I like lightening a lamp but, because it has something very beautiful about it and the first lamp of the evening looks very pretty, and so it has no religious connotation. So when i go home and see my mom do the whole ritual of praying etc every morning and evening its very intriguing. I ask her what it means for her, she picked up my fathers way of religious practices post marriage and it amazes me how inspite of being a pakistani migrant and all she today associates herself with being a staunch brahmin!

Religion probably is the most read about, discussed stuff around lately but really what does it connote to any one of us?What does it do to anybody’s identity? Where does it lead any of us?Does religious identity become bigger than our identities as individuals?

I think the whole religious identity talk stems from the fact that every generation has added to the whole concept of  religion is one and all we got and refuses to let go of perceptions. As a little child we expose him/her to religious ceremonies more than drawing books, every grandfather/mother love to see the lile toddler sitting in the puja room and listening to the sermons instead of maybe little children stories. As the kid grows up the elders have difficulty to accept when the child once in a while questions, “why do we read the ramayana/koran/granthsahib?” Add to this the intolerant world we have harvested around us and we have religion as that one prominent fixture which generation after generation is used as identity mark. So then why be surprised when we have religious fragments snowballing every little issue into a religious one and why discuss what MNIK has become!

Every individual has the right to religion and also a right to change his religion as is guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and similarly for nationality ( Art 18 and Art15). This assumes significance because essentially every one can change from one belief to another and thus it is possible that a lot of people who belong to one faith change to another. Yet we staunchly fix ourselves to one religion, to one faith-why? Maybe because no generation wants to believe that next generation can have a faith system grounded on principles like humanity, community oneness, issues, causes. One generations denial to let go means that ideologies are imposed on the thinking of the new generations and innovation, in terms of new relationships forging on grounds of trust,companionship,way forwards, doesn’t happen. Religion definitely does have strong roots in human civilization but does it necessarily imply that it has to be something to everyone. I don’t think so, i donot enter a temple or a gurudwara or a church because its religious, but maybe because the places look pretty, at times because they are peaceful,nice to sit in and at times give me more people to observe. But when i meet someone and only give my first name do i leave behind a part of me which should be important? I dont think so. I think we have to realize that for states to really surge ahead its important we allow innovation and discovery in forging of relationships and building new grounds for understanding of links.
Religion today probably does have a lot to connote to us and the generations behind us and maybe we aren’t too sure what it connotes to us. Yet we are ready to be taken away by the religious manifestations of the societal discourse and instill a thinking that probably isn’t even ours!
I guess it’s time that we move beyond being secular and understand what really do such things connote to us. To me religion is not a part of my identity-what is my identity is probably that of being a human and being brought up in army a national of all the identities. Maybe that can help me forge relationships that are more true and engage on the premise of ideas, thinking and change.

The Discourses and social mores that stiffle me!

I just got introduced to wordpress and well since social media is such a re invented world i decided to give blogging a shot too.

The past few weeks have got me introduced to a whole lot of views, ideas, perspectives from different angles on issues that are daily life topics. Somewhere they linked to my professional issues too and therefore all the thinking is probably the reason why it becomes important for me to start out my blog with issues that matter.

I had a friend discuss with me about why “khaap panchayats” are the best working solutions in haryana and how the whole dictate of not allowing a girl and a boy living in the same village marrying each other saves the women there from any harm. For the uninitiated ” khaap panchayats” are a group of elderly men in the village who pass dictates on anything and everything in the village which they consider in the interest of the people. In haryana, india, this has come to mean that a boy and a girl in the same village have been banned to marry by this body of people on the premise that they are “almost siblings”. The recent times has shown the passing of “orders” by this council for murdering young people who do this and carried out effectively by the community! While discussing this my friend , who belongs to haryana and more importantly is a judge, i was shocked when he justified this by stating that , ” we don’t allow this because as long as all the boys and girls in the village boundaries consider themselves siblings the women will be safe.” He further says,” this is a system of protection brought about in the times when your latest legal dictum’s didn’t exist, when the elderly knew what they were doing.” I didn’t consider any further arguments with him because it was clear that he had his mind set on the fact that “protection of the weaker sex needed regulation of what relationships people in the village can get into.”

A couple of days after this i was in mumbai and out for a team dinner and travelling by an auto rickshaw, wearing a dress which i felt like, and in between changing autos on the street, i had a few stares, a few top to bottom look overs and heads turned! Inspite of being the impulsive i dont care person i felt uncomfortable, maybe for a second made me think about maybe i should have worn a jeans and a tee!

The BlankNosie movement and the BBC World Have Your Say, have brought up discussions like ” Its a man who commits rape and not about the woman being raped” and  “Is a rape victim to be blamed for being raped”, which somehow linked the whole thread for me.

What are the social mores that decide whether or not i can assert my right as an individual and who decides them? Maybe this discussion has been happening for like decades but it assumes important focus with legal implications and also large scale changes that are the need of the hour. What happens when we curtail the basic inherent rights of any individual? What repercussions will it have on the future law making trends? What bearing it has on our collective thinking about our own rights?

I have been a student of human rights law for almost a better part of my professional studies and been  closely associated with human rights issues right through my childhood. So, yes at some level i have  a very strong sense of assertion and realization of rights and it may show in what i say here. But at a very basic level, at a very primal level- dont each one of us think about what we should have because we are humans and therefore is our right. When we become okay with the fact that a drunk woman shouldn’t really fight too much against her rapist or when a community becomes okay with the fact that the only way of protecting its women is by forcing sibling relationships on everyone- are we not circumventing the basic social contract theory?

When a community says that no boy or girl in the village should marry each other because they are like siblings and this protects the women what have we done? We have made ourselves believe two things:

1. That man isn’t capable of keeping his primal instincts in check and therefore this forced rule is the only way of keeping protection. This takes the community almost to the cavemen era where in man had no control over his primal needs and lived like he wanted.

2. Everyone’s individual rights assertion will be dependent on what a few people consider a convenient solution to a particular problem.

Culture, mores,norms are a pattern of practices that a large number of people have followed for a certain duration of time and therefore becomes a discourse. But should a persons right be violated because she/he is different from the discourse! And more importantly why should a discourse or a set of beliefs become the yard stick to regulate rights. When a community isnt able to instill amongst its people that respecting a woman’s space is important then how can its impose all are siblings rule!

Similarly why should a woman walking on a busy road think twice before wearing a skirt,a jeans and not walk free? Yes eve teasing happens to even burqa clad women, but generally women dressed in what is termed “provoking” clothes are easy targets. Should a discourse hold women down? Society has to move forward and ensure that every individuals liberty is guaranteed and has a free expression. How a man behaves should not be determined by what a woman wears, and how come the mores and the norms don’t establish respecting a woman in all her form!

When a man rapes a woman, even if shes completely out of her senses, he is violating the fundamental right of an individual to her body, her being.
Another pertinent thing to notice and for everyone to keep in mind is that the law is punishing the offender. Reparations though form a big part of victim rehabilitation, but the primary aim of rape laws is to punish the man who has done it. Therefore the important fact to bear in mind is “THE MAN COMMITTED THE RAPE” and not “SHE HAS BEEN RAPED”. This is an essential difference to keep in mind, sadly something not many judges in India understand this, but the law is evolving, our sensitivity levels are evolving too. Law has evolved enough to take into account various developments and understanding of victims perspectives and judgments are an indication that slowly but steadily the law is evolving.Law recognizes that even sex workers have the right to consensual sex and no client can violate her right to her own self and this goes on to show that every woman has the right o decide what she wants. A woman who is raped carries the mark with her all her life, hell i know what it means to have the ghosts of childhood sexual harassment torture you, and therefore no woman can be out there having a nice time wanting to have her self molested!
I am no psychologist or a doctor or a sociologist but maybe people in this field have some kind of statistics about male sexual reactions and their tendency to objectify women. But a woman having a drink with men in a bar is not looking for herself to be forcefully assaulted. The very word rape is intended to ensure that every individual has the RIGHT to decide what they want and who they want it with and nobody has the freedom to violate that basic right. This whole societal cacophony, about a woman asking for it because of her dress,her values,her principles, her lifestyle,her mores,her way of talking, way of walking etc , only reflects how evolution is not moving ahead but degenerating into a very appalling state of affairs. Individuality is the basic fundamental of evolution and the human race can get better on the survival of individuality! So lets not get into “she should follow the dictate of the societal norms” because a woman, wearing a jeans and a cleavage showing top or having tattoos or drinking, was not born to follow those norms. She has the individuality and the inherent right to decide what she does and nobody around her has the freedom to ambush her when she has been violated.
Nobody who has ever faced a direct violation of their physical space can ever agree with “certain things are self inflicted”, so from my personal experience i can say that those who talk about societal mores are the people who dont know what sexual harassment is! Having worked with rape victims i know a victim (man or a woman) goes through her/his life traumatized and loses faith in any kind of human relationships, therefore saying that she/he should have known better is not only appalling but more importantly demeaning ourselves and the concept of human evolution moving forward and not degenerating.

Yet there will be discourses built and mores that will curtail individuality and maybe take lot more lives. And when i see such criminals and hear victim stories i actually wonder that did darwin really have an idea about evolution at all!!

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