Posts Tagged ‘men’


Dear Son

What did we do wrong? We brought you up to be a nice boy.We gave you morals and values.
As a child you always came first in class, your mother used to prepare your favourite dishes. Your sister was not that good in studies but always helped around the house.
You were a bit naughty but that’s okay. Boys are a little naughty. Always leaving your clothes strewn around, your mother and sister were forever picking up after you. But you were not a bad boy.
Remember, you beat up that boy when you were in class XI because he teased your sister on the way back from school? You also got a cut on your cheek but we were proud of you.
What happened? Your poor mother is sick with worry, she is sure there is some story behind this.
When we saw your face on that video we could not believe it!
Please tell me it is not you tearing the clothes off that girl. Please tell me its not you, smiling, as he molests a young girl on the street. Please tell me I have not failed as a parent , as a father! Please tell me What did we do wrong
An Anguished father
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I don’t want to write, not a single word.
I want to say that there is nothing more to be said, after the Guwahati incident.
But unfortunately, we will move on. Even this shameful terrifying incident will not change anything.
We will close this chapter and again read feverishly about girls getting scholarships, flying aeroplanes and breaking the glass ceiling.
We will want desperately to believe that all this is the truth and will lull ourselves into this belief.
For a while , till another ‘Guwahati’ happens.
Because it will.
And this time we cannot blame the government, too bad but there it is.
We have only ourselves to blame so naturally that door is closed, as we are cowards.
Mental cowards who cannot face the truth and physical cowards who cannot protect the weak.
Women are not weak per se I want to say this but can’t in all truthfulness.
Deterioration of status of women is being seen and felt by each one of us.
I have always maintained that the day is not far off when women will become commodities again.
Don’t think!
Don’t introspect!
Don’t analyse!
Just STOP accepting the unacceptable right now.

Otherwise be prepared for the return of auction block and sale of women as slaves.


Guest Post by Abhay Chawla (journalist) on his 1st meeting with Sonali:

This was the moment I was dreading, coming face to face with her. I tried to mentally prepare myself for the meeting. From the photograph I had seen in the newspapers, I knew Sonali was badly burnt due to the acid attack on her but a flesh and blood meeting is different. Could she see? Could she hear properly? What would I say when I saw her? Where would I look while talking to her? These and other questions were running through my mind.

Sonali came into my life one morning recently, in the form of a story run by a major news channel. When she had been 18 years old, three boys in her locality in Dhanbad had thrown acid on her face. It was nine years since the day of the attack. The boys had been arrested and later freed on bail and the court case still dragged on. Meanwhile Sonali’s life came to an abrupt halt as did the life of her family. 22 surgeries later she is still nowhere with no governmental or organized help coming her way.Instinctively, I knew I had to do something for her. The best I could immediately do was to set up a Facebook group and appeal for monetary assistance. I figured relief and rehabilitation was the first task and for that money was important. This would ensure her surgeries carried on, and somehow I felt that it would show Sonali that people of the country cared and that she was not alone. By evening that day “Help Sonali Mukherjee from Dhanbad” group was 500 people strong and growing. Donations had also started coming in with people messaging their support and contribution.The next day I walked into the temple in south Delhi where she was staying. As I had already spoken to her she was expecting me. Sitting alone on a cot in a small shed at the rear of the temple she was staring at empty space. “Sonali!” I called out loud with gusto. “Bhaiya!” she answered in an equally upbeat tone, smiling and looking in my direction. For a girl who had gone through so much in such a short span of time, she was extremely cheerful and positive. We didn’t know each other, had never met earlier but we connected. Was it because of an earlier life connection, I wondered.

I looked at her and I think I was staring. The acid had eaten both her eyes and one external ear. Her face was being reconstructed with plastic surgeries. Besides this her hands and neck also bore the marks of the attack. Looking at her I felt anger and frustration with the system for not being able to ameliorate her suffering or to give her any justice. I felt miserable on seeing that in a big city like Delhi she didn’t even have a decent place to stay, and in spite of her story narrated by a prominent TV channel no organisation, corporate or individual had stepped forward to give her even a comfortable accommodation.

We talked and the conversation was easy. She told me of the various surgeries she went through and how she progressed since the day of her attack. The number of people she met and the assurances she received. I steered clear of the attackers lest old wound reopen, but told her about my innumerable students who had expressed sympathy and shared their pocket money. She seemed to lapse into deep thought. “I am so happy you came and when you tell me about sympathy and support from people, I feel energetic and want to continue my fight to live.” she whispered back.

It has been over a week. Donations are trickling in as are assurances and media people. She still has to get a decent accommodation or a proper road map for rehabilitation and a future. Meanwhile, a proposal to make acid attack a separate criminal offence punishable by a maximum of ten years and compensation for the acid attack victims by the government has been approved by the Union Cabinet. It is still a long way from being incorporated as a law and then we will have to see how the law is enforced. But the first baby step has been taken.


As India celebrates its 66th Independence day today, on the 15th of August, us women are still struggling for our basic Rights promised to all citizens on the eve of this day, back in 1947 by our most trusted Constitution.

Although the Preamble is not an integral part of the Indian Constitution, it is a brief introductory statement that sets the guidelines of the legal document.

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a [SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC] and to secure to all its citizens:JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;

and to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the [unity and integrity of the Nation];

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.

For a country that is itself referred in feminine grammatical gender, its women are unsafe, unhappy, unrecognized and underpaid. “In India, women and girls continue to be sold as chattels, married off as young as 10, burned alive as a result of dowry-related disputes and young girls exploited and abused as domestic slave labour,” says Gulshun Rehman, health program development adviser at Save the UK, told Reuters during a recent poll conducted by TrustLaw, a legal news service by Thomson Reuters Foundation in which India leads the pack of G20 as the worst country for women to live.

This survey was based on Countries with policies that promote safe health care, freedom of violence, women in politics, workplace opportunities, access to resources like education and poverty rights, and ending human trafficking and slavery. India was chosen as the worst based on issues of infanticide, child marriage and slavery identified by a poll of 370 gender specialists worldwide.

We all know those aren’t the only issues that cripples our nation as far as gender equality and women empowerment is concerned.

The word ‘Socialist‘ was added to our Preamble in the 42nd Amendment and it implies social and economic equality i.e.  the absence of discrimination on the grounds only of caste, colour, creed, sex, religion, or language; Under social equality, everyone has equal status and opportunities. In paper though, it sounds ideal, has it really happened?

· Female feticide, infanticide, child marriage, domestic violence, sexual violence, and sexual harassment at the work place to the treatment meted out to elderly women makes any thinking person to wonder at the nature of the society. Participation of women in the decision-making bodies be they within the home, workplace or community is marginal, never reaching even 25% of the total population of women in India.

· Women are forced to change their jobs or seek transfers on account of Sexual Harassment.

· Most of the women’s work, inside the house goes unnoticed and unremunerated. Even outside the family they remain underpaid.

· In terms of horizontal segregation, women are concentrated in low –paying positions such as secretary, typist, beautician, nurse, caregiver and assembly – line worker. “Equal work but unequal pay” is still a common practice in India’s private sector.

· According to statistics from the United Nations “Women constitute 50% of the World population, do two third of the work, get 10% of the total income and own 1% of the total assets”. While this is a global fact, the picture is much more pathetic in India.

· Children living in this environment and witnessing the differential role pattern of the man and the woman learn the lessons of gender inequality right from their childhood and the pattern is bound to continue generation after generation.

· Women constitute a significant part of the workforce in India but they lag behind men in terms of work participation and quality of employment. According to Government sources, out of 407 million total workforce, 90 million are women workers, largely employed (about 87 percent) in the agricultural sector as labourers and cultivators. In urban areas, the employment of women in the organised sector in March 2000 constituted 17.6 percent of the total organised sector.

· The existence of discriminatory laws, the fact that the laws fail to take account of rural women’s special situation, and the adherence to paternalistic and male-oriented customs which hinder the implementation of, or fill the gaps in, non-discriminatory legislation, have helped to keep rural women in a subordinate position.  www.legalservicesindia.com

Nothing could be lower than the lowest that our women go through in this country, this section of women called the ‘Valmikis‘ or the manual scavengers of dry feces that clean out public toilets. In spite of modernization, major part of India still uses traditional dry, non-flush toilets that expose these manual scavengers to many bio-hazards such as “the most virulent forms of viral and bacterial infections which affect their skin, eyes, limbs, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. TB (tuberculosis) is rife among the community,” states the UN report.

Armed only with a tin plate and broom as proper equipment to protect them from illness is not provided to them, these women pile human feces into baskets and carry on their heads for distances up to 2 miles. Often the contents drip into their hair, faces, and bodies.

The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrine Act of 1993 states that, “No person shall engage in or employ for or permit to be engaged in or employed by any other person for manually carrying human excreta; or to construct or maintain a dry latrine.

In spite of its being “illegal” the practice and use of manual scavengers continues in many low-income urban and rural parts of India today. Legal loopholes and non-enforcement of the law on manual scavenging continues in many parts of India, even as organizations protecting the rights of manual scavengers present detailed reports.

Mahatma Gandhi, the father of this nation himself stated back in 1921, “Of all the evils for which man has made himself responsible, none is so degrading, so shocking or so brutal as his abuse of the better half of humanity; the female sex (not the weaker sex).”

  • 45% of Indian girls are married before the age of 18, according to the International Centre for Research on Women (2010).
  • 56,000 maternal deaths were recorded in 2010 (UN Population Fund).
  • Research from UNICEF in 2012 found that 52% of adolescent girls (and 57% of adolescent boys) think it is justifiable for a man to beat his wife.
  • According to the National Crime Records Bureau in India, there was a 7.1% hike in recorded crimes against women between 2010 and 2011.
  • The biggest leap was in cases under the Dowry Prohibition Act (up 27.7%), of kidnapping and abduction (up 19.4% year on year) and rape (up 9.2%).
  • A preference for sons and fear of having to pay a dowry has resulted in 12 million girls being aborted over the past three decades, according to a 2011 study by the Lancet.

These polls, numbers and statistics may highlight the grave situation in India, but even these cannot voice the hurt, pain, desolation, humiliation that women in our country go through everyday, to varying extent. There is a need to secure our women, give them opportunities to shine, let their voices be heard.

We do not agree to being the “weaker sex”. We do not want your charity, your pity or your security. All we need is your recognition, acceptance and respect so we can come out of the dark and live up to our full potential.

66 years down the line, we are still fighting for independence in hopes that one day it shall be ours.

Happy Independence Day to those that glide free for ours is yet to come.


I asked this question on Twitter to all those following #Justiceforwomen: What do you think can really make these rapes & assaults stop? Actual, plausible suggestions. I am still wondering..

Following are some of the replies that I received:

@nimue: the will to not go down without a fight and to never accept the crime as ur fate.

@DaEternalRebel: Vigilantism

@SunilBtg: The certainty, swiftness and severity of punishment

>We need to lobby with the Law Commission, the Chief Justice of India, NCW, NHRC and the Law Ministry

@deepakbhx: A total upheaval complt change of social order, no half measures how bst intensioned it may be is 0. Rape is sh of power too!

@taklooman: stricter punishment and higher conviction rate in high profile cases involving famous/influential people.

 @Leopard212: women be armed. If threatened- shoot or kill the bastard. On a realistic level, massive constitutional and legal changes.

What can be concluded from these statements is that quite a lot of us believe in complete transformation of our social order, legal system and education along with being vigilant.

Need of the hour is not identification of problem but syndication of the solution. Now that we know what to do, let’s start working in that direction.

Instead of waiting and hoping, for a change let’s try to bring a change.

P.S.: Do tweet/post your suggestions and let’s discuss how to help our women.