Posts Tagged ‘new delhi’


Navratri, a combination of 2 words, ‘Nav’ meaning 9 and ‘Ratri’ night is a 9-day Indian festival wherein 9 avatars (incarnations) of Goddess Durga are worshipped.

Durga is a Hindu Goddess of power/energy/force. She is divine warrior and has the combined energies of all gods. Goddess Durga was created to annihilate a powerful demon called Mahishasur who was awarded with the power that made him invulnerable to defeat from any male.

The festival of Navratri is celebrated with vigor all over India, mainly in North and West regions as well as in some Eastern states. For the first 3 days, avatars of Goddess Durga are worshipped, followed by worship of Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) and finally worship of Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of wisdom).

On the 8th day of Navratri, a kanya pujan (girl-child worship) takes place wherein pre-pubescent girls are worshipped by washing their feet and traditionally, offering rice grains and new clothes. These girls are worshipped according to the philosophy of ‘Mahamaya’ i.e. the Ultimate Goddess, Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of power). Another reason for worshipping young girls is because they are said to be the purest and most innocent. Feminine gender is at the core of universal creation which is what these girls represent.

In most families, this Kanya pujan is observed on Ram Navmi i.e. the 9th and final day of Navratri. This tradition is still prevalent throughout the Navratri-celebrating population and hordes of girls are ‘worshipped’ by each family in order to complete the Navratri pooja.

Let us now take a look at this celebration of womanhood throughout the country over the last 9 days i.e. from 11th to 19th April, 2013.

 

11th April, 2013 (West Bengal) – http://www.tibetsun.com/news/2013/04/11/monks-among-those-arrested-for-gang-rape-in-kalimpong

12th April, 2013 (Punjab) – http://www.dnaindia.com/india/1821724/report-man-rapes-ninety-year-old-woman-in-punjab

13th April, 2013 (Karnataka) – http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/teenager-held-on-charge-of-raping-4yearold-girl/article4631013.ece

14th April, 2013 (Bihar) – http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-04-14/patna/38528481_1_complaint-class-vii-student-ssp

15th April, 2013 (New Delhi) – http://www.ibtimes.co.in/articles/457069/20130415/11-year-old-raped-inside-bus-delhi.htm?cid=5

16th April, 2013 (Maharashtra) – http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/maharashtra/Woman-beaten-up-foetus-dies/Article1-1045222.aspx

17th April, 2013 (Goa) – http://www.dnaindia.com/india/1823530/report-school-going-girl-gang-raped-in-goa-five-youths-held

18th April, 2013 (New Delhi) [Kanya Pujan]- http://www.ndtv.com/article/cities/woman-allegedly-gang-raped-in-delhi-thrown-semi-naked-onto-road-355746

19th April, 2013 (New Delhi) [Kanya Pujan]- http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/Candle-bottle-forced-into-minor-rape-victim-Doctors/Article1-1046989.aspx

9 days of Devi poojan or 9 days of devil worship.

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Guest post by a guy who believes you can be safe if you look at signs.

The government cannot make harsher laws to make you safe.

The cops cannot be more vigilant to make you safe.

There is only one person in this world who can make you safe. You are that person. Only YOU can ensure you are safe.

Here are some practical steps I have been sharing with my sisters. This is what I would like to share with you.

  • Be alert. Look for warning signs. Trust your instincts.

Is the area you’re walking through in the middle of the night really safe? Is the party you’re going to full of strangers exhibiting strange behavior? Is your boyfriend groping you without consent? Women know something is wrong about a situation even before they can really put a finger on what is really wrong about it. The tragedy is in not respecting that first thought you get.

  • Respect reality. Know the harsh truths about your surroundings.

Is your society ready for your freedom to wear what you wish to? Are people around you generally sexually liberated? Have the people you interact with been exposed to global fashion trends that not only tolerate but maybe even encourage the show of skin? It is one thing to say that you should have the right to wear what you want to, act friendly and intimate with anyone you wish to, etc. but a completely different thing to say that I will knowingly put a juicy chunk of meat in a pool full of starving piranhas and expect them to not pounce on it. Sure women’s rights activist will want to hang me for saying this, but to them I say just one thing – please live to fight the battle another day. What needs to be changed is the male mindset. If you truly want to win this battle, be prepared to fight a long and tiring battle. And prepare to live. Taking your chances out there on the minefield will not help.

  • Stand up for others in distress.

Are you the kinds who is holding a candle in one of the protests today but on some other day have quietly seen someone’s daughter or sister get eve teased or assaulted in public without helping them? Shame on you! If you really want to take a stand against assaults on women, that candle light vigil will do nothing compared to what assisting a woman in need can do. This really is the most under rated strategy to bring about a change in the male mindset. Show the males their disgusting attitudes will not be tolerated and you have a chance of curing them of their ill. Show them that the might of the decent folks far outshine the might of the disgusting folks and you have a chance to strike fear in their hearts the way no harsh law ever could. The domino effect of that act can ensure someone else who may target you in the future is already discouraged.

  • Learn self defense. Not just physical but mental and emotional too.

You think rape is only physical? You think it is just the body that gets violated? Wrong. The assault is always at multiple levels. And so should your self defense be. For times when all your precautions fail you, sure you should learn Judo, Karate or anything else you can enroll for. But also know that if, God forbid, the unthinkable happens, you are not the one at fault. You are not to be blamed. The shame must fall on the perpetrators of that heinous act. Don’t get into a cocoon and let those bastards walk free. Fight them. And the spineless others who might discourage you. They may have struck first, but you can still finish it!


Guest post by Priyanjana:

Dear Sir,

 

I am an out-station student who studied in Delhi and would like to pen my opinion. Sir, there are hardly any woman I know who has not been subject to harassment at least once. Finding someone who has been harassed just once will be the ‘rarest of the rare’ case, as you would call it.

 

Sir, what is happening in Delhi today is a collective frustration of every girl who feels helpless and they are protesting against the ineffective laws that render them helpless and vulnerable. I have grown up hearing how unsafe Delhi is for women and I don’t want my next generation to grow up hearing the same thing and accepting it as a part of their culture and social taboo.

 

I have seen it is very convenient for people to blame it on one word- provoking. I fail to understand what exactly is provocative to men? Whether it’s the clothes that were provoking or the time at which they were out in the street that was provoking or the fact that her character is loose that provoked them. I clearly do not understand what provokes men, even if she is a sex worker, she has the right not to get raped. So, your men who think they can get away with such excuses should clearly be made to think again, sir.

 

How difficult is it, sir, to ensure effective policing?

I heard your interview the other day and it is disheartening to hear the Delhi Police commissioner saying that girls must not be out post 3 am in the night. A promise to ensure safety at any hour in the night would have been really satisfying to hear. By a promise, I do not mean an empty promise but a promise that you would work towards and make happen.

 

Sir, when so many students are protesting and want to voice their opinion, why is it necessary to shell out tear gases and use water cannons? Why can the opinions not be voiced, the problems of the people not considered and safety be ensured? Sir, are we supposed to carry on being submissive and not be taken care of because men get provoked? As the Police Commissioner, Sir, it is expected from you to break this myth, to change the mindset, to not allow any more injustice to happen, to take up the responsibility of the city, to never let history repeat, to implement the laws effectively and strictly so that next time a man thinks of harassing any woman he is forced to change the way he thinks, to ensure a safer future and set an example.

 

I would not dive into the statistics and wait for more rapes to happen so that the number gets stronger so that it becomes important enough for the matter to be taken seriously.

Let Delhi set an example and other cities will follow.

 

Sir, on behalf of all the women, I urge you to take effective steps, to increase police patrols in the dark stretches of Delhi, to tighten security in the night, ensure all the helplines are working, to make sure every metro and every bus has a guard, to ensure every police man is gender sensitized and to entrust safety with regular follow ups.

 

This is what we simply want, promise us this and then you can roll your tear gases bombs back.


Guest post by @GalenesBombayia / Shilpa. She talks about a completely different perspective of a girl on the recent Delhi Rape case and crimes against women.

While the Nation mourns to the heinous act of mankind which engulfed a woman of twenty-three and her male friend brutally on an evening like any other in India’s capital, Delhi, I have come face to face upon a path which slowly eats me from within as I attempt to understand the issue of rising crimes against women with my non-Delhite friends and elders alike.

Having arrived to India five years ago from an entirely different environment back in the West where I practically spend my entire life, I was certainly in for a rude shock. It is not that I did not know that there is the so called innocent “eve-teasing” and minute groping which I should learn to adjust with if I plan to avoid any trouble for me and my family, though what did alarm me was the attitude towards it all. If I am seen wearing anything above my knees by my neighbourhood men then I am apparently inviting it.  My father calls it keeping the “undesired attention” under wraps.

I come from a fairly liberal middle class family who had never lifted a brow on as to what I wear, the men I hang out with and what time I came home, back abroad. So when one by one every right or rather preference was snatched away I struggled. Struggled with my parents and their sudden conservative outlook towards life and me. Days would go in absolute furry and cold silence between me and them. When I threw tantrums as to why can I not wear my micro shorts as the terrible Delhi weather demands it and some girls do, my father would say, “I don’t have a chauffeur and you take the public transport”, whereas, before my mother could utter a word my grandmother would echo her exceptionally irksome statement on the fact that such girls do not come from good families and each time I clenched my teeth and walked away for the sake of harmony in the family as all Indian mothers I guess teach you to do. However, I demand to know what does clothes, language and preferences be it of any sphere have to do with one’s character as long as they are not creating a hindrance in maintaining decorum to a place, basically implying that a bikini is apt on a beach while in a conference it seems not. The activities in a particular arena of one’s life should not have a negative implication on another.

Yet, as I fought endlessly with those around me and myself, I could slowly see myself losing the battle; kurtis, jeans and duppata replaced the dresses, shorts and tank tops. As time passed I came to register the fact that if I want to remain away from terrible consequences which may shatter my well-being I should simply alter my dress code. Time constraints and giving an hourly update of my location was nothing unnatural anymore for a girl who earlier knew no bounds. The regular rape cases made me realize that perhaps my parents were right after all. So when Barkha Dutt tweeted on Twitter after the gang rape occurred in the cities busiest places, “If you curb your daughter’s life from fear, you let the rapists win. So set her free. And let her fight. And demand safer cities.” it certainly strung a bitter cord which had a larger resonance than all those favs that the tweet got. After all who would know better than a woman who in her bloom fought with herself and her family to reclaim her mere right to assert her preferences like so many others.

The concepts of freedom, freewill and equality which were inherent in my very being took a back seat when I embraced silence for my parent’s convenience. Till safety laws and policies only do lip-service who would want to stand up to fight for the cause which is sooner or later forgotten amidst the rat race which each finds themselves in? When the government and its law makers are critical victims of the post-facto system, who would have the courage to divert from their guardian’s words which remind you time and again to learn from other’s mistakes?

All the current sentiments and expressions of unjust treatment are understandable. Yet, how does one explain to a Mumbaikar whose day starts at two in the night that while the police there has a strong hold on its subjects, here they are unfortunately a mocked lot. With all due respect to the victim I do wonder that perhaps had she been a bit more careful as to not board a tinted bus which was not even running on route that day then today her fate may have been somewhat different. Perhaps had she observed that all the passengers were men and appeared mischievous in one way or the other then the indomitable spirit the victim has displayed while battling for her life need not have been even called for.

In no context is the victim to be blamed for what transpired on that unfortunate evening. Though, a being without power like millions in the country does question themselves as to why did the victim have to commit the “mistake” of being unaware of her circumstances for even once as when our so called protectors cannot guarantee our safety then she should have understood that it’s in her own hands to do so.


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Guest post by Neha Chaudhary. She is a full-time dreamer who loves to strike a rhyme with the world and words, one at a time. A non-stop chatter-box on one hand and a pensive writer on the other. She blogs here.

I

Her father

the very girl you now stand on the grave of

Who faced the ferocity in an ordeal that lasted

an hour or so

They say.

The hour I have traversed seconds of

Hating myself

For not being her ‘Hero’ as she wished

For now standing as a spectator on the pieces of past with so much as a goodbye kiss

For giving my hand in support for her to walk while she still crawled

Had she not stepped out, woudn’t she be here after all?

For bringing her up in a world driven by lust and hunger

That gobbled up my precious

And incremented the slam piece toll by just a number.

In a diseased society where respect never walked

What was I thinking

How could it ever spare my doll?

Today they debate

How she was at fault

How clothes provoke

How the time was Rapist’s hour

How she shouldn’t have walked that road

Yes

The fault was hers

For she forgot she is a girl

And you are sex-deprived

For she was clad in her birthday dress

And that set erections sky-rise

For she forgot her Invisibility cloak home

And she was in your line of sight

For she would have screamed when you violated her

And to you it was a pleasurable sight.

I

The father

Of the child yet to open her eyes to the world

Of the little girl you see crawling in your house

Of the pretty princess you just dropped off to school

Of the ambitious recent-graduate ready to fly

Of the girl clad in red as someone’s bride

Of that old lady sitting alone in the park watching kids play

Urge you

To either burn down your vicious lust

Or face my wrath

For if you even see my girl as yours to take

I will hunt you down

I will terminate your breath.

You put your genesis to shame

And each man’s head hangs low for being one

You walk with a weapon in your pants

And she should be the one under restrictions?

Really???

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