Time to Wake Up!

new.JPGScene 1: Vaishno Devi, thousand feet above sea level, freezing temperature, men lining at the temple gate holding clothes and jewellery to be offered to the idol which everyone addresses as “Maa Durga”
Scene 2: The unfortunate and shocking incident on  Dec 31, 2007, in Mumbai where a mob of approximately 70 men ripped the clothes off two women.

These two scenes maybe highly contrasting but the central character is the same – Woman. It is hard to believe but its true – in our country, in the eyes of the men, the woman and the female godess have nothing else in common other than belonging to the same sex. In the first scene, men line up and even fight to offer clothes to the idol whom they consider as Mother and a divine power. In the second scene, they fight as to who will tear the women’s clothes first. How ironical!
Millions of scriptures have been written by many great men. Some are considered so sacred that people even try to implement  in their lives, those principles which have been quoted by these scriptures. However I think that one principle they miss out is that of respecting women. Although this sounds very basic, but men have been gradually forgetting this important principle and they need to be reminded of it. An important reason for this is that in their childhood, they are told to respect their mothers, sisters, grandmothers, chachi, taiji, but they are never told to respect women as a gender. Of course, my argument looks completely untrue in those situations where the victims of these incidents are the culprit’s sister, cousin or any other blood relation. But if we look at the larger picture then I am not wrong. How much do parents actually punish little boys when they misbehave with a girl? Not always. This act paves the way for the child to behave in similar fashion even when he grows up. If someone misbehaves with a man’s sister, he will probably beat that person but he will never give a second thought when he himself teases another girl. They think that all the women are their property and they can do whatever they like with them.

The other reason why incidents such as the one on Juhu beach repeat themselves is due to the lax law and order system of our country. One case goes on for minimum 10 or 15 years and because of this, the accused roam scot free and the victim loses all hope of getting justice. On the one hand, we talk of women empowerment. Each year, crores of rupees are spent in the name of developing women rights. However, on the other hand, variations of this above mentioned incident repeat themselves. For these cases, justice should be immediate and punishment should be severe once the accused is proved guilty. This seems to be the only way of decreasing the ever increasing frequency of such incidents as the severity of the punishment would help keep a check in these cases. If I was asked to give the punishment to these people, I would suggest giving harsher suggestions so such incidents donot not repeat themselves.

Neha Pant