India. Hind. Bharat. No matter what names by which I call it, I am close to feeling utterly shamed by the country I am living in. Every day I see the paper, this feeling sinks in deeper. We are a bunch of irresponsible citizens(if we can still ourselves that). We do not respect our women, we do not respect our guests who visit our country, we do not respect anyone.
Last year of the total tourists who visited India, 40% were women and I am sure that most carry sad impressions about us. It is apparent from the numerous blogs which talk about horrific incidents happening to them. It is just a matter of time we will be blacklisted as a tourist destination. Already many countries are issuing advisory notices to tourists asking them to reconsider.
How did we land up in this situation? From a country that put women on the pedestal to the current one where women are treated as commodities. Often I am encountered with an argument that the seed to this behaviour is rooted in our culture-the way Ram had treated Sita with suspicion and the way Yudhistir gambled away Draupadi. Why don't these people give Maitrayee as an example? Maitrayee had worn the sacred thread equally as Yagnavalkya and defeated him black and blue in a debate of reason. Yagnavalkya had conceded defeat with humility and accepted her as a superior.
While accepting that doesn't give him a higher stand, it is true that men and women possessed equal stature in the vedic times. Cut to the present, quacks and chauvinisitic pigs(irrespective of their religion) are saying men and women are not created equal. How cruel?
It disgusts me to read such crap from people of a spiritually progressive nation.
How can we redeem ourselves? Is there still a chance? A realist in me may speak differently but it's time to be a tad optimistic. Without hope, we are a zilch. Right?
Here is a 5 pointer.
1. Be Intolerant- don't tolerate nonsense happening in your presence. Be aware of your surroundings. If you see someone trying to fool around with a woman, just step into action. Carry a whistle with you. Call for help if you are physically outnumbered. If you shut your senses today, tomorrow it can be you who will be facing the music.
2. Be Sensitive- Pay attention to the needs of women around you. They may be signalling at something. Stand up and protect them. Surround them as a shield from untoward advances of sick elements.
3. Learn a martial art- It is paramount in these times to learn a combat martial art. Not just a defensive one but an offensive skill. Learn to tackle an aggressive group.
4. Teach your kids- Teach them how women are a equal species and may be a little superior too for that matter. Teach them how we are raised as competent men because of our mothers, sisters, girl friends and wives. Teach them to respect them. They don't need us to put them on a pedestal. Just treat them right. That's all they ask.
5. Raise your voice- Choose a platform of your choice, it can be a blog, a Morcha, a public talk, a discussion with your friends, with your peers- can be anything. You can influence people towards the change you want to see.
And with implementing these pointers, a day may dawn when our kids will hopefully will not ask this question- What is this country I am living in?