Tag: safe

Spread A Message

The Delhi gang rape incident is still fresh in the minds of many. An intolerable mix of anger and helplessness is how I remember the incident.

A few days after that angel from the Delhi gang rape succumbed to her injuries, a friend informed me about a peace protest that was taking place here in Bombay. I was caught up with some work and was unable to make it. Regretting not being able to participate, I then thought I’d try something else to protest, to convey the message that a lot of Delhiites were trying to convey in the mind-numbing winter cold, and for days on end. Here’s what I came up with. These are posters that I made that night, and that were on my car for almost a month since, before my family asked me to take them off because they didn’t like the attention the car got when they were traveling with me.

Make India safe for women

Teach your sons to behave
Respect women

Sure it was initially very, very awkward, with people staring at my car. But the cause and the purpose of it overshadowed the uncomfortable feeling quickly. And while I was doing what anyone at the peace-protest was, this way I could  protest for longer, and I got to cover more geographical area while driving around town.

Now, this brings me to another thought. Most of the heinous crimes are usually committed by illiterate men, but instances of household violence, eve-teasing and harassment at work, etc. tend to come from the literate, well-read and even the rich and famous. And if just posters could reform anyone, the world would have already been a lot better than it is. So, what I hoped to achieve by keeping the posters on long enough, was to have connected with like-minded people whom I could work with to find a workable solution to make India safe for women.

Now, with the posters gone, I’m essentially back at the drawing board with regard to figuring out a solution, but here are a few of the encouraging responses I got while the posters were still on:

  • I was at a company’s office on invitation, to address their team on strategy. While driving out of their office building, the security guard there asked me what the posters conveyed; he then appreciated the messages and said I was doing a good thing
  • An employee at a very popular cafe, who was helping me park outside the cafe into a tight parking spot, was thrilled on reading the messages. He shook my hand vigorously while praising the messages with a ‘you’re doing the right thing’ look. I gulped at the unexpected but encouraging reaction, as I thanked him
  • A girl sitting in an adjoining taxi while I was waiting at a signal light looked pleased. She instantly sat up in her seat, almost magically pulled out a camera and took a snap
  • This one took the cake. I was stuck in peak traffic at a place where 7 roads merged at a circle  (with no signals functioning). I noticed a car zip from behind me to my right, dodge a car or two and manage to line up on my side. The driver pulled down the window, honked to draw my attention, pointed to the posters and gave me an encouraging ‘thumbs up’, before vanishing into the sea of traffic

People still care. We all care a lot about such a cause. Everyone cares about their wives, sisters, daughters and mothers. All we need, is to take some time, work together, to find a solution, and to implement it. We have to do it. No one else will.

If you feel you have workable ideas or suggestions to make our country (and other countries) safer, I’d love to hear from you. It’ll be even better if we could discuss (over coffee, via email or any which way that works for you) and see if we can come up with a workable & easily replicable solution. You can reach me at shrutinshetty@gmail.com, or on Twitter @shrutinshetty.

I’ll leave you with this beautiful and touching sand art by Hari Krishna in memory of the Angel who was the victim of the Delhi gang rape.

A Sense of Security

Scene 1: [http://ow.ly/gjkW7]

manmohan singh to sushil kumar shinde: “ensure sense of security in Delhi”

sushil kumar shinde: [nonchalantly] ok

Life goes on as usual.

Public: what about other cities, towns, and the country; genius?

Scene 2: [http://ow.ly/gjkxc]

manmohan singh to sushil kumar shinde: [long silence]
sushil kumar shinde to public: bullshit, bullshit, bullshit

You’re not scared about your daughters, they probably have way too much security. The common citizen is trusting, not stupid.

Do any of you have the guts to divert all the security personnel that are deployed to protecting you and all the other politicians and their families, towards protecting the people you were brought into power to serve? How else do you plan to make India safe? By a delayed public announcement like today’s?

And it is not only about buses [yes it was in this incident, but hasn’t been in innumerable others]. What about streets? What about dark alleys, what about homes? Your GPS devices on buses wont do. Try figuring out ‘how to make the country safer for women’, while you’re not doing anything important.

You guys just do not seem to be getting the point. Yet.!

Here are my suggestions:

1 – First, the six culprits need to be punished. Now. In Public. Make it an insanely painful death for them. Keep relaying it at regular intervals, on several TV channels, for at least a month. Let it sink in.

2 – You need to put together a team of ‘specialists’ who will understand  mindsets, identify vulnerable areas and scenarios, figure out solutions, and work on a detailed list of steps on how to make the country safe, and will then even implement them.

And if you get serious about it, not only will you ensure a “sense” of security in Delhi, but you will help make the country a safer place to live in.

Respect Women

Respect Women

Is it really that difficult to see, or am I missing something?

19 rapes have taken place in a span of one month in Haryana. I simply cannot wrap my head around the supposed solution doing the rounds, where people are considering lowering the marriageable age for girls to 15-16 years. Are we as Indians in general, or those wise Haryanvis in particular, playing dumb, or simply being indifferent? Haven’t there been cases of married women being raped in several parts of the country as well? So how the hell does reducing the marriageable age become a solution? That would be akin to addressing a food shortage problem by asking everyone to stop eating.

And the spineless attitude of law enforcers and politicians alike is only encouraging more such crimes. Where instead of punishing wrong-doers, they are considering punishing the ones who stands at risk, the ones who have been wronged.

I firmly believe that education is the solution. That, of course, combined with strict laws.

There are so many liberties and luxuries we take for granted in India. In Pakistan, a 14 year old girl is willing to lay her life on the line, and why? Just because she wants to learn. And some lowlifes have the sickness in them to pull the trigger on her.

But even that does not frighten her. She still wants to learn. And yet we, an educated society, behave like animals when it comes to respecting women, and act in such a helpless manner when it comes to protecting our citizens. So what is it that we are afraid of?

I think it is time we stop being dependent on crippled law enforcers and politicians, who’re too busy with their thumbs up their collective butts. Let us try to make our own neighbourhoods, cities and towns safer. Let us ourselves create the safer society that we want to live in.

And most importantly, let us educate. Educate our colleagues, friends, acquaintances even. Let us correct people who might harbor disrespect at any level towards women. Let us become more alert, more responsible, and more respectful when it comes to the women in our country. Be it for women we know, or for complete strangers. Let us look out for them and make them feel safer. We owe it to them. After all, none of us would be around right now, were it not for the ‘woman’ who gave birth to us.

Here’s a small something I had tried sometime back [Link: Spread a Message]. If you feel you have workable ideas or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you. It’ll be even better if we could discuss (over coffee, via email or any which way that works for you) and see if we can come up with a workable & easily replicable solution. You can reach me at shrutinshetty@gmail.com, or on Twitter @shrutinshetty. 

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