The other side…

India, a country so diverse in its culture, religion, traditions, festivities and languages, is one of the biggest democracies in the world. When an outsider thinks of India, he/she probably think of the colorful country with its rich heritage. But what lies within the domestic boundaries of the country differs in reality.

When you Google India on the internet, you’ll see the great achievements of our country; PM Narendra Modi’s successful journey to make the country a peaceful democracy, ISRO’s successful space missions, Virat Kohli being the ICC Player of the year, the beauty of the Taj Mahal, the introduction to various reforms in the Indian Railways. Sounds good, right? Of course it does.

From 28 states to 29 states, a country with a population of 1,27,267,000 and still growing, with corruption still in the air, the poor living in hell; if you see, it has its own flaws. A country divided by states, on the basis of religion, caste, color and race, where can you possibly find sovereignty in itself?

We are the people of this democracy. It’s our birthright to make sure the country a better place to live in. But do we? It’s in our nature to be selfish. We criticize the ones who act selfless and praise the ones who see their benefits before the country and its welfare.

If we see, most of our great politicians have a criminal record. For instance, RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav who was convicted of Multi-Crore Fodder scam had a kickass life when he was imprisoned. Yet, he’s one of the most powerful men in the country. Amar Singh and his “I’ll be out in 24 hours” threats when he was convicted of Cash-for-vote scam too had a VVIP treatment. We all know Manu Sharma, who was convicted of the Jessica Lal Murder case, Daddy’s boy was out on parole to attend Grandma’s funeral but was seen partying instead. Last, but not the least, our very own Asaram Bapu, who wants to bathe only in holy ganges water and is in for a sexual assault case. Why do sins if you wanted Holy water Bapuji?

All these “great” men had some help from the judiciary system and some from “under the table”. Simple funda is, commit crime, put the money where you want it to be and you’re free of your crimes boss!

But what about the poor, what about the helpless women who get raped, who are the victims every day? I am sure we all remember the Nirbhaya case of 2012. If you don’t, boss, you should be ashamed of yourself. A country where the women are worshipped, they are treated as Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, are now raped and assaulted in public. What? Suddenly you don’t see the goddess in her?

  • April 28th, a dalit woman was raped and murdered with her intestine removed with a sharp object. Déjà vu anyone?
  • May 12th, a four year old by a twenty year old man. I mean 4? How inhuman can a person be?
  • May 27th, 15 year old gang raped by three men and hung from the tree to “make it look like suicide”.
  • May 31st, 25 years old woman from Nepal gang raped in a moving car.

And I can ensure you these figures are just the ones that have made the news. In a month, 4 brutal rape cases and what action does the police take?

Men treat women as a sex object these days. There are a thousand little girls and young women who are afraid to step out late at night. If men can roam around without any fear, the why should we? Why do we live with the fear of being a victim of this brutality? Forget late night, in the bright daylight, men stare at you like a hawk.

Travelling in crowded places is a boon these days. I’d like to share my personal experience here. I used to change trains from Kurla for Churchgate. We all know how crowded Kurla station is. One fine day, I was making my way through the crowd from platform no. 7 to platform no. 5. Suddenly, a man came behind me and pushed me. I ignored it the first time, then the second time. The third time, he put his hand on my waist. It was then when I lost it and pushed him away and slapped him right across his face. The people around gathered and enquired what the matter was. I narrated this incident to the people and that’s when the man tried to flee away. But since it was crowded, he couldn’t run much farther, he was caught and handed over to the railway police.

We all are scared of bringing up such incidents thinking what would people say and keep quiet. Well, people judge you anyway. So it’s better to let them judge you for your bravery than your silence. Sexual assault is nothing to hide but something that should be brought forward. You may have kept quiet, but this can happen to someone else too.

I am sure we don’t want rapists to roam the streets freely. The constitution has amended various laws in order to protect the woman from sexual assault. And ladies, even looking at you for more than 20 seconds can be termed as sexual assault (Unless he’s your boyfriend, husband or father). Some amendments are:

  • Singing lewd songs: Sec 294, IPC
  • Demanding Sexual favours despite disinterest: Sec 254 (A), IPC
  • Following someone with/without their knowledge: Sec 354(D), IPC
  • Threat to harm physically or her reputation for sexual favours: Sec 503, IPC
  • Watching, capturing or sharing pictures without a woman’s consent: Sec 354 ©, IPC
  • If faced with an act of sexual harassment, you can file an FIR in the local police station.
  • Morphing pictures and sharing them to defame: Sec 499, IPC
  • Workplace harassment: Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013
  • Posting obscene material: Sec 67, IT Act
  • Making unwanted physical contact: Sec 354 (A), IPC

We live in a time where both men and women are equal. So it’s high time we fight this social evil and work to make this society a better place. The time to keep quite is gone. We live in the 21st century where women are free to live their lives.

If you’re a victim of sexual harassment, don’t hesitate to come forward and complaint against the person involved. The system ensures to keep your identity a secret. Also, if you witness any act of such assault, please step forward to help the victim for she can be anyone’s sister, daughter, wife or mother.