This is how the other half lives

Female shop assistants first made their appearance in Kurumbur bazaar after STD booths [phone booths] opened in this tiny town.

Before their advent, one did not see girls behind shop counters here. After all, this was rural Tamil Nadu, where the only two places women worked were either in the fields or as domestic help.

Then things began to change. The utensil store hired a salesgirl, then the ice-cream shop and soon there was a fair sprinkling of girls in the town’s shops.

When Indian Oil Corporation opened a petrol pump here, it hired girls to dispense fuel to customers. They were paid as much as the boys, were given the day shift while boys worked the nights.

S Kuruppaya, who has been running the petrol pump for two years, says many girls have come and gone during this period.

M Devi is 22, has studied up to class IX and belongs to the village. After working at the STD booth for Rs 500 a month, she moved to the petrol pump. “Here, I get Rs 1,800 a month,” she says.

“Many girls from my street work in a textile showroom in Chennai. They live in a hostel there. My mother did not allow me to go there though I wanted to,” she continues, insisting that her photograph be taken in such a way that it didn’t show her face.

Since her elder brother moved out after marriage, she lives with her mother who works as a farm labourer earning Rs 40 a day.

“I like the work here. It is better than working in the paddy or banana fields where you have to work under the blazing sun and sometimes in pouring rain.”

She does a 10-hour shift, coming in at 8.30 am and leaving at 6.30 pm. Apart from her salary, she gets Rs 10 as expense money everyday. She also gets tea twice a day.

Her co-worker is L Stella, 43. After working at a printing press before, she had left the job to look after her home for a couple of years but a need for money forced her to take up the job at the petrol pump.

At the printing press, she earned Rs 1,500 a month, here she makes Rs 2,000.

Every morning she comes to work after sending her little son to school. In the evening, since he comes home before her, she rushes home at the end of her shift.

“I have never worked in the fields, I am happy this pump employs women. Normally in the village women are employed only in the agriculture sector, and I don’t know that work,” says Stella, whose husband is employed in the army and is usually away.

Working in a petrol pump is not easy. The women come across drivers who are rude, obnoxious, or in a mood to flirt. Often they have to put up with vulgar and sexist remarks. Moreover, the smell of petrol, diesel and oils is overpowering.

They have not heard about the NREGA, the government’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to provide employment for 100 days at Rs 80 daily in the rural sector. But even if that were to start here, they say they are not interested. “If we wanted to work in the sun, we would have gone to the fields. That is less hours of work for the same money.”

Field workers make Rs 40 for working from 9 am to 1 pm and Rs 20 for a two-hour shift in the evening. But they do not work everyday. Work is seasonal and irregular.

People earning five or six figure salaries, may find it strange reading about women who make Rs 60 a day. But this is how the other half lives, and we should not forget that.


Source: Rediff

Women Paraded Naked and We Enjoyed It!!

WomenA mob of 70-80 men groped and molested two young women for some 15 minutes on a busy main street in India. The police respond with: “Don’t blow it out of proportion, you are creating a mountain out of a molehill”
You type “Women Paraded Naked India” and you will get at least 10 pages with the similar news.Researcher says Men rape, molest, drag because they believe they have the right to control and to punish women who do not obey their rules of behaviour. It is an expression of unequal power relations between men and women. Such unequal power relations are not the result of nature or evolution but societies which, through legislation and social custom, have made women second-class citizens.
So we have done it again!!
The latest news is from Raipur, Chattisgarh that two alleged call girls were thrashed, stripped and paraded naked couple of nights back. The incident took place barely few hundred meters from the CMs residnce. Though police tried to save the girls from the mob but this type of crime is surely showing the cynical nature of Indian Society.
The status of women in a society is a significant reflection of the level of social justice in the society. The constitution of India guaratees equal rights to both men and women. Yet in the last few months we have witnessed at least half a dozen of incidents where the women have been paraded naked in the village, cities, towns by the so called ‘saviour of the society.’ In one case a women was paraded naked for just stealing the fruits from a farm. It seems that men enjoy seeing women naked and this psychology just shows how a stupid and foolish man can be? The others want to be the part of big “tamasha” and media shows you LIVE pictures, what a scene?? Right?
You have numerous incidents of the molestation. Most women have experienced, at worst, sexual trauma, and at best, inappropriate touching, grabbing and physical intimidation. The last thing they want is to put themselves into a situation where they are subjected to more of this.
Let us consider this case only. Why are two girls being paraded naked? What about the men who called them, if they were call girls? This is irony in India that we never see the broader picture and are very happy to palliate the situation. And this is the best way to do that? How cum we drag the men involved in the court because they might be having some political backing or they are so venerable that it is just impossible for us to think that they are involved!!Thus the men carry on to show their “prowess” on poor girls.The society is still running away from the truth that punishing girls for their alleged sex crime, why don’t they take action against those men involved? There are many stages to this crime where men only work.(Pimps, Dealers, Buyers, Sellers)
The people are surely lacking some morality and ethical values. They are just spineless. The bystanders are to be blamed as well because they let such a thing happen right under their nose, like cowards, without principles. The great ‘men’ will say “Maa Chod Denge Usski” when in the herd but they don’t dare to stand up and show courage when it is required. It seems that they have lost their balls somewhere.Lack of morality is another major problems pervading our society these days. This problem is manifested in all the spheres of life. Sorry to hurt the sentiments of ‘men’ out here but the fact is that Most men act so tough and strong on the outside because on the inside, we are scared, weak and fragile. If you feel that i am wrong then show some courage when you see such mishappening next time. The problem also lies with our generation as well which is very “Environment friendly and Animal friendly” but weak at morals, courage and ethics.

Punjab, Haryana finally wake up to female infanticide

THE HAND that rocks the cradle, rules the world! Marilyn Monroe was asked how does she feel being a part of a man’s world. She said as long as I am a woman in it, I don’t see a problem. Alas, if she were an Indian girl, her reply would have been different.

Welcome to ‘Incredible India’. Our Constitution grants equal rights and privileges on the basis of sex. But as Amartya Sen had written in ‘Argumentative Indian’, the biggest crime begins against women, at the place where they are meant to be the safest, in their mother’s wombs. Women don’t go missing as young girls, wives or mothers but they go missing even before they are born. And it is the society that is to blame for this, for the real perpetrators of the crime are amongst us and they go scot-free every time.

Female FoeticideThe states of Punjab, Haryana and Jharkhand have the worst sex ratios in the in the country. According to the 2001 census, there are only 874 women with respect to 1000 men in these states. The national average was 933. In fact, the sex ratio of Punjab has never gone above the national average. According to the 2001 census, the worst sex ratio in any state was Haryana’s. It had only 861 women per 1000 men in the state. What is shocking is that at the time of Independence the sex ratio stood at a healthy 946, but over the last 60 years it has fallen to 933. Thus, instead of improving it is becoming worse.

Finally the states of Punjab and Haryana have woken up to this crime. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee called for a Samaj Chetna Lehar (Social Awareness Campaign) to encourage young couples to have a girl child. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee had earlier announced that they would be putting up cradles outside the Gurdwaras, so that people could come and leave their girl children instead of killing them or abandoning them in the open. Chandigarh, which is one of the richest cities in India, has one of the most skewed sex ratio that you would ever see.

The figures are shocking to say the least. It is 777 females for a thousand males. In these states, female infanticide has been on the rise and drastic steps have to be taken to curb this crime. In temples and Gurdwaras in Chandigarh, after the morning prayers the priest will have the job of preaching to the devotees about saving the girl child. Being done at religious places, it will definitely have an impact on young couple’s minds.

The Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act (PNDT) was implemented in the year 1994, but is misused in all parts of India. Abortion rates are increasing by almost 80 per cent in some states like Punjab and Haryana. Figures by United Nations say that about 7,50,000 female foetuses are aborted every year in India. And these figures only constitute cases, which come out in the open, otherwise female infanticide continues unabated in the dark by bribing taking doctors.

The government has also thought of chipping in by trying to bridge the gap between the two sexes in parts of Punjab and Haryana with the Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme as it is followed in many other Latin American and Central American countries. In districts, where the sex ratio is really poor, the government will be offering cash incentives to families that have a girl child. Every newborn girl who has been registered will be given Rs 5000. And this won’t be the end of the largesse, at various stages of her education also, she will be given incentives. This scheme may work for the poor, but alas! Illegal sex determination happens among the affluent as well. This is where one believes the society needs to make a change. Some of the richest couples in Punjab and Haryana are guilty of killing their girl children. This is the mindset of the people, which only we can change.

India as a country reveres more goddesses than any other in the world. Even when female infanticide occurs right in front of our eyes, we stand mute and indifferent. We say ‘Vande Mataram’, we award movies like Mother India, but when it comes to having a girl child, even some of the richest couples refrain from doing so. It is really tough being a girl in a man’s world in India because her very right to live or be born is not granted to you.

“Incredible India” notion is a SHAM

RapeDESPITE REPORTS of increasing incidents of rape of foreign tourists at popular tourist sites, there seems to be clear apathy towards the whole issue of tourist safety in India.

Already, several prominent countries, including the US, UK, Australia, Canada and France have issued warnings on the law and order situation here through the travel advisories they circulate to their citizens planning to visit India. They have specifically warned women tourists about the possibility of physical harassment and molestation in major tourism destinations like Delhi, Agra, Goa and Himachal Pradesh. In 2007, there has been a spate of rapes. The Incredible India tag the government seeks to promote surely rings hollow to the victims of such savagery. Some of the incidents that came to light were:

  • On New Year’s Eve, molestation of tourists was reported from Mumbai and Kochi.
  • A British journalist has alleged she was raped by the owner of a guesthouse in Udaipur where she stayed last week. 
  • In another incident in Rajasthan, a 28-year-old American tourist was allegedly molested by a priest in a temple in the Hindu pilgrim town of Pushkar. The priest was subsequently arrested.
  • In March last, the son of a senior police officer was found guilty of raping a German researcher in Rajasthan. 
  • Also last year, a Japanese tourist complained that she was drugged and raped by a group of men in Pushkar. 

Molestation in MumbaiUntil November 2007, a record 4.4 million foreign tourists had set foot in India, double the figure within this decade. This is however an insignificant number compared to China’s 45 million, Singapore’s 7.5 million and Spain’s 55 million. The problem is that though we’ve been able to increase tourist arrivals, little has been done to create the infrastructure to host these visitors. The security aspect, which is important, has been neglected for long.

Those associated with tourism in the country, are worried about the spate of crimes targeting single women from abroad and have urged authorities to check the trend. This not only maligns the image of our country but affects the economy as well. Tourism industry is one of the main contributors to our GDP. India has always been considered a very peaceful country, but these rape and molestation cases have been affecting the country’s image. Tourists will have to be reassured that they are safe here; otherwise we may see a decline in arrivals, especially of foreign individuals.

Women Unsafe in India

I found this article in Times of India.

A plastic surgeon accused of sexually assaulting his patients; a doctor charged with the rape of a 10-year-old; a mob stripping two women in public; a hotel owner held for raping a tourist; a Russian doctor molested and a UK tourist raped — all this in a span of less than a month. What explains this trend?

ViolenceAre we as a society reaching a new low? Or is it just that such cases are being reported more often?

NCW chairperson Girija Vyas says:

These men think they have the right to assault women and they are meant to be assaulted.

What’s striking is the change in profile of the molester. An NRI recently assaulted a mall staffer, another molested a cabin crew member on board.

Jitendra Nagpal, a psychiatrist, says:

Not only do we lack value education, but we also lack lessons in life skills. A person indulging in such acts may show some unusual traits as a child that need to be worked at. Parents and schools should not overlook if a child is short-tempered or moody. Children need to be taught anger management, methods to cope with stress.

Vyas agrees:

We need to teach children early that women must be respected and in this, a family plays a vital role. A child who sees his mother being harassed every day will never learn to respect women. Parents should be very careful about their action in front of kids.

Some blame it on the changing lifestyles. There is a feeling that youngsters are getting too much too early. Says B M Tripathi, senior doctor, AIIMS:

Alcohol makes a person loose control over self. Normally a person would not indulge in such acts but under the influence of addictive substances, it’s easy to lose ones’ understanding of what is right and wrong.

Nagpal attributes the spurt in such crimes to increase in work pressure and stress. Clinical psychologist Aroona Bruta refuses to buy this argument, though. She says crime against women can’t be a stress-buster.

“There has to be a pathological disorder that will make a person indulge in such acts. In most cases, molesters
do have an abusive history or they have been a victim themselves.”

She adds:

“The expression of sex has become very free. With information easily available on internet, TV, mobiles, it’s easy to fall prey to ones whims.”

Lack of fear of punishment also acts as a catalyst. Says Sandeep Malhotra, psychiatrist,

People know they can easily get away with such crimes. Even good samaritans do not raise their voice, as they fear getting entangled in a long judicial process.

He further adds,

“Maybe the country is not ready for a cultural transition. People are not able to cope with the freedom and open society which the country is moving towards.” Bruta says,”Men are not able to face competition from women. It’s a way to put them down.”

However, all is not lost. Says Girija Vyas,

Thinking pattern of men can be changed. It’s not that tough to teach them. All we need is to educate them young.” She adds, “Our law needs to be modified. We need gender-based training and a more sensitised media. Victims need to feel secure and have more faith in the police.

Adds Bruta:

We definitely need more stringent laws, but a strict and quick implementation of those laws is also essential.” So, is it time for a complete overhaul of our society?

Dowry – A curse to the Indian Culture

A national survey conducted by the All India Democratic Women’s Association reveals that the dowry system is widespread and has permeated every section of society.”Even as we did the survey, a very ordinary looking girl was beaten up with a spice-grinding machine. Her fault: she was not good-looking, nor did she bring enough dowry.”— from the survey report presented by the Rajasthan team of the All India Democratic Women’s Association.

Stop Dowry CultureDowry (Daughter’s Own Wealth Released to You) is the most dreaded and surprisingly accepted word in Indian marriages. Irrespective of women’s movement and newly imposed laws, the phenomena of dowry still keeps its prominence in marital relationships. Let us analyze the new faces of dowry in Indian marriages.What will be your reaction when someone ask your opinion about dowry in public? If you are a bachelor, your response may go like this ” Dowry! There is no need of dowry for me. I have the capability to look after my wife and children. If her parents gift her something, it is for her only.” But the fact is that dowry system is still existing in every section of the society, right from lower middle class to upper class.

Dowry originated in upper caste families as the wedding gift to the bride from her family. The dowry was later given to help with marriage expenses and became a form of insurance in the case that her in-laws mistreated her. Although the dowry was legally prohibited in 1961, it continues to be highly institutionalized. The dowry system is so deeply rooted in Indian culture, that sometimes one feels that there’s going to be no way out – at least not for another century. Even modern, well-educated families start saving up money for their daughter’s dowry as soon as she is born, so what can one expect from the uneducated masses, whose only form of education is tradition? When demands for dowry are not met, the bride is subject to torture, and often even killed. The reason many parents don’t want to have daughters is because of the dowry they will have to shell out at her marriage, and the stress they go through due to never ending demands from her in-laws.

There are several reasons for the prevalence of the dowry system, but the main one is that it is a necessary precondition for marriage. “No dowry, no marriage,” is a widespread fear. There has also been an emergence of a feudal mindset with a materialistic attitude in a new globalized economy. The price tag for the groom is now bigger and bolder. The emergence of an affluent middle class, the torchbearer of social change in modern India, is the main factor for the perpetuation of the dowry system. Families arrange most marriages, and a man who does not marry for love learns he can marry for possessions. For this man, and his family, a woman becomes the ticket to shortcut riches through the system of dowry. There are a number of things people desire to have in their own houses but cannot afford; they use the opportunity of a son’s marriage to get them. The girl’s parents do not protest against the blatant extravaganza, as they regard the alliance as a stepping-stone towards higher social status and better matches for the remaining children. Dowry as a phenomenon has gone beyond the ritual of marriage.

Dowry is an evil, evil system and all of us, at some level, condone it and even contribute to it. In spite of modernization and the increasing role of women in all walks of life, the practice of the dowry in India is becoming widespread, and the value of dowries is increasing. If a bride’s family fails to pay the amount of dowry demanded by the prospective groom’s family, the bride will be cruelly treated by the in-laws, and in many cases will be burnt to death. Official statistics show a steady rise in dowry crimes. More than 9, 5000 women are killed every year in India over dowry. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh still record the maximum number of dowry crimes, but Bangalore, India’s fastest growing city also shows an alarming rise – four women reportedly die every day because of dowry harassment and domestic violence. The cases of dowry torture are the highest accounting for 32.4% of crimes against women in the country. Though prohibited by law in 1961, the extraction of DOWRY from the bride’s family prior to marriage still occurs. When the dowry amount is not considered sufficient or is not forthcoming, the bride is often harassed, abused and made miserable. This abuse can escalate to the point where the husband or his family burn the bride, often by pouring kerosene on her and lighting it, usually killing her. The official records of these incidents are low because they are often reported as accidents or suicides by the family.

One must not forget that the chunk of the GDP comes from the urban cities where the dowry laws are prevalently misused. If the misuse of laws still continues then the social infrastructure will collapse which will have a direct unfavorable impact on the country’s economy. If the law can’t curb dowry deaths, can’t even stop misuse, then what is the use of such a law that causes millions of people to suffer ? We as a youth want India to be the superpower in the world but unless we bring change in our attitude we cannot prosper. It is very essential that we should stand against any form of social evils that is existing for years in our so called modern society. The change can be brought if we change ourself. If we can not then the education is of no use. Education aims at betterment of our society but if it is not serving the purpose then why to initiate campaigns like “Education for all”. Our constitution believes in equality but we treat men and women differently in our society. Women need real social, political, financial and moral support in their fight against the system. They have to be empowered so that they can take their decisions about their own life by refusing the dowry system.

Rape, Pay a compensation & Be free. This is India!!!

Rape, Pay a compensation & Be free. This is India!!!Rape is one of the most heinous crimes done by one human to control, dominate and force the other to their own will. It is a prevalent world-wide. Whatever reasons might be behind it – social, religious or in wars, it carries the same crushing shame, anger and emotional trauma.

Let us see the following figures :-

Every 26 minutes a woman in India is molested. Every 34 minutes a woman is raped. Every 42 minutes a woman is sexually harassed. Every 43 minutes a woman is kidnapped. Every 93 minutes a woman is killed. And those are just the cases that are reported.

As for the cases that are reported, very few get punishment. Often the woman is bombarded with all sorts of humiliating questions and the cases are withdrawn midway. If the perpetrator is influential and rich, its assured that justice will be thrown out of the window. This has been proved time and again. We cannot cut down the trauma caused by the actual rape but we can give the emotional support that the victim needs and see that rapist is behind the bars. This would at least result in the reduction of rape crimes in the country. But story is very different.

Now read this :-
A very shocking verdict came from a judge in Tamil Nadu, who set aside the conviction of a rapist because he offered Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the victim. The verdict delivered a month ago is a trauma to the victim. Now question arises can a convicted rapist be let off because he is rich? Is this not a total travesty of the justice. How can a convicted rapist be acquitted because he agrees to pay compensation? Does that means anyone with money can rape with impunity? We might as well dispense with trials, courts, lawyers and judges. Why bother with the legal system? Just put the price list of rape. It is shocking that for a criminal offence a person could be let off lightly.
I am also amazed that no one, be it social organizations, women groups, media has picked it up except an English daily.

In India more than 80% rape cases go unreported because the victim is looked upon as if she is at fault and somehow asked for it. Not many people have faith in the law system and as a result the victim has to suffer all by herself and to see her rapist roaming around freely. The very few go against all odds for justice and then if they are treated like this, the situation cannot be more worst for women in India.

The judiciary needs an overhaul and more stringent laws are required to curb violence and crime against women. Rape should be considered at par with murder. The necessary reforms are very essential so that rich men cannot consider law as their property. Does this mean that such rulings only send signals to the society that our women can be raped, murdered and you can pay the compensation to buy your freedom??