India's civilization is very ancient, very rich and very sublime.
we are justifiably proud of that heritage. In the Indian Hindu
pantheon of gods and goddesses, there are many goddesses, the more
popular ones being Durga and Kali (protection from evil); Lakshmi
(wealth); Saraswati (knowledge); Sita (faithfulness); Parvati
(kindness). Throughout India countless temples have existed for
millennia in the name of these goddesses; their graceful idols
added holiness to the temples and men and women have prayed to
for the removal of their afflictions.
In India’s many ancient legends and stories that are part of our
folklore and culture there is much affectionate emphasis on the
form of mother, sister, daughter, and sweetheart. All that has
distinguished the Indian culture and society in a very unique way.
In the Indian society men are taught from an early age to be more
respectful of women per se and especially not treat them as sexual
objects. But in the last several decades as the culture in the
cities has modernized and westernized and many more women are out
the streets, going to colleges, offices, public events etc. the
reality has become opposite of the sanctified heritage.
Go to any major city and try to travel in trains, busses and
transport, or visit public places like entertainment complexes,
stadiums, major public events like New Year Day, Independence Day,
Republic Day, Diwali, Holi, Christmas, Eid, Baisakhi, sporting
where crowds throng. You will observe all sorts of men, older and
younger, trying to take sexual advantage of women. Touching women
in-appropriately, making obscene sexual gestures, making lewd
comments and taking physical-sexual advantage of women in crowded
public places has become commonplace and is euphemistically
Whenever a woman or girl finds herself alone after sunset in a
where there are a few men, she worries. Even in big, world-class
metropolitan cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai,
Bangalore, women worry when going outside their houses alone after
dark for fear of molestation.
But with much modernization and development in India’s cities,
career-women and girl-students have to go around by themselves and
return home by themselves at night. It is no exaggeration to say
they become vulnerable to molestation by praying men. The women
the upper class families generally travel by car and do not face
predatory men. But most women from middleclass families who do not
have cars available to them and travel by public transport face
risk every day.
In 2012 alone, in New Delhi, police reported about 600 instances
actual rape (molestation and harassment cases not being recorded
the police). And in the same year only one man was actually
of rape in New Delhi; the remainder being acquitted. Even those
men who are convicted of rape, receive light sentences and are out
jail in a few short years. Thus predator men are not that afraid
the consequences of raping or molesting women.
One of the major reasons for such inordinate increase of rapes of
women is that the police often decline to record complaints of
from women and in fact discourage them from even reporting the
The courts follow very cumbersome and long winded procedures to
the rapists and put very difficult burden of proof on the victim
women. That results in encouraging the predatory men from being
fearless in their ugly pursuits of women.
The upsurge of a modern lifestyle that entails the mixing of men
women and its proliferation on TV, internet and flashy magazines
the last decade in the big cities in India, has further heightened
libido of the sexually frustrated unmarried men, in a society
most young men know females only as either mother or sister.
no interface with women outside of their close family, but a
heightened desire for physical contact with women, drives some of
these men up the wall and prone to molest women whenever and
they can find an opportunity.
The gruesome gang rape and murder of a young college student girl
moving bus in the suburbs of New Delhi in mid-December has shocked
conscience of India. A huge number of men and women including many
youth have staged massive rallies in the heart of New Delhi and
and other big cities and the prestigious seats of the Indian
So as India modernizes and westernizes rapidly, its men have to
an equal space for women not only in professions and careers but
to stop looking at them as sex objects. Men need to resolve the
contradiction between their reverence for the goddesses from the
pantheon and their lack of respect for the ordinary women whom
perceive from a carnal angle.
There is an immediate need for India to change its laws on rape,
molestation and sexual harassment of women by instituting harsh
punishments through the court system at a fast pace. And ensure
policemen drop their casual attitude towards molestation of women
view it as a serious crime. The roles and responsibilities of
policemen on the streets should be changed making them more
to safeguarding women from sexual harassment.
Indeed since a large number of sexual harassment of women involves
powerful politicians and officials and their kin, the government
should ensure that the said laws are actually applied to all men,
regardless of their status in society. The Indian government needs
learn a lot in this respect from other countries where men
for sexual harassment of women are punished severely for their