The Plight of Women in Delhi: An Introspection
By Nengneithem Kipgen
The killing of a woman in Uttam Nagar in April has once again brought into light a plethora of issues regarding the myriad offences against women, and more so, the increased targeting of women belonging from the Northeast India cannot be ignored.
It has brought in mixed reactions and emotions. One of sadness and sorrow and the other extreme of anger and frustration, bringing in one’s mind a legion of unanswered questions like: how long are we to be victimised? How can incidents like this can be prevented? Who is to be blamed or are we ourselves responsible for incidents like this?
Are girls from the Northeast India the only fair game? How can we as a society approach issues like this? More importantly, for us women, it is really imperative to have an opinion about it, ask ourselves individually on how should we as a woman ponder over these issues and seek out for solutions.
If we were to narrate what we had experienced, I believe every woman would have a story especially for those of us who have been here for quite sometime; the experiences are countless. Being here for many years do not spare you either; everyday is the same, dealing with men: from the auto drivers, bus drivers, rickshaw drivers, to the office goers, the shopkeepers and the list is just endless.
Passing lewd remarks for them is just starters. You will often hear “chini mini nepali” which even a year old is eligible to mete out at you, for them it is just some kind of fun they enjoy and if you start protesting they are ever ready to justify themselves and thus inviting more troubles. I am sure they must have had a culture shock themselves from where these aliens flew in suddenly.
We, most of the time, just turn deaf ears treating them as minors. Then we hear the whistling, the rhyming of some filmi songs like pehli nazar mein, some ashiqui ashiqui, pyar pyar the moment you pass by, assuming themselves to be a Sonu Nigam, a Himmesh etcetra in their own right, a roadside romeo for second and suddenly they are ready to strip you from your very existence .
I remember blasting three of them but they sang all the more tawdry as if I boosted their morale. But the worst we have to face is to be tagged and stereotype as an easy prey for their own selfish motives. No wonder after all these years, most of us are ever ready to bark back bringing out the worst in us.
There were many incidents where one’s adventurous mind would invent all sorts of machines and equipments to eliminate the “threat” there and then rather than resorting to pebbles and most extreme cases chilli sprays. I am sure no defence agencies would even in their wildest dreams have those original ideas.
From giving them the deadliest look one could possibly make, bombarding them with all the hindi gallies one have mastered over the years and threatening them to report to the police as if they have been the big brother in every incident, one has done it all but that does not seem to deter them from their higher purpose, that is, to tease, to abuse, to harass, to kill at every opportunity.
Some issues pertinent are our demeanour and lifestyles. Let us clear our heads from certain myths and introspect ourselves with respect to the Christian ethics and values imbibed in every aspect of our lives. Some of us try our best efforts to hide our identity and rechristen ourselves while some of us subscribe that being a member of the Kuki Worship Service/ Kuki Students Organisation would lower our so-called status.
God knows what status we have that we find it too stupid to be part of any social organisation. One could sense that there is an unwritten class system, upper creamy, middle class, lower etcetra apart from the many clan divisions already prevalent and posing as the biggest hindrance in reforming our society.
Or, in other cases, many of us believe the more the skin show the lesser the draping; the more modern you have become while we at the same time give the skirtchasers their lifetime opportunities. Of course, the harsh weather has to be blamed as well, no doubt.
Some of us also are crazy chasing firang men (blue, white, black , green) believing and hoping they are the gateway to greener pastures but sad endings like the one above abound. We often jump to conclusions asserting our rights and freedom like it is my wish to dress the way I want or it is my life etcetra, but we fail to see the consequences our families and society have to bear.
We should always bear in mind that even the way we dress to say the least has its trickling down effect. We as students, as a woman, as a man should prompt ourselves everyday the purpose of our sojourning in Delhi. None of us are here to idle away precious years and none so rich that we can afford to do only “mu mu ne ne” in this city which have ample opportunities for the seeker at the same time so cruel that it can tear our lives apart.
Most importantly, no woman should waste time and this God given life to be just a subject of sexual harassments, abuse, rape in any hands or gamble with life and cut short the pink of life ending up at Imphal (Manipur) airport with grieving and speechless parents or worst, be buried by unknown Delhi police personnel and nobody to eulogise even as you have become a Mr/Ms nobody.
The writer is a doctoral candidate at the Centre for Japanese studies, School of International Studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University, India.