Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Time's running out, #RingTheBell #BellBajao

This post has been written for the Write the Change initiative under IndiBlogger's IndiChange initiative in association with Ring The Bell initiative www.bellbajao.org by Breakthrough.

I was sitting with some of my friends alongside our office. We saw some young boys and girls, probably 15-16 year olds, trying to experience a smoke. Some looked professional smokers as well. When I heard a girl telling a boy who was not willing to smoke, "Dude come on, be a man", I was in a state of shock. Freedom. What's that? Is it this? What's happening?

Off late, there is a huge buzz about giving an equal space to women, fighting for their rights and ensuring that they live just as happily and freely like their counterparts aka the men. Aur kyun na ho, hakk bantha hai. It is women's right to be free to do what they want to, live how they want to without having to explain to men or the society. Though I am a proponent of equality, in fact I would be happy to women going ahead of men, I am a little worried about the definition of free. I have seen people fight their parents saying, "I want to live my life how I want, let me free" and ending in alcohol indulgence, smoke addiction, etc. There are examples of women, who have earned their so called freedom from multiple husbands. No, I am not saying that divorce is wrong. I am only saying that if this is the freedom that women are fighting for, its not worth it. The society is heading for a disaster if we are demanding equal space for women in bars, pubs and smoking zones. In fact, we might not have a society at all. So, the most important point that we have to clear up on is that we are not fighting for filthy things as this. We are fighting for real reasons, real pains and real agonies that women are going through.

Ring The Bell - A Breakthrough IndiBlogger Presentation

So, I attended this meet by IndiBlogger called "Ring The Bell" which was organized in collaboration with Breakthrough under the IndiChange initiative. One can check the website for further information. In simple words, the organization is focusing on bringing forces together for the cause of standing up for women. Bell Bajao is a global campaign asking men and boys to pledge action against violence against women. I loved this ad that they played at the meet today.

You can watch a lot of pledges by a lot of people including many celebrities who have joined the campaign at http://www.youtube.com/user/LetsBreakthrough/videos

The Causes

Often, I try to think what exactly causes such behavior in men and amid all reasons of ego, culture, upbringing, psychology, dressing, etc, the reason that most logically satisfies me is that men are fed with information that they have to prove their manliness. Now, how can they do that? The only difference between men and women, biologically, is that one part. So, they start showing that to say, "Look, I am better than you".

One major reason that is responsible for a lot of these issues is the tons of information that is thrown on to us by the different types of media. Sometimes, these make me think on whether we are really heading ahead as a society/nation or are we falling back each day trying to become something that we are not.
  • Open a newspaper and you see the most revealing pictures of women, just covering enough to ensure the newspaper doesn't get sued for obscenity.
  • Turn the TV on and you get to hear all the stories of cruelty, heinous crimes, rapes, etc. Nobody speaks of the good things happening around. The whole focus is to show that this country is in shit.
  • Look around and the billboards say, "Be a MAN" with an image of a super hot chic inviting the man. Now that men who are distracted by that billboard can not get that lady, they try to get someone else.
  • Go to the movies and you hear, Sheila ki Jawaani, Munni Badnam Hui, Chikni Chameli, Halkat Jawaani, etc.
  • Open facebook and you see a whole lot of stuff promoting promiscuity. People without girl friends or boy friends are looked down upon (treated as failures). Your pride is in question
  • Today's girls, if I am to believe internet forum discussions, want to lose their virginity by 15-16 years. Else, they are again in a fix among their friends. Now, everyone can ask me, "What's wrong with that?". Nothing at all, as long as you are conscious and not under peer pressure.

The Effects

So, everyone who we follow is trying to tell men, "Get her, go, get her". Look at any famous website and you get to see the same. We never complain against them because they are award winning companies and would do anything to sell something to you. While some companies strip women off, some women do that themselves to grab eyeballs. In fact, women too are very fine with this. The supermodels, the super duper heroines, the so called achievers or role models to other women, the ones who feature in every magazine and every show, etc. have reached that stage by showing themselves as objects. You would hardly find the youth following women who have made efforts to build the nation, build an organization or have really added value to the world. The youth follows celebrities and what these celebrities promote is clearly seen. They are equally responsible. If I have to fight for such rights, I'd rather lend a deaf ear. Sorry but for a few dollars, there are women who are putting out vulgarity in the world and then these same women dramatize the rights for women.

In other words, we, the innovative people as we call, are depicting women as objects ourselves. Then, we cry on why men are mad on women who show flesh in lieu of fur. Do we dare to question the advertising agencies? Do we dare question these women who try to tell men how luscious they are and how men should readily attack them? No, we only question the men giving some women the freedom to play around. Of course, we should question these men but more importantly, we must also question other elements that have led to this crime.

The After Effects

When the poor do not have any food to eat and the rich are draining food their glory, the poor revolt, attack the rich and snatch food. In the process, they break law, harm the rich and are also labeled thieves. Reason - the poor were deprived of food.

When women are faced with societal difficulties, they rise, they fight for their rights and declare their freedom and in the process, they might hurt a lot of men. Reason - the women were deprived of freedom.

Just the same way, the men who see women enjoying their lives going around with their boyfriends. There is a set of men who do not have girls along them. In a society that still considers sex as taboo, it is difficult for some men to see women going around so freely. So, they attack a girl in the process of enjoying all that they seem to believe that their counterparts are. Reason - these men were perhaps deprived of a good relationship or sex.

Please note that these are not justifications. These are explanations. I want to make it clear that none of these reasons are any good for a man to take a wrong step. Not at all. For no reason whatsoever can anyone justify harming the other person, be it a man or woman. For no reason whatsoever, raping a woman is justified. For no reason whatsoever can a man justify doing anything against a woman's desire. Such men should definitely be punished. To build a good society, we must develop a good understanding among people, get them to learn to respect women. The women should not consider men, who tell them about dress code or behavior, as moral police. Its just that they want you to be safe, strong and happy. Its none of your mistake but its just that, we as a nation, are not yet mature/ready to see what you want to show. Respect their concern.

Should we stop recognizing genders? Remove the M/F column from all documents?

Long ago, and even now, there were regular debates on casteism. There were hundreds of views on how to get rid of this evil. While initially, the SC/ST/OBC were the disadvantaged and the leaders decided to facilitate their lives through reservations, the scenario is different now. Today, we are all fighting to end this reservation because it is evident that merit is being killed in the process of reservation. Its time for us to abolish the religion/caste system in legal processes and thereby make it a cultural/social subject in lieu of a political subject. That will end all the differences between people on the basis on caste, leading to a society of equality among people.

Applying a similar logic, if we stop legally recognizing people as men and women, and recognize them as human beings, we would get a lot of our problems solved. Neither men would try to dominate women nor women would want to do an equalizer with men. The only people who would have problem with this would be the media as they would not have anything to write/show that can excite people. I am trying to say that the world is not as bad as it is made to appear. Like me, there are hundreds of men sitting to blog about fighting for women's rights.

The day we start looking at each other as human beings and not as males and females, a lot can get accomplished.

Solutions - The simple ones and the not so simple ones

Fear and Enticement work wonders in the short term. Bosses use fear to get work done from employees. Women entice men to buy gold for them. In neither cases do these stay on for long. Fear ends one day and the employee will repel. Enticement ends one day and husbands will declare bankruptcy. Understanding is the greatest virtue of life that works in the long run. If the employee understands his work and its significance, there is perhaps no need of a boss. If a husband understand his wife's desire for gold as well as financial angles to it, the wife doesn't need to ask for it. Now, should we wait till all the people on earth understand that women need to get all that men get? That might not happen in decades. It is a slow process. In the meanwhile, we should put fear and enticement into work.

When Enticement doesn't seem to work, Fear works

Now, of course, putting enticement into work has not worked till date. We tried candle light marches, we tried spreading awareness, we tried equipping women with some skills, etc. but on the other hand, we get at least one rape report everyday. Gang rapes are perhaps motivated by the group orgies depicted by the so called developed nations who we try to follow. Now a days, it is no more shocking to listen to these news. I mean, how many times can you get shocked for the same news?

So, its time to try fear. In fact, fear has worked in several nations. I am a strong supporter of Mr TV Mohandas Pai who said, "Rapists should be punished with chemical castration, like it is done in the US and the UK". In fact, we should chop off their parts and show them to the world. The last time, I said in the IndiBlogger meet that we should not hide the faces of these rapists. The media should not question the victim about what happened and what she is going through. The media must question the rapist, his family and friends. One such cases and fear will catch up. We might see a short term break and in this break, we must build a strong culture among people.

Right Understanding is the Ultimate Answer

In simplest words, "Ask me to rape a woman and I will not do it. Not because I can't but because I understand that it is wrong. Ask me to copulate with a girl other than my wife, I wouldn't. Not because I can't but because I understand that it is none of my business. Ask me to harass a woman, I will not. Not because I can't but I would prefer beating you black and blue than her." When we ensure that men understand these couple of points in the right spirit, we will head towards a world that sees everyone with the same eye. Today's world continuously asks men, "Can You?" and men are forced to say, "I Can". I bet if women were men, they would do the same. The day men say, "I can but I won't", we have solved the women's issues forever.

Take the National Pledge

When I was a kid, studying at Kendriya Vidyalaya, I took a pledge every day which had a statement saying that all Indians are my brothers and sisters. I remembering discussing with my friends, "Dude, if all Indians are my brothers and sisters, I will have to marry a foreigner". Kids, we decided to whisper the words "except one" in to the pledge, thus making it, "All Indians except one are my brothers and sisters". Our teacher caught us one fine day and she was, in fact, very happy to see us being serious with the pledge. Today, I think, its time for all of us to revisit this pledge.
India is my country and all Indians (except if I marry an Indian) are my brothers and sisters. I love my country and I am proud of its rich and varied heritage. I shall always strive to be worthy of it. I shall give my parents, teachers and all elders respect and treat everyone with courtesy. To my country and my people, I pledge my devotion. In their well-being and prosperity alone, lies my happiness.


  1. Well written! You have made a point. Actually only real men treat women respectfully. :)

    1. Thanks Anupam, I'm glad you liked it ;)

  2. very well written...nicely put up... :)