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I recently came across the blog post ‘Madam Justice, Here’s My Character Certificate’ on Women’s Web. It is about the insensitivity shown by the then Chairperson of the Kerala Women’s Commission (Justice Sreedevi) – she is quoted as saying that if a woman wears revealing clothes, men are bound to be tempted to touch her.
I had occasion to visit the mother of women’s commissions in the country- the National Commission for Women- a few years ago, and thankfully I had gone there in my official capacity to meet someone.
To begin with, the place is difficult to find- it was easy enough to locate the building, but once inside, I realized that the NCW is housed towards the back on two upper floors and a mezzanine floor and I wondered how people seeking succor from the NCW manage to find it as there is hardly any signage and there is no one to guide visitors.
I trudged up the stairs, crossed the mezzanine floor and was walking up the rest of the stairs when I sensed that there was a woman sitting towards a corner filing her bright red nails. She summoned me disdainfully and asked me with the full authority of the Government of India as to where I was going. Before I could answer, she thrust what looked like a form towards me- it actually was a form to be tick-marked and signed by anyone desiring audience with the high and mighty at the NCW.
I peered at the form as I had forgotten my spectacles, and she helpfully told me to tick-mark the reason why I was in her presence. I looked carefully, and figured out that I was to inform the NCW by just one tick-mark or two the reason of my visit. The choices were: Whether I was there as a victim or on behalf of a victim of a) rape; b) domestic violence c) dowry harassment; d) etc; e) etc; etc…
I was furious and wanted to thrust that form down her throat, till I calmed myself down that she was just a receptionist; and then I was furious again- she herself was a woman, how could she dole out such insensitive forms to victims of unspeakable crimes day after day; and how could she do it with such disdain?
I then told her that I was so and so wanting to meet a so and so from NCW. That got action- she stood up, hiding the nail-file under the table and began to escort me up the stairs. I finally entered the office of the lady I had to see- she stood up too, shook hands with me and offered me tea/coffee/water/soft drink. By then, I had lost my appetite for anything, including for the discussion I had gone there for.
I learnt so much more that day- that the NCW understands only English and Hindi, never mind that half the country knows neither; that not many people approach the NCW in person (how can they??); that people manning the NCW are bureaucrats who know as much about women’s issues as I know about rocket science; that sensitivity is the rarest commodity one can find there; and that the place is infested with people who just don’t care.
How is Justice Sreedevi any different?
PS: I propose to visit the NCW again shortly to steal a copy of that form and send it across to Women’s Web.
I am a former bureaucrat, and have worked a lot on gender issues, disaster management and good governance. I am also the proud father of two lovely daughters. read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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Chetan Bhagat had no business slut shaming Uorfi Javed or any other woman. If he wants to 'guide' young men in the 'right direction' then he should take accountability for his words.
Chetan Bhagat, one of India’s bestselling authors, thought it was an ingenious idea to slut-shame Uorfi Javed, an Indian actress and influencer, at the Sahitya Aaj Tak literature festival.
“Phone has been a great distraction for the youth, especially the boys, spending hours just watching Instagram Reels. Everyone knows who Uorfi Javed is. What will you do with her photos? Is it coming in your exams or you will go for a job interview and tell the interviewer that you know all her outfits? On one side, there is a youth who is protecting our nation at Kargil and on another side, we have another youth who is seeing Uorfi Javed’s photos hiding in their blankets.”
Uorfi Javed responded with a video on her Instagram stories calling out Bhagat’s bluff. She shared the screenshots of his previous chat conversations with Ira Trivedi, author and yoga instructor, which came to light during the #MeToo movement.
While boys are taught to naturally own the space they enter, girls are taught to give up, to accommodate, to adjust since "it is their primary responsibility to keep families and relations together."
Yesterday, I was watching these 4 young girls around 16 – 17 years old play badminton. They were having fun, goofing around with all 4 of them equally involved in the game.
In some time two of their male friends joined them, and as part of round robin, the 2 boys replaced two of the girls. All good.
As the play continued, I started noticing a change in the way the game was being played. The shuttle was played most of the times between the two boys and there was a sense of competition and aggression brought in. The other 2 girls playing soon starting losing interest in the game as they hardly got any game time. Even if the shuttle came towards them, the boy in their team would move and play that shot. They soon moved to the sidelines as the boys continued to play.
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