Catwalk or bitchwalk?


Umang Sabharwal has taken up cudgels against an issue which may not be palatable to many, especially in a male-dominated society as is prevalent in India. There is no doubt she has struck a chord in the mind of many, both young and old. Definitely women need to be protected, especially in the current age when rapid changes and rural to urban shift leads to gullible victims being taken for a royal ride. Ms. Sabharwal’s ‘Slutwalk artharth Besharmi Morcha’ should be given support if only to highlight the status of women in Indian society. Though the Slutwalk event in Toronto may have taken the issue to a more aggressive level, here in India such a demonstration will make it a subject of discussion at all levels and women in general would become courageous enough to protest against the indignities heaped on them on an everyday basis.
It is often argued that efforts taken to protect women through legal means only favour a few and they are often misused. However these are few in number and this is largely because of ignorance. Women should be made aware of the reason for such measures being taken in the country and warned against severe repercussions in case of misuse. This cannot preclude the need for protecting the interests of the many. When Supreme Court gave the verdict in the Vishakha case many office-going ladies used it as a shield to create an atmosphere of laissez-faire in office. Still the many who have been protected merely because of the existence of this Act are innumerable. The Act itself is a matter of grave concern to many male predators wandering the corridors of government as well as private establishments.  
Women are silent sufferers. Their instinct is to search for security in life - financial and otherwise – both for themselves and their offsprings. They need to feel proud of their body, to attract males naturally, so that they can carry good genes to the next generation. The choice for this should be entirely that of each individual woman. Nobody can invade her private space – not just by touch but neither through spoken words or even suggestive glances. A society is formed by an individual’s acceptance of the need to follow the rules and regulations formulated. A mature individual is meant to curb his/her instinct when moving in public space. He/She also has to accept that liberty is only permitted in society to the extent of not interfering in the private space of the other individuals - be it their own family members. The society has the responsibility to protect every individual using the laid down laws. In India today, having adopted the western legal system, many are still immature enough to think that laws are applicable only to others and they have only to follow the degenerated traditional systems which have never been reviewed. It is true that originally all systems are made by society in an idealistic frame of mind but with time, changes need to be incorporated and for this every system needs to be reviewed. Our constitution permits such reviews and a healthy young democracy that is India is still undergoing the growing pains and it is every citizen’s responsibility to see that the system is maintained. Finding loopholes in laws to facilitate moneyed individuals to escape, media closing their eyes or even pampering well-known people has to end.

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