An Open Letter to Ms. Sushma Swaraj By Another Girl

By admin - December 31, 2012

This is an open letter to Ms. Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition Lok Sabha, by Another (Indian) Girl. 
Dear Ma’m,
Women in position of power, like yourself, have the opportunity to finally do something concrete to improve the plight of women and young girls in India. Please don’t stop at demanding a flat and a job for Nirbhaya’s family members, do something about the problem at large. Nation’s mood and the youth power are with you.
As per National Crime Records Bureau’s 2011 figures, every 22 minutes a girl gets raped in India, every 15 minutes a girl is kidnapped, every 12 minutes a girl is molested, every 5 minutes a women is abused by her husband or some relative.
These figures are horrifying. And they haven’t seen the peak yet. The rate at which crime against women is rising in India is alarming. Recent gang-rape and murder of 23 yr old (called Nirbhaya by TOI) is a grim reflection of the society we live in. All women in India, we bet without any exception, will tell you that they have faced sexual harassment of some sort in their lives.
It’s a problem that’s deep rooted in our patriarchal society. A society that sees women as a species somehow inferior to men – a human form that deserves no or a limited supply of free air – a breed that’s meant to be a subservient subordinate to men. When we demand justice we are seen as rebellious brats or some ignorable “dented and painted” (a reference to a recent outrageous remark by none other than Indian President’s son) women.
We don’t expect that the attitude towards us will change overnight. We don’t expect any quick solutions either. Honestly, we don’t even expect a complete solution. What we are expecting and seeking are some baby steps, some really doable things, towards the safety and security of women in this country. Some small concrete changes that are well within your capacity as a leader of opposition, who’s also a woman herself.
Let’s start with public transport. Let’s make buses safer for women.
Boarding a public bus, for a woman in India, is the most horrific experience. It’s like walking into some sex starved herd of wolfs – waiting to pounce upon you with tongues out.
Government is talking about having guards in the buses. Yes, we need them. Why not also start special buses for women only, and have women driver driving them? If we can have woman coaches in metros and local trains – why not women only buses at least in the cities?
Knowing how, and how much, the police have protected the women, it’s difficult to accept bus guards as a solution to this sick problem. Please demand special buses for women. Please prevent more women from meeting Nirbhaya’s fate. Please do.
Yours sincerely,
Just Another Girl!

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  1. This would be a humble beginning but a very effective one- women only buses. Brilliant idea.

  2. Be careful what you ask for. In my country (USA), we tried that pre-civil rights for our African-American citizens. When government implements “separate but equal”, they seem to focus on the “separate” but never get around to the “equal”. The women’s buses will run slower, be the ones needing repairs, etc.

  3. Women-only buses do ply is some Indian cities – but are generally restricted to office/school timings. They are rather popular as well.
    I think it is important that women begin to simply take back the rights they had once surrendered to the men in good faith. Just hoping that the current male dominated society will give the rights is a foolish proposition. Of course men are also realizing that if 50% of the humanity remains not so developed, their own progress will also be retarded.
    Here is where the women legislatures need to start taking strong steps. Being women themselves and being exposed to women of all categories and classes, I am sure they understand the plight of women.
    It is amazing that they have not yet taken strong steps towards the welfare and development of women. It seems like they become professionals (politicians) first and forget their responsibilities towards their gender.
    The need of the hour is very strict laws, and efficient execution and judiciary. Value based education is a slow process. Take the example of Singapore, where strict laws, and good execution has transformed a mucky, undisciplined port to a beautiful and orderly touristic place.
    Violence, fear and sex propensities will always be there in some form or the other. Civilization is about controlling these tendencies in the society and in individuals. But the responsibility for this lies with both men and women,
    I would suggest “Another girl” to gather and write an article on the available laws in the Indian constitution today and what can be changed in these laws towards better safety of women and the girl child. These could be sent as constructive suggestion to our representatives in the Parliament.

  4. You start separate buses for women, and then separate offices, separate roads, separate trains, separate shops, separate autoriskshaw……………how long separate….that will be endless and will not be a solution but rather there is need to improve the thinking and improve the governance. Why would women get separated because our govt failed to give them security or we cannot change our thinking. Mind this the change is required in both sections women and men to grow and broaden your thinking….

  5. Dear Readers,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this open letter. We just wanted to share with you all that Madhiyamik Siksha Sangh (teachers body of Noida) and Noida Industrial Women Workers group have separately demanded authorities to provide special buses connecting various hubs in Noida, Greater Noida, and Dadri routes in the morning and evening hours.
    “We face harassment daily while travelling on buses. Men passengers try to push us and we cannot do anything as it may lead to clash and they may harm us. We silently bear the harassment as we have no choice,” said Neelima a factory worker at Noida Phase 2 hosiery complex (Source: CNN IBN and PTI)
    While special buses offer no solution to gender equality, they are the need of the moment. They will make women feel safer while the public at large pushes authorities to cleanse and reform the sick systems (education, judiciary, and governance included) and we the people take ownership of fixing the mindset issue at home.