There was a time when parents used to feel extremely humiliated when they were told that their son had been accused of eve-teasing. It was considered a blemish on the family. Moreover, it also faced censure from the society. The boy was not merely reprimanded, but was given a corporal punishment. I reminisce a boy in Amritsar who used to stalk a girl, while on her way home from college. It happened a few times before she could muster enough courage to confide in her brother about the episode.
One day the brother, with a few of his friends, waylaid the boy, while the latter was following his sister. The errant boy was neither abused nor beaten, but was simply asked to take them to his parents. Once in his street, the boy panicked and hurriedly climbed up the stairs of his house. This neighbours grew curious and the tumult that followed brought the boy to his knees. Thereafter, the girl never saw him.
Now the scenario has changed. Parental authority has lost its grip on the children. The society has also grown indifferent to moral concerns. Boys and girls presume that they are not answerable to anyone for their misdemeanours. Nothing untoward may visit them for a time being, but in course wrongdoings bring in their wake a plethora of problems. The situation may escalate, resulting in some tragic event.
Personally, I am not in favour of keeping the youngsters on a tight and short leash so that they may not be able to live as they feel. They should feel, within reasonable restrictions, unfettered and uninhibited. Thus, their personality would get an opportunity to flourish. But, they should be alive to their responsibilities towards their families and the society. There should be someone to fall back upon when that moment of 'things-have-fallen-apart' comes.
Indubitably, the pattern and the tenor of life have changed over the years. New predicaments have cropped up in day-to-day life and new challenges have to be faced in the course of life. In search of new avenues of employment, people have been compelled to migrate to faraway places, removed from their homes and hearths. But being away from home does not entitle them to become wayward.
Self-discipline should desist them from indulging in nefarious activities.
In Shimla, where I spent 10 years -- from 1951 to 1961 - as a girl as well as a married woman, eve-teasing was unheard of. Over the Ridge, students of BM College, SD College and Punjab Government Training College came across one another at least twice a day, but there was no eve-teasing. Likewise, at the Scandal Point, there used to be a big gathering of men and women, as well as boys and girls, particularly in the evening. There was no ban on roving eyes, nor were there any restrictions on exchanging glances or even flashing smiles. But, no one ever dared to pass any unsavoury remark or tried to jostle anyone in the crowd.
At the Mall, from 5pm to 9pm, two streams of people moved parallel to each other, but in the opposite directions. The first stream moved from Scandal Point to the K-wality restaurant (where now the lift is situated), while the second stream used to beat a leisurely retreat from the K-wality to the Scandal Point. Some men ogled at the women, at times scantily dressed, but not a word escaped their lips. Some of the boys and girls used to race to cross each other as quickly as possible. But never was there a case of eve-teasing.
What has changed now? Nothing, but the absence of parental authority, of social pressure and a dearth of moral values.