Three days after two sisters studying in Rohtak’s government women’s college hit national headlines for their act of bravery after they beat up three eve-teasers aboard a Haryana Roadways bus, HT spoke to Aarti Kuhar and Pooja.
The sisters, who are students of Bachelor of Computer Application (final year), came to the college first time since the incident on Tuesday, for appearing in their semester exam. They talked about how their life has changed post the incident. Excerpts:
How has your life changed after Friday's episode as you both are being seen as heroes in the country?
Pooja: We are not interested in becoming a star or seeking publicity at the cost of our dignity. We are simple girls, who know their job. But what sets us apart from others is that we acted as we believed that tolerating injustice is also wrong, which other girls might face quietly.
What response did it generate after people around you came to known of the incident?
Pooja: Our mobile phones were ringing continuously and our friends and relatives appreciated our stand. They said we have a befitting reply to the eve-teasers. Some of our college mates, who called us up, said they share the pain as they are also subjected to such harassment on daily basis while travelling in buses. The support came from society after the incident was highlighted by the media has made us stronger and we feel safer.
What gave you strength to fight back?
Aarti: We were shy of boys and after matriculation we refused to go to co-educational school, but our father and a female school teacher convinced us. She told us that if we wanted to live with dignity we should learn to be bold.
Incidents of eve-teasing and crime against women had occurred in the past like the shocking Delhi gangrape case.
Aarti: It is ironic that such incidents happen when girls are expected to walk shoulder to shoulder with boys in every sphere of life. There is a section of society, which sees girls only as a sexual object. If a boy passes a lewd comment on girl, a girl's first mistake is to take it casually.
Your message to other girls.
Pooja: Girls like us should understand that if they manage to bring only 10% of change, they are strong enough to tackle boys with such a mindset.