The Guwahati incident has left the entire country stunned. Everyone wants the molesters humiliated in public and the laws made more stringent. But trust our governments to pick on the wrong point. They want pubs to shut at 10 pm and people to go to bed early. Na rahega bar, na bajegi basuri; no pun intended. That will reduce the chances of break-ins also.
Another statement that deserves a slow clap was what Madhya Pradesh industries minister Kailash Vijayvargiya said in a news report about the Guwahati case: “...Women should dress in such a way that they invoke respect in others. Unfortunately women are dressing provocatively, which is leading to deviation in society.” So not long from now, maybe bars too will have detailed dress codes for patrons to adhere to The inability to focus on the real problem is a special ability in this country.
If just the sight of skirts and sleeveless tops are disturbing some men so much, certain Khajuraho temples that visually showcase erotica in the very state that Mr Vijayvargiya is from, should be afraid of demolition men lining up any day now. No offense, but imagine what those sculptures have been putting those poor men through! It’s not the sanest comparison to make, but then sanity doesn’t seem to be the criteria here. “Dress to invoke respect in others.” Sure. So how does one do that? The attire will obviously have to be in accord with this equivocal Indian culture of ours, which few can define. Saris and burqas maybe in order. Of course, we’re meant to believe that women covered from head to toe never get attacked.
What would help in this case is the existence of a cultural guide of sorts. A detailed book, a website, helpline or even an Android app would do. Then at least women will be able to gauge the chances of getting into trouble on a random night out. And while we’re being instructed on what to wear, mind passing us some freedom along with the fries please?