Musings

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My India

For many years I've made important decisions in my life with a single aim in mind - to get out of India. While many have turned their noses up at me, judging me as they support me, others have vociferously stood up for their country. I've faced criticism and am often called a traitor. But when the reason behind my actions are finally questioned, friends and family have invariably taken a step back and agreed with me.

Let me begin by saying that I am, and will always be, an Indian. I am proud to say so and I do my part as a citizen of a country I love. I follow rules, I do not break the law, I exercise my right to vote, I encourage friends abroad to visit and see what the country has to offer. I was born and brought up here and India is ingrained in me. The country is perfect, but the people are not. Civic sense is unknown and if I begin to pick on each and every offence that I see committed in a single day here, I could go on for pages.

Politicians are the self proclaimed moral police in this country. Their vote bank lies in the rural masses. Urban India is a small proportion of their votes and they preach conservativeness. An uproar in the media and in big cities is fleeting. Tomorrow everything is forgotten and the same people who encourage molestation of women are at the seat of power.

How, then, can a woman feel free in this country? Can she walk down a busy street and not have a man sing vulgar songs at her as she passes by? Can she dress as she would feel comfortable? Even a pair of jeans and a sleeveless t-shirt is enough to draw stares. I've been eve teased in a crowded DTC bus in a modest salwar kameez. I'm often told that Delhi is an unsafe city for women and Mumbai is the place to be. I beg to differ. In the 7 months I spent in Mumbai I was harrassed on several occassions - in the Mumbai local train, walking in Churchgate station, sitting in an auto rickshaw in Malad, walking on Marine Drive. My younger sister visited me for 10 days and was a victim too.

Why should I want to live in a country where the people are not proud of who they are? Can you respect a woman as an equal, someone who has the right to do as she pleases? Can you refrain from crossing the yellow line on the road when stuck in heavy traffic? If you break a rule and are caught, do you have the guts to accept your mistake and pay your dues or would you prefer to slink away with a bribe? Give me a reason to live in a country where I fear rape, physical assault and criticism if I choose to walk into a pub in a pair of shorts and order myself a Cosmopolitan?

18 Comments:

  • At 9:59 PM , Blogger $C@RECROW said...

    Though I respect one's decision to leave India, I must say that the reason you sight is that of an escapist's. I do not mean to counter argue your point of view. Instead, I merely want to put forward my views on the matter. As far as I know, there is no country in the world where all the citizens have a perfect civic sense. In US, the same eve teasing is perceived as a compliment by the native females. Further, if we, the people on top of the social hierarchy in India, don't try to correct the situation, and instead think of leaving the country, how exactly is the situation going to improve? What is needed is greater attention and drastic improvement in the education system in India, because that is where people obtain most of their initial social etiquette. At times merely fulfilling civic duties is not enough. One has to think and do beyond it. And it wont be done if everyone who is in a position to change, thinks of leaving the country becuase they dont like certain aspects of the society.

     
  • At 12:31 AM , Blogger Tanu Anand said...

    i am so glad you finally wrote a post! have been waiting! :)...

    well...firstly i soo soo agreee with you prerna.. I want to get out of the country for the exact same reason and noone should have any questions or stares at that coz believe me secretly everyone wants a house in NY and a job in US of A!!!

    and to top it up! i am an indian but i hate the people who rule it!

     
  • At 12:37 AM , Blogger Prerna said...

    @ scarecrow: i cannot believe that you believe that eve teasing is acceptable by women anywhere in this world. what you classify as eve teasing in the US, is actually what is known as flirting. and i, by no means, am shirking my duty as a citizen of this country. but i urge you to put yourself in a woman's shoes (louboutins, if you please!) and rethink your opinion on my views.

    @ tanu: thanks love! i've been itching to write again. lots has been happening in my life and will make sure i update my blog on a regular basis.

     
  • At 1:22 AM , Anonymous Bravyh said...

    @scarecrow... you've got to be out of ur mind.. i hope u r getting ur facts right. Or let me put it this way, i guess u don't have a female member in ur family (i.e. in case u have one) at all, that's why u can never understand the situation at all... anyways, it's pointless and futile from my part trying to tell you.

    @prerna - totally agree with you. guess what, i also share same opinions with u and traveling around the world more has only strengthened that belief. me also want to get out asap...

     
  • At 2:40 AM , Blogger Achal said...

    Go Ahead, Prerna. We will make the country better and then you can come back. There is hope. :)

    Do the PhD on the way.

     
  • At 3:54 AM , Blogger Tarun said...

    Agreed...

    But going out of the Country merely because of this reason... Is it going to help??

    If yes, ok for you... what ab others??

    May be I cant think of this prob as you can... but I am sure this has to be tackled at mass level...

     
  • At 4:00 AM , Blogger Prerna said...

    @ bravyh: thanks for the support. though i wish i knew who you are!

    @ achal: apart from other things, PhD isdefinitely on the cards. i'm all set. ;)

    @ tarun: apart from looking at the situation fronm a woman's perspective, mobilizing masses for such an issue is impossible when the very people in power are waiting to prevent it. in any case, a mere 1% of the population of the country can hardly be termed as "masses". in fact, several educated and well-to-do people still don't believe in women's lib. sanjay dutt is a recent example.

     
  • At 6:05 PM , Blogger divyanka said...

    I had been thinking of writing about this very same issue and its heartening to see that I am not alone...I am here in the US and let me tell you...I miss India...I miss every little bit of it and I want to go back...but then I shudder at the thought of losing the one most important thing this country gives me...freedom!!!...the freedom to walk with your head held high without having to worry about ruffians and their "snide" remarks,the freedom to drive back home at 2 in the night without having a male escort,the freedom to celebrate life in any which way I deem fit without having self proclaimed moral police to supposedly "mend" my ways...and as far as spearheading a change in India is concerned...women will think twice before risking their lives and dignity over freedom...god forbid if some sena finds their activities too radical...it does not take a genius to guess what the consequences might be!

     
  • At 12:11 PM , Blogger Daedalus said...

    Great post.

     
  • At 1:17 AM , Blogger Rohit Anand said...

    hmmmm.. true.. but then if all the sane people leave, what will happen to the country?

     
  • At 10:27 PM , Blogger Nitesh said...

    guess everything's right and everything's wrong when seen in different perspectives! so i guess best is to do what you want to do rather than thinking about all this when we (atleast me :P ) are anyways not going to do anything about it...there's this dialogue in some movie na..."mere mann ko bhaaya, mai kutta kaat ke khaaya" :D

     
  • At 1:51 PM , Blogger Juhi said...

    There was a survey in Bangalore where women from all over the country were asked to send in the clothes in which they were eve teased...And around 90% of the clothes were traditional Indian salwar kameez! Being a girl,I totally understand ur viewpoint and I also understand that we,as females,have two options in front of us-EITHER to find some peaceful place where u can BE URSELF and live the rest of ur life peacefully OR to live here and FIGHT BACK! There is no fault in either.To each his(in this case,her)own.You choose the former,I choose the latter!
    CHEERS! :)
    Try going thru my blog in case you get time! Happy Blogging!

     
  • At 7:46 PM , Blogger ranjeet said...

    nice

     
  • At 1:50 AM , Blogger Sharad Sharma said...

    ah this is one of my favorite topics
    when I start talking on this , I go long so I will start with a disclaimer :
    I respect your views totally and I just wish to present mine here. :)

    Yes, so I completely agree with the problems you have pointed out about our country :

    1) Security for women : Yes,some of the Indian cities are sadly plagued by this condemnable problem but surely , not all of the 26 states ( I am never sure of number somehow :) ). So if you consider changing your country altogether , you can also consider moving between states.

    Have a look at this :
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_rap_percap-crime-rapes-per-capita

    India ranks a modest 56 in terms of per-capita rapes. Your probable destinations : US(9) , UK , Canada , Australia are all higher.

    And been to the US ever? Visit a bar there? Wear whatever and I bet you will be hit upon by drunkards all night.Now if that is OK , then great but consider the respect for women and India would rank better than countries ( You, of course have to ignore a bunch of retards.. trust me, they are present everywhere.It is just that perception changes.It is called hitting upon/flirting in the west)

    2) Civic Sense : Again , could not agree more that most of the people lack civic sense in India but sadly,they are also hypocrites. The moment they land in Singapore,they will not litter the place from there on and when they land back in Mumbai, they throw the wafer packets out of the car window.Cleanliness you see.
    Have you never littered the Indian roads? Take a bow , if you have not.
    And if there is some problem with the people of India,don't you and I form that very group?
    and if we run away from a problem,who will solve it?
    Koshish to karo,badlega India :)

    3) Corruption : There I agree with you.India is not the most corrupt country in the world but certainly up there with the best at the art,sadly.

    Anyway,hope you take a good decision.
    Have a good life.

    Best Wishes,
    Sharad Sharma

     
  • At 9:05 PM , Anonymous Sourabh said...

    Your decision to leave India is perfect. It is good for your well being and career prospect that you may pursue abraod and not in India.

    Again at the same time your reasons specific to lack of certain order or ethics for leaving India are unreal, rude, arrogant and smell an escapist. If you belong to this country then you should respond to the situation as you should. If not then you are promoting the eve-teasers to continue doing it. Believing within your self that you are at the receiving end and can not do anything about the situation will not uprise you from your own mental preceptions and lead to addition of trauma.

    Well who does not want a better life? So, lets work hard to get a position abroad. Why to blame the ashes where from we are raised.

     
  • At 2:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    all this is fine! but do u like it anywhere?

     
  • At 11:02 AM , Anonymous Dev said...

    First time I am coming across someone who admits leaving India as she didn't like the place. But to each, his/her own. As an alum from the same B-school, but having spent most of my pre-B-school career outside India, I'd like to hear what you say within a few months from now. I am outside India too, to earn more money. And everytime I go back home, I try changing some ugly bits in my own little ways.

     
  • At 3:55 PM , Anonymous オテモヤン said...

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