Anti-Romeo Squad – A Protective Act or a Restriction of Freedom

From the time the Modi government came into power, I have been a sceptic, completely sure that this government will not make a difference in people’s lives. It will be the same circle of false promises, hopes shattered and disappointment. I still am a sceptic, waiting and watching to see if the government lives up to the people’s trust.

One of the latest moves by the government that has people(especially the young people) scared and worried is the Anti-Romeo Squad started in U.P. We are automatically worried and concerned that it is a garb for harassing couples. I completely empathize with people’s concerns and worries. After all, we have had experiences of policemen harassing couples under the pretext of protecting women.

However, in this case, I feel things may be slightly different. From whatever I have read – the Anti Romeo Squad isn’t created to prevent interactions between girls and boys. I know that when we look at Yogi Adityanath, we perceive the kind of person who wants to take India back to the dark ages. But somehow, I beg to differ in this case. I may turn out to be wrong, but from what I have seen of his actions, his decisions after becoming CM have been based on the right thought process.

The Anti-Romeo Squad has been created with the thought process of making the cities safer for women. The thought behind it is a good and positive one. Yes, when I read up about the Anti-Romeo Squad, I did come across incidents where innocent young boys were harassed or young couples were troubled. However, there was one big difference that I noticed. Immediate action was taken against the police officers who harassed consenting couples or group of friends of mixed gender who were together. The officers were suspended. So, eventually this might turn out to be the step that will make U.P a safer place for women. We should give it a chance. Also, the squad has one male and one female officer, another difference from the past.

Now the important question asked in this topic. Should we stop the intermingling between boys and girls? Definitely not. We should encourage boys and girls to have healthy relationships based on respect and understanding. We should teach them to treat each other as people and not look at each other as members of the opposite gender.

A lot of the times, no make that all the time, children learn by following our actions, not by what we preach to them. How many men make sexist remarks about girls or women in the presence of their sons – making comments on their physical aspects, the clothes they wear or even their driving skills. If you preach to your son that he should respect women as individuals but behave in the opposite way, what do you expect him to learn? Similarly, if you teach your daughter to dress modestly, to behave in a certain way when going out with guys, you are drilling it into her that she is responsible for ensuring no guy treats her in the wrong way. We need to teach our boys that women have the right to dress the way they want to and if a woman is drinking at a party or if she has many guy friends, she is not a woman that they can play with.

Once again, children follow by example, not by preaching. So, if we want to have a healthy intermingling of young people from opposite genders, we need to practice what we preach and treat men and women(boys and girls) to see each other as people and individuals, not as someone from the opposite gender.

This post is written for the Indiblogger Indispire topic # 166

 

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The Death of Freedom!

India has completed 68 years of independence. But what does this independence really mean? I don’t see any freedom around me at all.

Whenever a girl is harassed by men on the road, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever a couple is killed by their own families for falling in love, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see moral police beating up lovers for celebrating Valentine’s Day, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see police arresting adults who are staying together in a hotel legally, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see someone insulting me on a personal level because I don’t agree with the actions of the leader of the country, I see the death of freedom.

When I see crores of money being pumped into cleaning the River Ganga while the pollution of the river continues simultaneously, I see the death of the freedom.

Whenever I see a student with poor marks getting that coveted engineering seat on the basis of being from a backward class instead of the student with top marks, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see rapists roaming around scotfree while the victim breathes her last in a hospital, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I read about someone being killed because of Road rage, I see the death of freedom!

Whenever I see people ignoring an accident victim lying on the road, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see people telling a girl to not to roam about at night or to dress properly when a guy molests her, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see people keeping their house spotless but dirtying the streets without any qualms, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever my government decides for me what I can or cannot eat, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see a girl supporting the archaic rules meant for the subjugation of women, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see a woman getting her son married for the second time because her daughter-in-law dared to give birth to a daughter instead of a son, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see a bridegroom and his family walking out of the wedding because the dowry was not upto their standards, I see the death of freedom.

Whenever I see people bathing lifeless statues in temples in litres and litres of milk while so many starving people exist in the country, I see the death of freedom.

This is not #RealIndependence and this is not the India of my dreams or of the people who want to see progress, prosperity and happiness for their country.

A Letter to Mr. Modi

Dear Mr. Modi,

For several months before the election, I was in a constant fight with people I know, my near and dear ones about how I didn’t see you as the right candidate for the Prime Minister’s seat. I was called a pessimist, an AAPtard, a traitor of the country and what not. It came very close to many relationships being destroyed where both and the opposite party and I would back off, the only thing saving the relationship was that we mattered to each other. You won the elections and became the Prime Minister much to the distress of me and many like me, while the people I had been fighting were rejoicing. They were sure ‘Achche Din Aa Gaye”. Slowly, the days passed and I didn’t see anything happening to make a positive difference. You appointed Smriti Irani as Education Minister, though she isn’t even a graduate. I opposed the move and was called all sorts of names from a snob to someone who thought too much of herself. Chalo, fair enough – you thought she was the right candidate for heading the Education Ministry. Can I ask you a question? Why is Graduation the minimum qualification for people reporting to her? Let them be 10th pass or 12th pass. They can also be capable enough without being graduates, right?

Since you have come to power, I have only seen issues that are non-issues being discussed, Hindutva, Hindi language to be enforced everywhere and Hindi language in social media. Delhi, the capital of India was reeling under power cuts. And when we pointed this out, we were told by Modi supporters that he is looking for permanent measures, not temporary solutions. I would love to know what those permanent measures are. You were off on a friendly meet with Bhutan. Foreign relations are important, but weren’t there were important issues that were facing our country? The frequency of rapes are increasing everyday and I see no action being taken. I know results will not be immediate. But I see you and your ministers concentrating more on issues like Hindi language and how you can increase the prices. How about making changes in laws to prevent crimes? Isn’t that more important than an international relationship? A railway fire hike of 14.2% was announced yesterday, auto and taxi fares are going to be increased soon, diesel prices are going to be hiked. Are these the Achche Din that my near and dear ones were fighting with me for? At every step, we have Autorickshaw drivers harassing passengers – refusal to drive short distances, rash driving, misbehaviour with passengers, overcharging. Have you taken a look at the number of complaints lying with the RTO’s? I am sure even the RTOs don’t look at the complaints, After all, on a daily basis, I see them turning a blind eye to the antics of Auto and taxi drivers with my own eyes. I have seen them turning a blind eye when a pregnant woman asked them for help getting a rickshaw when all rickshaw drivers were refusing her. The police officer just looked through her like he had not even heard her. In the last five years, rickshaw fares have almost tripled. But has the service improved? No ji. The rickshawwallas still harass and trouble passengers as much. Why will we feel that they deserve a fare hike?

While you ran for the elections, you said you will rectify all the errors made by the previous parties in power. When you came into power, any mistake happened and you looked for a scapegoat. When the power cuts in Delhi happened, you blamed Arvind Kejriwal for insitigating the people to not pay the electricity bills. Now, when the railway prices are hiked, your supporters are informing me that this bill was already passed by Congress long back and is only being implemented now. If I heard you right, you came into power to bring about a change in the way things are done earlier. You could have stopped the hike. Seeing the conditions of Indian Railways, why would I want to pay even what I am paying now, forget more? In an era when people are preferring to travel by air more and more, even economically it seems a very wrong decision to me. Now, even when there were no summer holidays, I couldn’t get train tickets one month in advance. Then, I opted for air travel. You want to make profits for Indian railways? How about making sure that tickets are not purchased by agents in bulk and sold at higher rates? Because there can be no other reason for tickets not being available one month in advance. I see the people close to me who are supporting you either squirming from inside but putting up a brave front and still believing that Achche din aayenge or they are justifying your actions with silly excuses. Soon their excuses will run out, soon they will no longer be able to turn a blind eye and I will have to see them losing hope in front of my eyes. At that time, will I feel happy that I was proven right? No, I will see people I care about losing hope on one side and I will see the downfall of my country on the other side.

A Disgruntled Citizen

Smriti Irani as HRD Minister

I am rubbing a lot of people the wrong way by wholly protesting the appointment of Smriti Irani as HRD Minister. Whatever people may say, I can’t accept the fact that someone who is just a 12th pass can be appointed as a Cabinet minister. I am being insulted, being called names for my opinion, but I will still not change it. People are giving me examples of Dhirubhai Ambani, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates. Are they serious? They are actually comparing SMRITI IRANI to these people. These are people who came up on their own the hard way. They were not given everything on a platter. If Smriti Irani has to prove herself, let her start from the grass root level, rise up the ladder on her own steam, really earn the Cabinet Minister’s position and then I will respect her, whether she is 12th pass or 10th fail. Neither Modi nor his government or his Cabinet Ministers have the right to expect me to respect them. They have to earn my respect. And who gives me that right? I am the common man, the citizen who works 9 hours a day to pay the taxes which pays their salary. They had better earn it. Till then, I am going to keep doubting, questioning and I will surely not accept the fact that a 12th pass is capable of taking decisions for me or my country in any department.

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge – A beautiful love story or the most regressive movie!

We, especially women, totally fell in love with Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge when we saw it first. I saw the movie many times. Slowly, over the years as I grew up, the movie lost its charm for me and didn’t seem like such a beautiful movie anymore. I started finding the story and romance very cheesy and corny. But, I really got a jolt when BJP said they want to promote this movie as a representative of Indian culture, Every part of me protested against this idea. This is not the depiction of Indian culture that I want the world to see. Let me tell you why.

The movie starts with showing an egoistic husband and father who makes all the decisions in the family, whether wrong or right and a very intelligent wife (probably more than him) who quietly goes along with his decisions, even when she knows they are wrong. Two daughters who hide their real self from this egoistic father and pretend to be what he believes them to be – the traditional bhartiya naari – who starts her day with pooja in the morning. They are not allowed to dream of a future that will make them happy, The father chooses a man for his elder daughter whom she has never seen and she is expected to quietly comply. Forget the fact that she is born in London and the man is from a village in Punjab. Even if he was born and brought up in London, is it possible for a woman to simply go ahead and marry a man she has never seen?

The mother gives a long lecture on how her wishes and desires had been sacrificed for her brothers and father, yet she does the same towards her daughters when it comes to going against her husband for her daughter’s happiness. When the mother comes to know that her daughter has fallen in love with someone, she begs her to give up on her love for the sake of the family peace. They are dragged to a village in Punjab where the two girls immediately transform from the London born miniskirts wearing girls to the Salwar Kameez clad Punjabi girls. A bit difficult to digest!

I have no doubt that the relationship between Raj and Simran is very beautiful which is the saving grace of the movie. He considers her his equal in every aspect and it’s the most natural thing for him to do that. He doesn’t think he is the greatest thing born on earth because of his liberated thinking. Apart from that, the movie only shows how women are lesser than men and how they should kowtow to a man’s wishes and demands. I cringe at the thought of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge being portrayed as the perfect model of Indian culture by a government that’s going to shape our country’s future.

General Elections 2014

With the General Elections 2014 about to start, I hear buzz all around me about who deserves to win and my friends’s circle talking about whom they will vote for. BJP, Congress and AAP are seriously contending each other to win people’s trust. I have always been strongly against BJP because of the anti-social activities of Shiv Sena. Congress did have leaders who could have made a difference to the country, but now we have Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi who is just a puppet. 

     The only problem with Aam Aadmi Party is that they lost their focus somehow. They did seem very promising and for some time, the people of India had a new ray of hope. But I feel we have already given BJP and Congress a chance and the condition of the country is in front of our eyes, 

     I think we should give Aam Aadmi Party a chance. The candidate from my area, Sanjeev Sane has been involved in the Indian freedom struggle. Sane has formed the Citizen Forum at Thane to fight against Property Tax based on Capital Value. Currently he has successfully held the implementation of the new Tax System. He has a good track record and a clean image. 

     Where we have given the other parties a chance for years, we lost hope in Aam Aadmi Party in a few months’ time. Maybe, our hopes were unreasonably high and that led to them not living up to our expectations. I think they should be given a chance. What’s your opinion?