Friday, 3 February 2012

Chains of perception!

By Sumitro Chatterjee, Corporate lawyer and a true Delhi boy.
While I was standing outside my office smoking the last cigarette of the day, I saw 2 very aggravated young men fighting with the guard outside my Bombay office. The reason was 'simple': how can some women stand outside on the streets and smoke. They should be taken inside the office premises. This was against their 'cultural' and 'ethical, standards. Obviously, they were MNS goons whose headquarter was right next to our office building. This was quiet shocking for me not because some guys used the garb of morality to demean woman, but more so because this was happening in Bombay, the city of free. I had stayed in this truly cosmopolitan city for more than 2 years and saw the freedom that this city gave to the modern woman. My shock was then turned into laughter and then intense anger. The situation soon turned ugly with more and more men joining the ranks, demanding that "it is not only morally wrong but also 'dangerous' for woman to smoke outside the office premises." After I shifted base back to Delhi, was retelling this incident to some of my colleagues and as expected everyone was very angry at the state of affairs except one woman who said that men who acted like moral police were wrong but the women should be responsible enough not to put themselves in a position where they are vulnerable. I argued that Bombay is a safe city and its not like Delhi, where a burkha clad woman can also be challenged. She, however was adamant that even one incident can ruin a girls life and this is India after all.

This is a perfect example of where we as society are going, in the vanity of our progression, the very urban is actually very constrained in their thoughts. We like to believe that most of us are a perfect mix of the Indian traditional and the western modern.

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