Skip to main content

Would cops ever care to agree? Eve teasing isn't (and wasn't) always a case of mistaken identity

By Rajiv Shah
Recently, there was some controversy (storm in a teacup?) around a photograph. A photo went viral on the social media following an unemployed youth demonstration in Lucknow, picked up by several Facebook and Twitter enthusiasts, including journalist Rohini Singh, who claimed in a tweet it was a clear case of sexual harassment of a female demonstrator at the hands of a UP cop. 
I couldn’t find the tweet, which I believe she must have deleted following a UP police “clarification” that, “since the crowd was huge, it was difficult to distinguish between the genders on the basis of their attire”, hence, by mistake, “the female protestor was taken away by the police personnel, after mistaking her for a man.” It added, “Even the female protestor has acknowledged the misunderstanding caused over the attire.”
A video simultaneously went viral where the female protestor is seen stating that she was indeed a protester near Gate No 1 of Lucknow University, but the cops mistook her “for a boy” due to her dress, hence the talk of “sexual harassment at the hands of the police personnel” does not stand. She targeted Rohini Singh for the tweet. Some commentators on the UP police “clarification”, carried on its twitter handle, suspected that the protesting girl must have given her denial “under duress”.
While the alleged sexual harassment took place on September 17, and the UP police clarification came on the next day, a concerned academic, who has authored several interesting blogs, which we published in Counterview, sent me a WhatsApp message a couple of days later, attaching the photograph, stating, “Hi Rajiv. I'm so upset with this event...”, adding, “If the present generation handles the future generation like this.... the situation is grave...”
The message, which was also shared as a “friends of friends” post on Facebook (one reason why I am not revealing this academic’s name), said, “We already moved from Siya-Ram to Shri Ram in the country”, wondering, “Will Sita be even required in this society?”, apparently suggesting how the misogynic atmosphere atmosphere has now gripped Indian society, which perhaps may not have been the case earlier.
While this academic insisted that the parents should start teaching “boys empathy and equality and when will men learn to behave like men...”, adding there should be “nationwide” condemnation with “necessary legal action on the police”, even as appealing to “friends” -- officials, activists, mediapersons and in those politics -- to take up women dignity as a priority, there was indeed nothing to disagree except one fact: That today the “present generation” is handling “future generation” like this.
Maybe the cop concerned acted the way he did because of the mistaken identity (or did the girl give the statement under duress?), yet, the fact is, it’s not a generational issue at all. Misogyny that prevails today existed in full force, at least in Delhi, where I spent all most of my early life. Travelling in a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus, I remember, it was a norm when women, especially young college going girls, were teased. I personally saw this happening, with goons going so far as to pinch breast. Using abusive language was a normal.
While nobody ever protested for fear of being beaten up, I recall how once when we, as members of the left-wing All-India Students’ Federation (AISF), were travelling in a DTC bus, the eve teasers were confronted and silenced. We were all boys, except for for one – Amarjeet Kaur, who happened to be our leader. She was sitting while we all, standing next to her, were listening to what she had say about our activities.
Suddenly, a group entered the bus, and one one them said, “Hamse bhi kucch bate kar lo jee” (talk to us as well, my dear), and Amarjeet shouted at them: “Come here, I will teach you a lesson of your lifetime.” The eve teasers saw something may have gone wrong, jumped off the bus on the next stop. Amarjeet today is general secretary, All-India Trade Union Congress.
In another event, a classmates in BA (Hons) English, told us what happened when she was sitting alone in a University Special (they were called U-Specials, they were all DTC buses carrying students to the university and back).
The girl, usually quiet and sober, said, “Since the U-special had parked, I though of taking the best of the seat in the front row. Other students were yet to turn up. Suddenly, a young hatta-katta youth entered the U-special, took the seat next to me. He had a chana wrapped in paper in his hand, and tried teasing me: ‘Have some chana, my dear’. I decided to tell him who I was, took my brother’s name, who is a student leader. And this person quietly slipped out.”
I told this academic, who agreed with me, that the situation was and appears to have remained the same as far as eve teasing is concerned, except for one difference: That there is a lot of awareness today, which was the case those days. There was, in fact, lot of indifference towards eve teasing. Such movements like #MeToo and social media campaigns against misogyny have seem to have changed things. The UP police denial following tweets on the young girl a proof.
Let me add this as a post-script: I found, those days, and perhaps today too, eve teasing was common in Delhi (and perhaps other North Indian cities) as compared to Gujarat, where I haven’t found it happening on that scale. Someone must do some sociological analysis about the reason. Is is because most of the schools (and many colleges, too) in Delhi were only for boys and only for girls, which isn’t (and wasn’t) the case in Ahmedabad, where coeducation is a norm?

Comments

TRENDING

Eco Ganesha made from water hyacythns, a most noxious invasive aquatic weed

Elsie Gabriel, founder, Young Environmentalists Programme Trust, and national coordinator, Oceans Climate Reality Project India, has come up with Eco Ganesha, made from recycled water hyacinths and silt from Powai Lake. She presented it to Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar on September 7 at Powai lake:

Diaspora protest as Biden failed to publicly address persecution of minorities in India

As Modi addressed UN, human rights groups decried “monstrosity” of persecution of Muslims, Christians, Dalits, and other minorities in India. Demonstrators gathered outside UN to protest fascism, hate campaigns, weaponized rape, apartheid, lynchings, unlawful arrests, attacks on the media, and other abuses in India: A report distributed by the diaspora group Hindus for Human Rights: *** While observers said it was “shameful” that President Biden failed to publicly address widespread persecution of religious minorities in India when he met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 24, more than 100 members of interfaith and human rights groups spoke out as Modi addressed the United Nations General Assembly. Speakers condemned the egregious human rights violations and murders of religious minorities in India under a government that openly supports Hindu supremacy. The rally was sponsored by 21 organizations, including Ambedkar International Center, Ambedkar King S

In the land of the Buddha, why are there so few Buddhists? Did they convert to Islam?

Sonali Ranade, a trader and columnist, who is a prolific tweeter , in a recent blog "How did India’s Buddhists disappear? In the land of the Buddha, why are there so few Buddhists?" suggests that most of the Muslims who converted to Islam in South Asia were Buddhists and they did it mostly out of self-volition. Read on: *** It wasn’t until college, that it dawned on me that I had never met a Buddhist in my life. I could count quite a few Jains [hawt property for Gujju girls] at college, Muslims a plenty; the Navy, on whose bases I grew up, was chockfull of Sikhs; many Christians at school including a English literature teacher who I think was a recreant Pope in hiding; and not to forget my bestie, a blue-blood Parsi, whacky as they come, [she masquerades as an architect these days, and I always wonder why her buildings don’t collapse laughing at her colorful Hindi]; but no Buddhists. Puzzled, I asked the Pater, usually my go-to walking encyclopedia, but he was stumped. Or a

Post-Stalin Netaji advised Soviets, had facial surgery, met Lal Bhadur in Tashkent!

In an curious Facebook post "What happened to Netaji?", former editor of the Times of India, Ahmedabad, Kingshuk Nag, who later took over the Hyderabad edition of TOI as editor, has asserted that not only did Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose didn't die in a plane crash, he went to the Soviet Union, where he served as adviser of the Soviet leaders during the post-Stalin phase. One who has authored a Netaji book , he makes another astonishing "revelation": that Netaji, it is believed, had undergone face surgery "to change his appearance", and is "supposed to have met Indian PM Lal Bahadur Shastri when he went to Tashkent in 1966." Was Netaji so meek? One doesn't know... Anyway, read the FB post : *** Today is purportedly the day that Netaji died in an air crash in Taiwan in 1945. An elaborate theory of his death and the fact that his ashes were stored in Renkoji temple was created. By all accounts this is fiction. Netaji disappeared into Soviet

Critique of Hindutva does not constitute an attack on Hinduism, nor is it Hinduphobia

Organised with the active support of Indian diaspora in US, a series of virtual conferences, Dismantling Global Hindutva, have been held in order to "analyze and educate" the public as to how Hindutva is destroying India, undermining syncretic nature of Hinduism and the country's secular and democratic traditions.

Jinnah's claim: He never wanted Pakistan, wished if he could return to Bombay

In an account of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, termed "amazing but true", Ramkrishna Dalmia reveals Jinnah’s claimed love for Indian heritage and his beloved city Bombay (now Mumbai). Read it to comprehend a different aspect of his life... The account first appeared on Facebook timeline of Christi A Ali, and has been shared by many. *** “Look here, I never wanted Pakistan! It was forced upon me by Sardar Patel. And now they want me to eat the humble pie and raise my hands in defeat.” Jinnah to his closest friend Ramkrishna Dalmia to whom he (Jinnah) sold his marvelous Delhi house for Rs.3 lacs before partition. Jinnah chose his friend Ramkrishna Dalmia over others, a Jain, no-onion; no-garlic; a sprinkler of Ganga jal if a Muslim entered the home type of Hindu. The house was later sold to the Dutch Embassy as Nehru had issues with Mr.Dalmia. Nehru ensured that Mr.Dalmia would later be jailed. Jinnah never wanted Pakistan and even accepted Cabinet Mission Plan in July, 1946 to form

An international phenomenon, crackdown on media now part of Ukrainian policy

An article released by the Independent Media Institute points to how Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is using the ‘Kremlin excuse’ to ban media that doesn’t always agree with him. Authored by David C Speedie , the article has been produced by Globetrotter in partnership with the American Committee for US-Russia Accord : *** On the eve of his meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on September 1, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pulled the plug on the opposition news outlet Strana.ua and imposed sanctions on its editor-in-chief . This is not the first time Zelensky has cracked down on opposition media. Earlier this year Zelenksy banned three of his country’s television news stations—NewsOne, 112 and ZIK—accusing them of peddling “Kremlin-funded propaganda.” A veteran of the broadcast media himself [he was previously a comedian], Zelensky’s action may perhaps be seen at first glance as largely symbolic. It is, in fact, both inflammatory and short-sighted. First, it should

What caused Kandhamal violence in 2007-08? Expert, Dalit leader react to new docu-film

Well-known film maker KP Sasi has released a new 95-minute documentary  "Voices From the Ruins - Kandhamal In Search of Justice", which seeks to graphically describe how in Kandhamal district of Orissa, mainly inhabited by Adivasis and Dalits, among them a large population are Christians, witnessed its biggest violence on the Adivasi Christians and Dalit Christians in 2008. Based on interviews with the survivors of Kandhamal violence, who are still struggling against the improper compensation, improper rehabilitation and improper justice delivery systems, the film brings out the concerns of the survivors, through their own voices as well concerned sections, analysing the historical roots of violence, the impact of violence on various sections of the communities and the struggle for justice by the survivors of Kandhamal violence. Released on the anniversary of the violence (August 28), while Sasi has sought the documentary, already available on YouTube, widest circulation thr

UN Food Systems Summit paved the way for greater control of big corporations

In a sharp critique of the  UN Food Systems Summit, a statement released by the People's Coalition on Food Sovereignty, a global network of NGOs, has accused UN meet of being steered by big corporations, even as the Global South was pushed back. *** The Global People’s Summit (GPS) on Food Systems slammed the recently concluded UN Food Systems Summit (UN FSS) for paving the way for greater control of big corporations over global food systems and misleading the people through corporate-led false solutions to hunger and climate change. “It was just as we expected. While branding itself as the ‘People’s Summit’ and even the ‘Solutions Summit,’ the UN FSS did not listen to the voices of marginalized rural peoples, nor forward real solutions to the food, biodiversity and climate crises. Instead, it let powerful nations and big corporations play an even bigger role in determining food and agricultural policies. The UN has finally made it clear what ‘multilateralism’ is all about—paying l

Forthcoming book explodes Western myth: Personal qualities are biologically inherited

Jonathan Latham, PhD, Executive Director, The Bioscience Resource Project, New York, has said in an email alert via JanVikalp that his forthcoming book about genetics and genetic determinism, provisionally titled "The Myth of The Master Molecule: DNA and the Social Order" criticises the notion that personal qualities are biologically inherited: *** The contention of the book is that the key organising principle of Western thought is the seemingly innocuous and seemingly simple idea that our personal qualities are biologically inherited. That is, our character derives from our ancestors rather than being an always-adapting product of our own experiences, decisions, and education. The book makes the case, first, that genetic determinism is a scientific fallacy. Organisms are self-organised systems and therefore are not genetically determined. Second, the explanation for the myth, which predates Mesopotamian cities of 6,000 years ago, is its utility. Genetic determinism rationa