While traveling back and forth to Noida from Delhi, I noticed that beautiful girls of Noida keep their faces hidden. Perhaps I need to correct and say that most females hide their faces while traveling on road, be it motorbikes, auto rickshaws and buses in the Uttar Pradesh’s most modern city. Now, it is not voyeurism on my part, but simple curiosity that makes me question something that is not visible in other Delhi/NCR region cities like Faridabad or Gurgaon and unheard for in Delhi.
Is it the fear of eve-teasing, improper touching or worst that makes the girls wear scarf and clothes that hide their head and face and shows only their eyes? Is it fear, mistrust and the urgency to reach the safety of office or back home before nightfall that in those questioning eyes?
It is easy to criticize the government of the day in U.P. for lack of security or measures that can instill confidence in women; but when we compare it to other places across the country, be it Mumbai – whose ‘safest city for Indian woman’ tag lies in tatters post Shakti Mills
photo journalist rape incident or Delhi, which secured a prominent place in the international hall of shame post the Nirbahya
rape and brutalization are not safe cities either.
Perhaps as a society we need to seriously ponder what is the meaning of advancement and development, when we fail to provide security to one half of our population. Are the police and state set-up good only to provide gun-toting and ‘in-your-face’ security to the politician and their relatives at tax payer’s expense?
The beautiful girls of Noida and other cities who have to resort to face hiding to prevent cat calls and eve teasing are in stark contrast to their cousins in the west; where there is a whole movement like Slutwalk
that stresses on girls independence to dress the way they please and not allow the self-appointed mandarins of society dictate what or how they wear? Something that is hardly imaginable in a country like India, with its self bloated huge ego, despite the token protests and participation in such events by cities like Bangalore.
And do not forget that we are only talking about the so-called modern cities of India, with its educated and forward-looking population and not the interiors of states, where age-old male dominated power structure still exists. The Women Village elders or Sarpanch are but token cosmetic measures that fool no one and extra judicial gatherings of powerful and conservative men in Khap panchayat hold sway.
The real measure of progress in terms of society’s thinking and behavior are amply demonstrated when the chief minister of India’s capital Mrs. Sheila Dikshit herself advises women to reach home before nightfall. What she leaves unspoken is that ‘…else be prepared for the consequences and not blame the government for not providing security.’ To be fair to the aging women politician and her ilk, the police cannot realistically provide round the clock security to every beautiful girl in the city. More so when the men refuse to grow up and remove the shameful tag of sex-starved nation from India.
of the American girl Rose Chasm in India, who was ogled, followed, touched, rubbed, molested in this country, is enough for every right thinking and educated person to hang his head in shame. And if the beautiful girls and not so beautiful girls alike have to constantly commute in fear with their faces hidden – it shows that our so-called progress is fundamentally skewed.
If only we had invested in giving morals to our kids and taught them to respect the girls and women not related to them. If only we had taught them that every women and girl you see on the streets is not there to be stared and visually raped then perhaps beautiful girls would not have to hide their faces in noida or other cities and we could truly be a modern nation that gives and deserves respect.