New study warns 9.0 magnitude earthquakes could strike off coasts of Pakistan, Iran, and India #MUSTSHARE


 

Charu Sudan Kasturi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 15, 2013

First Published: 00:51 IST(15/5/2013) | Last Updated: 00:54 IST(15/5/2013)

India’s west coast is far more vulnerable to monster earthquakes and tsunamis than believed till now, scientists have said in dramatic new findings that could force a rethink on the country’s preparedness for natural disasters on a coastline that hosts its biggest nuclear reactor.

Undersea earthquakes as strong as the 2004 Sumatra temblor that spawned a tsunami killing over 220,000 could also strike under the Arabian Sea, off the coast of Pakistan and Iran, striking those countries, India, Oman and further inland, a team of British and Canadian scientists has said.

India’s Arabian Sea coast is home to the 1400 MW Tarapur Power Station near Mumbai, India’s largest operational nuclear plant that in 2011 was also identified by a government expert panel as the least prepared of the country’s atomic power complexes to handle a scenario like the one at Fukushima in Japan in 2011.

The country is also in the process of setting up a 10,000 MW nuclear power complex at Jaitapur that has faced local opposition.

But though the subduction zone – where tectonic plates meet – to India’s west, near Makran along the Pakistan-Iran border is closer to India than the one to the east that was the epicentre of the 2004 tremors, the Arabian Sea has long been considered less vulnerable to large earthquakes and tsunamis.

Unlike the Pacific Ocean and the eastern Indian Ocean, where giant undersea earthquakes are common, the Makran region has been largely quiet after a 7.3 magnitude tremor in 1947.

That view may be dangerously complacent and incorrect, scientists at the University of Southampton, UK and the Canadian government’s Pacific Geoscience Centre have suggested in their research, published in reputed journal Geophysical Research Letters.

“The Makran subduction zone is potentially capable of producing major earthquakes, up to magnitude 8.7-9.2,” Gemma Smith, lead author and PhD student at Southampton said. “Past assumptions may have significantly underestimated the earthquake and tsunami hazard in this region.”

In 2004, an earthquake of magnitude 9 off the Indonesian coast triggered giant tsunami waves that reached as far as Africa, killing over 12,000 and forcing over 640,000 Indians to flee their homes according to government figures.

The tsunami waves devastated Indonesia, swept away locals and tourists on the pristine beaches of Thailand and Sri Lanka, and claimed lives as far away as Yemen, Somalia and South Africa. The Madras Atomic Power Station in Kalpakkam, on India’s eastern, Tamil Nadu coast, was partially flooded.

After the 2011 earthquake off the coast of Japan and the resulting tsunami that led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the worst nuclear incident since Chernobyl in 1986, India’s sole nuclear operator, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) conducted a safety audit of the country’s nuclear facilities.

The experts on the probe panel concluded that 18 of India’s 20 working nuclear reactors were capable of handling a Fukushima-like crisis – power outage stopping the plant’s cooling facilities and simultaneous flooding from sea water.

But the team found two reactors at Tarapur – first introduced in 1963 – that work on the same principles as the Fukushima reactors vulnerable to tsunami waves and large tremors.

#India- Caste discrimination, apathy leading to suicides on campus


, TNN | Mar 29, 2013,

HYDERABAD: P Raju, the dalit student who killed himself on March 19 at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) feared he would not be allowed to attend classes in the coming semester due to three backlogs and sank into depression.But Raju didn’t know that he had secured a ‘B’ grade in the Linguistics paper, making him eligible to continue his fifth semester, as authorities did not bother to announce his results until he hanged himself from the ceiling fan, after making a futile trip to the office of the controller of examination to know his fate.

Raju’s story is not an isolated case, it is in fact indicative of a bigger failure of universities in communicating certain matters of relevance to the students who are already reeling under caste discrimination, either real or perceived.

Among the nine suicides from university campuses in the past one year, seven belonged to SC/ST/OBC communities, and one to a minority community.

In another case, Senthil Kumar, a dalit PhD scholar of the School of Physics, UoH, had committed suicide in 2008 as he was not told that he was eligible for scholarship in the coming semester, despite clearing his course work examinations, a senior faculty member of the university said.

Academics said the trend indicates incapability of institutions to understand the pressing problems of students with poor socio-economic background.

Ignored by school, college and university managements, students coming from less privileged backgrounds are at a higher risk of committing suicide in hostile or unreceptive academic set-ups, assert counsellors and human rights groups.

A fact-finding report submitted as part of an internal investigation after the suicide of Senthil Kumar found that “most students affected by the inconsistencies and ambiguities in procedures (academic and administrative) were SC/ST students, leading to the building up of a perception of discrimination among students belonging to these communities.”

The report goes on to recommend confidence-building measures and transparent procedures to integrate such students into the academic system, which is not in place now.

In a more recent study conducted by Insight Foundation, New Delhi, it was found that four from Hyderabad were in a list of 19 suicides committed by SC/ST students of various institutions in the country, owing to caste discrimination during the past five years.

Activists say that most campuses which earlier had majority of students from effluent backgrounds have an increasing number of students from poor socio-economic backgrounds.

“On one hand, the government has recognized the importance of supporting and nurturing groups that were hitherto excluded from educational opportunities through scholarship schemes for SC/ST students and for minorities. On the other hand, this is not matched by a corresponding overhauling of existing institutional cultures,” an article by faculty members of English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Asma Rasheed, K. Satyanarayana and Uma Bhrugubanda said.

 

Seeking Solidarity for Justice for Mudasir Kamran #mustshare


Chalo EFLU.jpg

We, the students of The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, seek your support and solidarity in our struggle for justice for Mudasir Kamran, a PhD scholar, who died on March 02, 2013. We are dismayed at the insensitivity with which the University administration has handled the situations that led up to Mudasir’s tragic death, labeled as suicide, and the events that unfolded in its aftermath.

It is deplorable that our Vice Chancellor, instead of acknowledging the failure of the system and addressing the apprehensions of the students by taking corrective steps that ensure justice, has been resorting to coercive tactics and trying to threaten the students with police action if they do not call off their strike.

Mudasir Kamran, a Kashmiri Muslim PhD student in EFL University, Hyderabad, hanged himself on the night of 2nd March in his room. The night before, he had been detained at the Osmania Police station under the explicit directives of the university Proctor, who was responding to an altercation between Mudasir and his friend. We urge you to take note of the serious humiliation inflicted on Mudasir by the Proctor’s decision to invite police intervention and by his derogatory comments on Mudasir’s mental health.

The Proctor’s inability to deal with a conflict between two students—a matter that should have been limited to the aegis of the University, a University that is determined by its own set and sequence of protocols in addition to the guidelines of the UGC—and his active role in allowing the said conflict to escalate to the level of a police complaint and detention of Mudasir at the police station cannot be overlooked. The University administration seems to be trying to cover up the questionable statements made by the Proctor and his insensitive conduct.

The University’s malicious attempt to conceal facts and spread canards about Mudasir has been exposed by the newspapers. In a report on March 14, 2013 in Times of India, it is claimed that Mudasir Kamran wrote three complaints to the Proctor between February 4 and 15, 2013, where he even makes reference to explicit threats to his life from some other students. This shows that there is more than mere negligence on the part of the University administration. By willfully suppressing this fact, the University administration seems to be actively engaged in distortion and character assassination of Mudasir. We also call into question the role of the Hostel authorities in not ensuring Mudasir’s care after he was brought back from the Police Station.

Although an FIR u/S. 306 of IPC is registered against the Proctor (for abetment of suicide) at the Osmania University Police Station, no action has been taken by the police. We believe the administration in collusion with the police has vested interests in concealing structural lapses.  The Vice-Chancellor’s statement to the press as well as the Police press release implicates Mudasir’s sexual orientation as the basis for his violent behavior and his alleged delinquency. However, the Vice-Chancellor, as the head of the university administration has consistently refused to take responsibility for structural shortcomings.

Despite such intimidation and other strategies adopted by the administration that aim at dissociating from and concealing structural inadequacies, we the students have united to form a “Struggle Committee for Justice for Mudasir Kamran”. A group of progressive teachers of EFLU too have come forward (in the name of “Teachers’ Front for Justice and Democracy”) opposing the authoritarian ways of handling the situation.  We have been perseverant in our struggle for justice and we have involved ourselves in different modes of protest – from general strikes in the university to silent protests, dharnas and peace rallies. Our demands have been, and continue to be:

An impartial judicial probe may be initiated:

We believe that under the circumstances, any committee endorsed by the Vice-Chancellor cannot ensure neutrality. Therefore, we demand the institution of an impartial judicial probe. A plea by the Struggle Committee has already been addressed to The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee.

Suspension of the Proctor and the Vice-Chancellor, pending enquiry:

We fear that as Proctor, the concerned person is invested with great authority and power that could influence the neutrality of the proceedings. Given that no such inquiry can be successfully conducted while the Proctor holds his office, we demand that the Proctor is suspended till the completion of the said inquiry.

Also, we take note of the fact that the Vice Chancellor at no point has mentioned the contents of Mudasir’s letter and has in fact at no point mentioned to the Press or in any public statement that the administration was in possession of letters, where Mudasir had  attempted to clarify and defend his own position. Instead, she, as the representative of the university authorities has continued to criminalize Mudasir in the name of homosexuality and uphold the notion that the violence was ensuing from one party.  The Vice Chancellor has not at any point acknowledged that this was a serious problem between two students and that they had failed to accord equal attention and seriousness to both parties.

We fear that the Vice Chancellor in collusion with sections of the faculty and the administration have vested interest in affecting the neutrality of any form of inquiry. It is in view of this that we demand the suspension of the Vice Chancellor, pending inquiry.

A written apology from the University administration to the members of the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad:

 

We would like the University administration to issue an apology to all members of the University for failing to resolve a crisis that was avoidable in the first place. We believe such an apology would be a gesture, not only indicating the administration‘s desire to receive the crisis in the seriousness that it warrants, but also of faith and reassurance to the EFLU community. 

Regarding the compensation, the administration must look into legal precedence set by other universities; for example, the case of Senthil Kumar in the University of Hyderabad:

We would also want the university administration to provide compensation for Mudasir‘s family, a demand that has been turned down citing GOI limitations. The conventional discourses of heteronormativity, majoritarianism, casteism and elitism that govern institutional spaces and public spheres have come in to full view. We as students, teachers or administrators cannot continue to disregard the new languages and identities that are beginning to occupy our university spaces. We believe that our institutional and societal structures have failed to take in to account the various identities—regional, religious and sexual—that converged in the person of Mudasir. We need to understand the conventional ways in which universities are administered and the trauma this may result in for some students–especially those who do not “fit” the university‘s idea of the “normal” student.

Our  demand for compensation comes out of engaging with the experience of fellow students from marginalized communities who have consistently raised the issue of difficult costs—monetary, emotional, and labored—to their families, to their villages and their communities in sending a young person to an urban  university. The pressure to monetarily contribute to the family, the education of younger siblings, etc. continues to concern students from such marginalized backgrounds. We understand that institutional spaces such as universities are yet to appreciate the immense amount of pressure on such students. When they fail to cope with indifferent structures, some prefer to take their own lives, rather than having to return as a failure. With this understanding, we refer to the precedents set by the University of Hyderabad in providing compensation to the family of Senthil Kumar.

Structural changes must be implemented to ensure that relationships between teachers, students and the administration are not ridden with discrimination, prejudice and domination; a structure that encourages a more sensitive attitude towards all members of the University; a structure that does not resort to law in the first instance.

We would also like to bring to your attention the adequacy and capacity of institutional arrangements in dealing with the emotional and psychological needs of students, especially those who come from minority or backward communities or conflict regions. We insist that GS CASH should be formally instituted as a full-fledged functioning body in our University. There is also a need for other cells/bodies need to be put in place for redressing grievances of specific groups of students. For instance, Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) has a special cell for Kashmiri students to look after their specific problems and issues.

Our struggle has drawn support from various student organizations in different state and central universities, for instance, AISA, AISF, DSU, BSF, TVV, ASA.  A section of academicians in Jamia Millia and Delhi University have also expressed their solidarity with the Struggle Committee.

Mudasir’s suicide takes up greater significance in the light of it being the fourth death in our five-year old University. To add to this, there have been multiple suicide attempts by students of the university, following casteist oppression within the German Department. Another student, Munavath Sriramulu, an Adivasi student, had gone on a hunger strike as well as filed a case with the Osmania University Police Station against the casteist attitude of the HOD of the German Department, Prof. Meenakshi Reddy. He was admitted in the Intensive Care Unit of a private hospital following the distress caused by the death of Mudasir, his friend. We take into consideration the high tally of student deaths–two Dalit and one Muslim minority— in this campus and recognize that these are not individual cases, but rather a symptom of a deep structural malignancy.

We continue to face an adamant administration and a large section of hostile teachers who insist on exercising their powers to intimidate the protesters   At this juncture it is crucial that we are supported by all who occupy our position and hope for a university structure that is humane and democratic, and be able to fight alongside. 

We would also like to invite you to the 24 hour event announced by the Struggle Committee for Justice for Mudasir Kamran on the 29th-30th March (10pm-10pm).

 

We look forward to your solidarity.

 

Thank You

Struggle Committee for Justice for Mudasir Kamran

for more information contact- Sadique P.K
MPhil Social Exclusion Studies(Critical Social Science)
EFL University,Hyderabad
Mobile:07702226990

#India- Besides #Delhigangrape , there are rapes in #Kashmir #Vaw #Torture


Raped Twice

By Inshah Malik

21 December, 2012
Countercurrents.org

The gruesome gang rape that happened recently in the capital city New Delhi of India has knocked off the imagination of Indian Nation. The college going ‘girl’ was gang raped in a private bus, six men reportedly in a drunken state are involved in the crime. The barbarity of the incident of shoving iron rod in the private organs of the girl has sent jitters down the spine of conscious young people in the country. This news perturbed me quite irately. I went on to pour condemnation messages all over social media, very emotionally until I remembered Shabnam.

Shabnam was standing near the bus stop, when I arrived in a small local car. She was dim, her face was pale and wrinkled while she was just in her late thirties. In north of Kashmir, a twin village site, Konan-Poshpora which is known for the ‘mass rape’ of some 62 women in early 1990’s by the Indian army, every woman here has a gruesome spine chilling story to share. But Shabnam, She is a symbol of ‘existence’, she exists, quite plainly and different from the rest of the ‘mass’.

She escorted me to her tiny little house by the edge of the green fields that belong to the farming villagers. As I entered, a strange sense of apathy overwhelmed me, Shabnam’s five year old son sat across the room. The room was cold, dark and a repugnant smell engulfed it. This is a room, where Shabnam has lived all her married life, her best and probably the worst moments happened under this roof. As I was sensing it, Shabnam intervened, “I hate this house, i never want to live here. Last year, I had a terrible fight with my husband and first thing I wanted to do is burn this house down”. I almost did, she laughs and continues, “Just five minutes on this straight road from here is an army camp”, and she abruptly fell silent staring the road from the hole in her wooden window. I didn’t know how to progress the conversation in such a situation and I asked, ‘you fight with your husband’. She said in an irritated way, ‘of course, men never understand what happens to us’ and in the same breath, but my husband is an angel, if he was not there for me, I would have killed myself. No man can accept his wife back, after she is ‘raped’.

I was silent for a while, trying to imagine, what must have happened in this place, when in late hours the Indian army men entered each and every house, when there were shrieks of women coming from all the corners. Women were calling all the higher spiritual forces to come to their aid, as I am thinking now of the helplessness of a Delhi girl clutched by barbarians lone in a moving bus while hurt her friend severely.

Shabnam continued sharing her ordeal, ‘how can a man be happy with a woman who can no-longer satisfy his sexual urges, a woman whose genitals are electrocuted’. This detail surprised me because in the mass rape there were no reported instances of torture. She continued, “I was interrogated and raped again, a year after the mass rape happened in this village, they arrested me because my husband’s brother was a militant. Twelve army men raped me and after then gave electric shocks in my genitals. Even after this my husband took me back, for me, isn’t he a prophet? But, I am no longer an able person; he earns little and pays all for my medical treatments”
I was speechless; this was first time for me to face the reality of our political situation as well as my feminine self. I had by now forgotten all lessons of research and knowledge generation that my university prepared me with. I sat unmoved, thinking and listening.

She continued, “that year when the mass rape happened, it was my second year of marriage, a day before that myr husband brought me some gifts and we were still in love, now perhaps I don’t know what we mean by love, it has become such a grave realization. That night they dragged all the men of the village out in a crackdown to hunt militants fighting them for freedom, and they dragged my husband out of the house, it was winter they made him sleep on a six feet high heap of snow. I was watching from the window, I could not see my husband in this condition. I came out of my house and told the army men to leave my husband. My husband became furious and shouted at me, “don’t you see what they are doing to women? Get inside and lock the door. Let me die”.

‘A strange realization dawned on me, my sister who was still unmarried was in the house, I asked her at once to leave the house from the window. This irritated the army men. I ran inside and closed the door, they broke open the door, they were ten or twenty or more, I have no consciousness of that, I just remember, I was bleeding all through the way to hospital. I wish, they assaulted my memory too. I did not have the burden to remember it or narrate it’, she said
I slowly made my way out of that room, which was beginning to appear a hole of dingy darkness; I walked slowly, leaving behind Shabnam with her constant struggle with her memory.

The incident in Delhi that has perturbed us all alike, rape is not merely an assault on a body. Every such violation is an assault on memory which often forces women to shift from ‘living’ to merely ‘existing’. In fact when a woman is raped, she is raped twice: one of her body and another by silence of others. Today, the conscious young women of India must ask questions for Shabnam too because uniform does not remove the barbarity of neither the masculine militaristic state nor the patriarchal mind. In fact, Uniform furthers just these very aspects of cannibalistic colonialism

Inshah Malik is a PhD scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru university

 

Some questions for Guwahati men #VAW #gender #mustread


 

GUEST POST BY- Krishna Malakar

In the year 1991, my family shifted to Guwahati from a village in the outskirts of the city in the hope of better education for their children, better facilities and in all, a better standard of living. I was two years old at that time. I have spent my entire school life in Guwahati. After my class 12th boards, I enrolled myself in Delhi University for higher education. I stayed in Delhi for five years. Now I have come back to my hometown, Guwahati to prepare for entrance examinations for pursuing a PhD. I am delighted to be back home. Staying with one’s own family is a different joy altogether but once I step out of my house it’s a strange world I encounter outside. The men in the streets do not allow me to be what I am as a woman. I have to keep my eyes low or straight on the street in front of me. Otherwise I will fall eye to eye with some staring loser and sometimes end up swallowing comments like ‘Madam, where to?’ or ‘what is your rate?’  Sigh! I have vomited my frustration in the following paragraphs and whatever I have written is based on my own and my women friends’ experiences and contains no real statistics.

In these last few years, there have been some major changes in the city’s infrastructure and lifestyle. A number of flyovers have sprung up, international fast food outlets like KFC, Pizza Hut, Dominos, etc. have opened up their franchises, international clothing brands are easily available, number of internet and mobile phone users have increased manifold, easy access to international TV channels and so on. The youth and the middle-aged men wear jeans. (The earlier generation used to wear trousers and the generation earlier to them used to wear dhotis). These days, people enjoy Hollywood movies and listen to Akon, Mettalica, Black Eyed peas etc. There have been visible changes in people’s lifestyle and such change is inevitable. Many ‘international’ things have successfully taken place in our lives but ‘international’ thinking has failed to seep into the minds of Guwahatians. People still consider a girl wearing shorts, skirts, or having a drink as a taboo.

Strange it may sound given that Northeast India is considered more ‘women- friendly’ than rest of India but I have experienced more eve teasing in these last three months of my stay in Guwahati than in the entire five years in Delhi put together.

I generally dress in full-length jeans and tops or kurtis. It’s a personal choice I make. Tomorrow if I wish to wear shorts on the streets I would like to wear one. It is none of people’s business what I am wearing. But the problem lies in the fact that even if I cover my entire body, I deserve to be teased, as I am a woman, it is not because what I am wearing but because what my gender is. Thank you Society, you have indeed been successful in keeping ‘a girl within her limits’! No late night parties for girls otherwise she will be tagged as a prostitute (especially in Guwahati). No skirts and shorts, girls! Now people will question me why do I want to wear skirts and shorts like girls do in metro cities or other countries, why don’t I follow my own culture. I would say that I love my culture and I love Assamese clothing. I always make it a point to wear a mekhla chadar (a traditional Assamese woman- wear) during Saraswati Puja. I would jump at any occasion where I can adorn a mekhla chadar or a sari. But when I go to meet my friends in a mall (mall is not a part of Assamese culture, by the way), I would like to wear a western outfit. After this statement I hope people don’t think of closing malls and fast food joints as they are instigating girls to wear western outfits! If Guwahatians can accommodate malls, fast food, English songs, and western outfits for boys then why can’t people accept girls wearing western clothes?

I remember reading somewhere that the blouse that is worn with a sari is actually a western innovation. It is not a part of Indian culture. Previously, women used to wear saris without a blouse, which is still the preferred way to dress among some ethnic cultures. In mekhela chadars and saris, the back and the belly of a woman are clearly visible, then why can’t girls wear tops where the belly is hardly visible! Saris expose more body than skirts. Why can’t girls wear skirts then? We can’t blame a girl’s clothes for a man’s behavior. Even fully clothed women in saris and kurtas become victims of a man’s touch or comment. What do the people of the civilized society have to say on this? Is it a curse to be woman and hence be subjected to humiliation? Shouldn’t men be taught to behave rather than teaching girls to sit at homes? When will Guwahati men stop sexualizing every other woman they see on the street?

Also, people here in Guwahati consider women who drink as ‘characterless’. When will people get rid of these primitive ideas? If a man drinks in a gentlemanly way and do not create a scene, his character is considered to be intact. Why does not the same thing apply to women? Don’t we women have the right to enjoy a few cheerful drinks with our friends?

In Guwahati, open urination is such a popular hobby among men! Keeping public places clean is an alien etiquette for them. They don’t even bother to find a secluded place to attend to nature’s call. If a girl passes by them, she will turn their heads in the opposite direction out of embarrassment, but our Guwahati men are macho enough to continue staring the girl while peeing. Bravo! There has been no protest in Guwahati against men exposing their most private parts in public.

When I was in Delhi I used to read newspaper reports about rapes almost everyday and most rape incidents occurred at secluded areas and at late nights. There have been number of molestation cases also outside pubs and nightclubs. But X-ray stares, hoots, whistles, leering and jeering from men were rare in my experience, maybe 2 out of 10 men will do so. But here in Guwahati, in broad daylight, starting from early morning to late night, almost every man in the street will stare at you and some of the passing guys will make loud audible comments at you. And this is not limited to poor and illiterate males; males belonging to almost every class of the society shamelessly participate in eve teasing. Even education seems to have failed to bring in refinement of the male mental faculty. For me, in Guwahati, people trying to touch me in public buses, people colliding with me intentionally when I walk on the footpath or in markets are common. But in Delhi, I haven’t faced ‘pre- planned collisions’.

In Delhi, the participating male sees molestation as an offence. The police will never dare to portray the girl in a bad light. The media, intellectuals and the NGOs are supportive. But in Guwahati, if you are a woman and a victim of molestation, most of the local TV channels will title the news as ‘Girl creates ruckus in public area’ and the police will arrive half an hour late to take the girl ‘who was behaving indecently’ away from the angry mob. No action will be taken against the mob at that instant. The viewers seeing all of these on TV at home will curse the girl, question her character and blame her for whatever had happened to her. Only after the news is nationalized, is on youtube and facebook the regional media and the police will realize that a heinous crime has been committed against the girl and the mob should have been arrested.

The regional media features stories every now and then on how the Assamese youth, especially girls, are threats to ‘Assamese culture’ and how moral cleansing is the need of the hour. Here in Guwahati most of the people, especially the youth are scared of TV camerapersons. Most camerapersons are very efficient in capturing couples on their cameras spending some ‘lovey dovey’ time in parks. They film girls wearing shorts, skirts on streets (without their knowledge) and feature them in stories discussing how Assamese girls have lost their moral values in these modern times. Even girls wearing quarter length pants are not spared. People get pleasure in watching news stories about how leggings worn by girls beneath their kurtas get wet in the rain and become transparent. That particular channel where this story was aired is of the opinion that girls should not wear leggings and wear cotton pyjamas that do not stick to the skin. How ridiculous! Is this what the media is for? I think the situation has become a lot worse for young women after the state has been blessed with 24- hours news channels.

Yes, I agree women are oppressed all over the world. There have been complaints against molestation, rape, and domestic violence from even developed countries. Unlike the Punjabis and Haryanvis who take pride in their loud and rowdy attitude, the Assamese society takes pride in their peace loving, meek and polite attitude. But I am saddened to say that my observations have been contradictory to the above statement. Majority of Guwahati men are definitely not meek and polite. Just the other day, my female friend (who is on a visit from Delhi) and I were complimented with whistles and comments like ‘amaak fuck koribo diba neki?’ (‘Will you allow us to fuck you?’) in a city park! On another occasion the same day a man in his 30s commented on how my friend’s breasts were like apples in front of strangers on the streets. This is nothing new; I have been facing such harassment since as long as I can remember. Even 10 years back, I had to deal with men caressing my body while they passed by me. 10 years back, as a little girl, I used to shout at them. But now, after 10 years, I am afraid to raise my voice. I fear if I raise my voice, I may become a target of mob rage, I may get molested and become the next ‘indecent girl’ news story. I have been made to realize that it is better to listen to the dirty comments than actually give them a chance to touch me with their dirty hands.

Is it so hard for Guwahati men to behave as humans? Their sisters and mothers must be going through the same, don’t they think about them before making a comment on a girl on the street? Is teasing and molesting women, are part of Assamese culture? When will the media start acting in a responsible and ethical manner and stop imposing a new form of ‘talibanism’? When will women themselves stop looking down upon women who have been victims of molestation, rape or eve teasing? When will men think that a girl wearing shorts is not an invitation for them to tease or molest? When men have accepted westernization in their lifestyle, why can’t women be a part of it? I do not think its impossible to answer these questions if someone really attempts to.

Krishna Malakar

Guwahati

contact her at  krishnamalakar26@gmail.com 

 

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