Sexually Harrassed : India

The recent article on CNN about a woman being subjected to sexual harassment on her visit to India has attracted 800,000 hits!

It makes me wonder what perceptions it triggers for first timers who are planning to visit India? No. Because bad people are the same across the world.Period. When travelling out of your comfort zone, you ought to take the basic precautions as you would in most countries around the world.While this is not in defense of the sexual crimes happening in India,it is important to realise that in a billion people there will be some bad apples.

In fact if you did a crime to population ratio, there would be a few surprise entries ! Its therefore interesting to note that good stories never get huge eyeballs and it is pretty much left to the tourism ministry to highlight the good things about the place.Why aren’t the good people highlighted enough?There are umpteen examples of how rank strangers helped other rank strangers in a rank strange environment.

India’s boon and bane is its population. It fascinates me to know that with so much not working or going wrong we still manage to do well economically,though currently the outlook is bearish,but from a long term perspective we are set to grow and grow big time.So imagine what would happen if we did get our act together.The possibilities are quite extraordinary.Yet the question remains how do we do it?

The average weirdo per square kilometer is perhaps highest in some of the western countries but that never gets highlighted in the travel advisory.Just because it is India it should not hit the headlines – it should hit the headlines because it is wrong and a  wrong can happen anywhere in the world.In India the law and order situation needs much to be desired but it is also important to note that the sheer volume makes it difficult to monitor every single crime.

Its easy to recommend solutions, like hire more people,or train more people but in reality 7 on 10 parents in India would rather get their wards into a MBA or engineering school rather than join the police force ! As a result,you are left with sub optimal talent in most cases.Having said that these men and women in the police force go through a tough time to protect this massive country.

Lets do an exercise,what is the topmost advise would you give a young woman traveller traveling out of her hometown :

  1. Travel with a group,preferably with a local included.
  2. Avoid venturing out alone in the night.
  3. Do not get into random conversations with strangers.
  4. Secure your luggage and belongings.
  5. Carry emergency contact information at all times.

I’m sure there are more, but the point I’m trying to highlight here is that travel security is a reality of today no matter which country you visit.Sure there are exceptions in every country or region that you need to take an additional precaution and therefore travel to India should not be treated any differently.There will be some good and some not so good moments .But it is important to remember , that India welcomes those who embrace the diversity the change the colors and sounds because it is a multi cultural multi dimensional society, vibrant and active, glitches and ignorance, faux pas and stupidity,silliness and smartness all  add up to a paradox called India.


5 thoughts on “Sexually Harrassed : India

  1. Hi Ayan, Well writ but I think we could use more length. Nothing wrong but I felt it stopped short too soon. Would like to read more. Can we look forward to a lengthy piece. Its an interesting dialog nevertheless.

    And speaking about perception…I remember reading horror stories just before I was set to go to Rome, Italy. We didn’t face any issues but yes the perception and the impact of what I read almost two years back lingers on.

    Link –

    • Thanks for your comment Salil.

      The subject is so vast that I could ve gone on for another few hours, but the point of the post to highlight one such aspect.

      Agree, perceptions trigger reality in our times,rarely we see reason prevailing over emotion.

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