This patch of land in Sector 63, Noida, Delhi NCR, is a constantly changing panaroma. Development activities go on here throughout the year. A Delhi Metro station is also coming up nearby in sector 62.
The big, round wheel in this pic is that symbol of constant change.
(This poster declares in Hindi, “Beware! You are under scrutiny by a camera…)
While our national army basks in the glory of their recent ‘surgical strikes’ on the terrorist camps in Pakistan, a foreign country, our local Police allows petty criminals to go scot free. Crimes like pick-pocketing and snatching of handbags, jewellery, and electronic items such as mobile phones and laptops are considered far too trivial, not even worth the paper used to print their FIRs on! You need to be murdered or raped or both to be taken seriously by the police and still no action is taken against the criminals till the Media raises its voice.
On 9 October 2016, my black purse was snatched away by a woman in a Durga Puja Pandal. I informed the Police immediately. While I described the incident to their senior officer, the junior constables smiled gleefully and said, “Madam, you were well aware that you were in a public gathering where all kinds of people come. You should have been careful. The CCTV cameras we have got here are all fitted outside, not inside where the crime happened. So we can’t do anything about this.”
I received a copy of the FIR through email the next day. Two days later, I submitted to them my mobile phone’s IMEI number. But nothing happened after that, so I had no option left but to just dismiss it from my mind as a bad dream and move on.
To be fair to the Police, obtaining an FIR is now no longer a painful exercise that it used to be in the past. But their efficiency, I am sorry to say, appears to be on paper only. Everything else is as it was and continues to be, inefficient and corrupt.
Dear Prime Minister, Chief Minister, MLAs, Ministers, Delhi Government, and everyone else concerned, are you listening? What are those CCTV cameras meant for? To act as mere scarecrows?
The Metro train was running as usual. Doors opening and closing, people entering and exiting. Just another working day, as far as I was concerned. My eyes were beginning to droop for a short nap.
But when we reached Tilak Nagar, something unusual happened. A Metro employee entered, pushing a wheelchair in front of him. A middle-aged lady who was looking seriously ill was seated on the wheelchair. Her face was slightly contorted in pain. They were accompanied by a young man and a young woman in a sari.
Gently and lovingly, the couple picked up the old lady from the wheelchair and deposited her on the vacant seat in one corner of the ladies compartment reserved for the elderly and differently-abled people.
Just before walking away with the wheelchair, the Metro man asked, “Ap Laxmi Nagar utroge (Will you descend at Laxmi Nagar)?”
“Han (Yes),” They said.
All through the journey the young boy sat on the floor with his arms around her and the young lady kept stroking her on her back and her face. A few minutes later, the old lady lifted her arm a little bit, unconsciously revealing a little bit of her bare bosom plastered with bandage beneath the black shawl she had wrapped around her chest. It was obvious that she was having some breast related problem, probably cancer…
Going by the expressions on the young couple’s faces, the disease was probably something they had begun to live with and accept. The old lady was perhaps approaching death and they were only trying their best to make her life as comfortable as they could…
Soon, Laxmi Nagar station arrived. The doors opened and in came another Metro man with a wheelchair. The old lady was picked up again with the same love and care as before and deposited on the wheelchair. The couple wheeled her out. The Metro man took over and pushed the wheel chair behind the couple while they walked ahead close to each other, smilingly, confident in their love for each other and the old lady…While I watched them disappear into the lift, I found myself really touched and impressed by the quiet efficiency and attention of the Metro staff. If only every organization in Delhi could be so concerned about the people it comes in contact with! Then there would be no crime in Delhi, no orphans, no old age homes, and no unemployment…
A few days later, I saw another wheelchair-bound person being wheeled in by the Metro staff…
Hats off to you, my dear Delhi Metro! Keep up the good work and may God bless you…
A nation’s law and order situation can be gauged by the existence of exclusive ‘women’s-only’ compartments in trains. When a country creates reserved spaces for women in its public spaces including trains, it indicates its empathy and sincerity towards ensuring safety of women. But it is also a symptom of its inability to provide 100% security to half of its population and a toothless judicial system.
Take Delhi as an example. Delhi Metro began running its classy, air-conditioned trains in 2002 with general compartments. Four years later, in 2006, DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) was forced to reserve one compartment exclusively in all metro trains at all times when it became clear that the twin problems of groping and women’s molestation were so rampant that they could not be controlled through punitive action alone. Ever since then, Delhi Metro has turned into the safest and the most civilized space in Delhi. Women can travel in other compartments too in these trains, but men can’t travel in the ladies-only compartments. This rule is implemented very strictly and has been made a legal offense.
During Commonwealth Games in 2014, I got the chance to interact with a European woman in a Delhi Metro train. She was amused to find so many woman gathered together at one place. “Very unusual in my country,” she remarked.
Countries like Israel, Japan, India, Egypt, Iran, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Phillipines, Malaysia, and UAE also have ladies-only compartments in their trains. But Singapore, which is famous for its exemplary standards in discipline, cleanliness, and orderliness in public spaces, has no ladies-only compartment in its MRT!
This proves what I am trying to say through this article, which is, that women-only spaces are needed only when law and order situation is not under control.
I wonder what our so-called Gau-Rakshaks (bovine protectors) will say when they see this pic…This is at some place in UP (Uttar Pradesh), North India…
Yesterday, on 25 August 2016, apart from the usual headlines on murder, rapes, and suicides, our national dailies (links given below) were all agog with reports of our national highways planning to use mountains of garbage piled up at landfills like the one at Ghazipur. It filled me with hope and optimism. Let’s see how it goes.