While browsing the Times of India this morning I came across this story:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Jaipur_Woman_thrashed_for_witchcraft/articleshow/3578363.cmsIt is the story of a woman in a village of Rajasthan who was accused of being a witch and bringing about two deaths in another family. The village panchayat apparently then insisted that she dip her hand in a vessel of boiling oil to try to take out a coin at the bottom of it. This, it seems, is a a common method of establishing the fact of a woman being a witch, or not.
This is something that is just beyond my comprehension, that people would do this to another human being.
As a woman, this makes me rage. As an Indian, it makes me feel ashamed. For all our success in industry, as a people it sometimes feels as if we still live in a more primitive age…
Problems like these are not limited to villages. Delhi, our capital city, was voted the most unsafe city of all in India in a recent industry survey, by women employed in industries that require them to work night shifts. Bangalore, our answer to Silicon valley, has the dubious distinction of being not far behind in that statistic, according to this survey.
While the industry body has recommended that the companies in these industries should make the necessary security arrangements for their women employees, and steps such as making mandatory the installation of GPS units in cabs, none of this will address the basic issue. Which to my mind, is that as a civil society we seem to lack the respect for women that would allow them to feel secure outside their homes.
Go to work, yes, but at your own peril…