Bengaluru for Women

On a hot summer afternoon, a few hundred bloggers met at the Times of India office on MG road to discuss “Bangalore for Women” . The discussions were emotionally charged with women citing real examples of abuse in Bangalore. From a middle aged mother who tagged along her teenaged daughter who was a special child, to young working women sharing horrifying stories of abuse , the incidents left us fuming and angry.Even as twitter handles continued to ask the same question “What is the solution, so what is the solution”, we continued to discuss  problems. We were left clueless on what the solution could be.

Even as it was one baby step towards change, I wonder if  discussions alone can bring a solution to issues in our country? How nice it would be if we met over lunch every week and watched the issues disappear.

This is one vast country.Crimes continue to hit headlines even as we speak. Is the government alone responsible to ensure a safe country. Aren’t we , arm chair activists  if we just sat and discussed issues and blogged about it. Shouldn’t we take one step forward and make small steps towards change. In all these years in this country, I have seen very few educated middle class give back to the society. How many of us have it in us to invest a few hours a week for the betterment of the society

Even as we speak of safety for women, do you think this safety could be achieved while one section of the society lives in utter poverty, lives in slums and remains uneducated while the other class fancies in buying the latest cell phones and gizmos.

How can we expect the two sections to dwell in harmony unless we made  initiatives  in bridging the gap  . How many of us can volunteer as teachers, to teach, to enact through role plays and adopt slums and bring about a visible change in their outlook?

The average middle class Indian is selfish . Sadly “charity begins at home and most often , ends at home”. How many of us think beyond our families, our entertainment in malls and movie theaters over the weekends. If the Ugly Indian group of Bangalore, could clean  and transform stinking roads into beautiful pathways, what stops us from adopting slums in our areas ,  and doing our bit for them?

Shouldn’t corporates be more involved in corporate social responsibility? Today ,most corporates have volunteer groups but the number of employees devoting time to such tasks is negligible  Imagine if every employee had to mandatory dedicate few hours in a month in giving back to the society, Just imagine the numbers . Imagine if done pan India . Wouldn’t we see a big change?

Forget given back to the society, we often forget our basic responsibility i.e to vote. In a vast migrant population such as in  Bengaluru, there could be a few lakh educated middle class that does not possess a voter ID card . Often “this is not my home town”, I have address proof problem is cited as an excuse. Today we complain about our law and order, we complain about our police force.  We complain about politicians. How can we help have a better police force? How can we help have a better governance. Wouldn’t all that be possible if we understood our right and voted responsibly ? And imagine if we used social media not just for likes and comments on our friends list , but kept a active tab on whats happening around us . A few educated section of the middle class is creating a significant impact in cities such as Bengaluru by contesting in elections and bringing about a change . How about following these people and see what they have for us . This is the social media generation. Why not use it more responsibly?

Shouldn’t we encourage and reward people that are honest . It could be a auto driver giving you back a lost camera or some one that drops you home safely . Report such incidents to the media so that such men can be rewarded. Get such stories published in local newspapers .It can help motivate the youth from the lower rigs of the society.

Even as we complain about a corrupt police force, have you ever wondered what it might take to be a honest government officer?Can you even compare the benefits they draw against a educated middle class software engineer. Imagine the stress that the family of a honest cop undergoes on a daily basis. How can the government come up with schemes so that we have more educated taking up such jobs. Are we even protecting whistle blowers? Imagine the plight of a family of a slain police cop or that of a whistle blower that gets killed for being honest. Would families even encourage their sons and daughters to take up such jobs,jobs that are laden with risk ?

Do we have grievance cells for such families. Often grievance cells and helpline numbers are bombarded with obscene calls all day , the very purpose of it is lost.

Let us not raise boys that think they are superior to women. Let us educate our girls. Education goes a long way in leading a confident and independent life.

Urban women working in major IT organizations have splendid grievance cells for sexual harassment but what about the lower middle class Bangalorean working in garment factories that is subjected to abuse? Does our responsibility end in ensuring urban women taking volvo buses are safe?

Let us press for efficient bills to be passed such that a young widow working in a garment factory feels as safe as someone sitting in an air-conditioned office in an IT park

Children adore their schools and their teachers. Rather than spend on costly picnics to snow worlds and water theme parks, wouldn’t it be wiser if we began the concept of sharing and caring when kids are young. It could be as simple as getting a toy to school,and giving it to the under privileged  Let us not underestimate the power that teachers hold over the kids. My 3 year old adores his school and his teachers and mind you ! he isn’t even in a regular school yet.  Summer camps in the cities should incorporate programs on giving back to the society.

As the ugly Indian website says “Only we can change us from ourselves” .

So change can happen only when governance, media and the citizens worked together in bringing about a change


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