Aiman Nazir Banday
Being a student, I am every day subjected to the grime of the road. Every day I have to board a bus to school and have to walk to tuitions. The course of direction is the same; however, the faces I come across vary. Belonging to the “target gender” I come across various experiences in the short course of my journey. Some of them are pleasurable, but most of them being not less than a “nightmare”.
My nightmare starts when I step out of the door of my house and walk through a lot of gazing eyes. I resolve to lower my gaze and somehow I manage to reach the bus stop without a moan of reaction. What better can I do? I ask myself, because no one seems to know the answer and now, I tend to be one of them.
The tales of my insecurities do not end, but seem to start from here and progress towards the worst follow through. A bus stop is a hub of the species we all refer to as “eve teasers”. They can be seen all along the bus yard either smoking or straightening the excessively gelled-hair. These include the bus conductors, ‘unemployed youth’ and even the students in uniform. They carry out the second level of harassment that is ‘passing comments’ to girls and female students in particular.
These comments include remarks, teasing etc. Unfortunate plight of ours happens to be that we are not able to answer these hounds in a harsh tone because the blame of that is too put on our shoulders. We are dumbfounded. Silence is the only cure for the wounds caused by the remarks on our self respect.
What is even worse is that if the elder person observes the activity of these eve teasers, the target of their doubt again turns out to be us, as we are the target gender! Those additional gazes just add to the nightmare and make me feel as if I am guilty for this all.
While in the bus, if none of my friend is with me, I keep praying to god that let this half an hour in the bus be calm. And most of the times, my prayers are answered. The rest of the day in the protected shadow of school relaxes me. But then, sometimes talking to my friend, I come to learn that she too shares my nightmare. I become terrified that none of us seems to be safe.
The next level always awaits us outside school. A bunch of unknown faces, who stare at the girls, as if, analyzing them. The story is always the same outside the school gate. After the analyzing is done, they choose a target and may even follow her, try to talk to her or pass on their number to her.
It happens to be the most embarrassing situation that a girl can face on the road where shopkeepers, bus conductors and the other pedestrians are hungry for this sort of entertainment. Here also, as expected from our so called civilized citizens, our gender is held responsible. “The girl might have no character. What a shame!” They concluded in a jiffy.
While returning home from the school in the bus, I am not in comfortable situation either. Some people around are unconscious of their morals. The half an hour journey in local bus is like hell for every other girl, who travel in it.
The same story is repeated every day, if not with me, but with the other girls. These happenings have deep negative psychological effects on every girl’s mind. The remarks follow her home, affect her studies and life badly. While the people are busy discussing stray dogs on the road, at the same time they forget about the other menaces that a particular section of society is facing.
Talking about the empowerment of women, the government forgets to address the grassroots level where the empowerment is needed. Providing a female with education at the cost of providing her a healthy environment to grow may be acceptable to higher authorities, who don’t step out of their motors, but it won’t be acceptable to a female, be it a student or belonging to any other walk of life.
The discussions about some controversial ‘Tom and Jerry’ music concert always remains at the top of the list, but this growing immorality is not even in the pages of trash. When the national and international issues take in for the degrading setup for girls, the ignoring nature of the concerned becomes naked to the eyes. It clearly depicts as how ignored and deprived we are even when an impression is given that girls have achieved a great stature in the world.
Some activist say, ‘save the girl child’, but for what should she be saved for? For the worst of the world that lies ahead of her. Is it not matter of concern to clean our house before inviting a guest?
When a lady holds a seat in the cabinet or even becomes the president of a country, she earns a respect, but only for herself. The whole story of the “target gender” remains the same, even if she reaches at the moon. No eve teaser gives a second thought before teasing a girl. A lady cabinet minister won’t come in his dreams and tell him to have respect for other ladies as well.
A lady cabinet minister can’t make society utopian for girls, but she can surely try to make it a better for the girls. There is need to change the way of thinking. The world can be a safer place to live on.
(The author is class 12 student)