The girl wasn’t aware that the Udyog Bhavan Metro station in central Delhi had been shut down. In the Metro going to Gurgaon, she needed to get down at Udyog Bhavan. Her friend was waiting in a car outside the station. She waited at the door. The train stopped too, but the gates didn’t open. The PA system — the annoying PA system of the Delhi Metro that never stops saying something or the other — fell silent. The station was deserted. Not a soul in sight.
The girl asked fellow passengers — all of us men around her — which would be the nearest station that would be open. All the options were far off. Ramakrishna Ashram station on one end, for instance, was four kms. away. “Now what?” the girl asked her friend on the phone in a tone that blamed him, in a way only lovers can. “Now what?” she kept repeating. Continue reading The epiphanic moment of the lathi charge→
Many years ago, I was travelling in a DTC bus – or was it a private-run Blueline? – in which the usual sense of calm-with-commotion was disturbed by a sudden act of strategic, small-scale violence, followed by a moment of stunned silence, then some bickering.
Two women were travelling in a bus full of men, and one of them had slapped a man. The man tried to argue and claim innocence, but to no avail. It was obvious to everyone in the bus that the woman would not slap him without a reason. He must have molested her. Most passengers watched silently, eager to closely observe the tamasha so they could relate it to others, like I’m doing now. But quite a few voiced their support of the women, and the bus conductor asked the man in question to get down at the next stop, returning his entire fare. Continue reading A woman in Delhi Metro, two women in a bus→
We believe that a majority of women do not feel safe while travelling in the Delhi Metro. We have spoken to a cross-section of Metro commuters who have shared with us their experiences most of which include instances of verbal and physical harassment mostly faced by women, specifically in the women’s-only compartment. In fact, a few days ago, some of the members of our group who were traveling at night observed that the women’s-only compartment was populated with men who had occupied almost all the seats forcing the women to stand, leaving them with no choice but to actively demand the seats they were entitled to. The men were unapologetic and dismissive. Most shrugged off the women’s protest by claiming falsely that the women’s-only compartment turns general post 9 p.m..
Women who choose to travel in the general compartment are also harassed. There have been many instances where men have told women that they are not welcome in this compartment and should use the compartment reserved for them. This attitude has become so deeply entrenched in commuters’ mindsets that most accidentally refer to the general compartment as the ‘men’s compartment’. There have been times when authorities have driven out men from the women’s-only compartments, but without having imposed any fine whatsoever…
The situation needs to change. It is the duty of the State and the DMRC to spearhead this change.