October 2, 2008

A 3 a.m. Call in New Delhi

The Chief Minister of Delhi, Ms. Sheila Dikshit, is the equivalent of a Commander-in-Chief for maintaining law and order in the city. It's not far fetched, therefore, to imagine her receiving a call at 3 o'clock in the morning. Much like Mayor Rudy Giuliani would have, had the 9/11 bombing of the World Trade Center occurred a few hours earlier than it actually did. Nor is it too far fetched to imagine a terrorist attack on the Maurya, Ashoka, or Oberoi hotel, in the wee hours.

Will Ms. Dikshit hop into her car and rush to the spot? Absolutely not. Not without the protection of a possé of armed commandos, which, of course, she's privileged to have. Why not? Because, she's a woman, and she cannot afford to be adventurous in a city that she calls too unsafe for women to be out alone at 3 a.m. I suppose, Ms. Dikshit would advise all her women city officials, cops, and other emergency workers, to stay put at home, too.

This is Chief Minister Dikshit's response to the recent murder of Ms. Soumya Viswanathan, a television journalist, who was found shot to death in her car on her way back home from work:

"One should not be adventurous, but I am really very sorry for her family. Investigations are going on. She was traveling in the early hours of the morning, so I think we need to take greater care. She was driving all by herself at 3 o clock in the morning in a city which people believe is not very safe for women after dark," she said.

That's right. If you had the misfortune of being a woman in India, and not a Chief Minister, then you are on your own when you choose to work or play outside your house after nightfall.

You are too bold if you worked as a customer representative at a 7x24 call center for a U.S. based multinational. It's too reckless to step out of your hotel to have a smoke; you are asking to be gang raped. You are gambling with your precious life, if you rushed to your clinic at 3 a.m. to do a C-section for delivering a breech-baby. You must be really dumb to be out on the streets with a million other people on the New Year's eve, just for a stolen kiss at the stroke of midnight.

Oh, I forgot. Man or woman, it's not very safe these days to buy vegetables on your way back home in Kailash, Karol Bagh, Mehrauli, or Sarojini Nagar, either. Who knows, a couple of fellows clad in black may have just dropped a grenade in the potato basket, and fled from the market on a motorbike!

1 comment :
  1. The state of affairs in Delhi makes me sad.

    What makes it worse is officials justifying the horrible crimes that they seem to be unable to control at all.


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