Thank You Induji.
Savdhaan India, Jan 2, 2013
While the world celebrates the coming of the new year, Savdhaan India is focusing especially on crimes against women. A sad reality one has to acknowledge, and while we would want to wish it away, we cannot.
Normally, as a security measure, women, in fact everyone, is warned to stay away from strangers'. But in this episode, no one was hypothetically a stranger to Kaajal. She worked at a BPO, and her life was completely wrapped up in the office and home, so her daily contact was only with office colleagues, her husband, and the regular driver, Shambhu, of the taxi that was provided by her office to ferry her and her peers back and from office. So how come she was still endangered?
This was a classic and tragic case of sexual harassment in office and harassment from a completely self-centred and insensitive male chauvinistic husband at home. Caught in this web, Kaajal remained upset and distraught, and only young Urmila at office, who had recently joined, was privy to Kaajal's trauma.
The team leader, the immediate boss, was a lecherous man who wouldn't miss any opportunity to make a pass at the girls. Almost as soon as she joined, Urmila was thus humiliated by a leery-eyed boss, and seeing her upset, Kaajal knew what was wrong. She accosted the boss and warned him yet again. As Monish Bahl warns, women must not accept any such lewd advances; they must inform somebody. In fact a telephone number, 1091, is even provided for women to seek help. Mohnish appeals: call, seek help, do not take any of this lying down.
Ironically, Kaajal did! She sought help from where a woman would turn to first, her husband! For months now she had been telling her him of her quandary, and in fact was anxious to quit her job. But then she was one of those unfortunate women, who was wedded to a selfish man who was obsessed with wealth, with false values of owning a bigger house, having better material comforts, at the cost of his wife's self-esteem and dignity.
In office, it wasn't as if she was taking the lecherous advances meekly. At one point, Kaajal slapped the boss; at another, when he suggested he could get her promoted if she would "please" him, she berated him within the hearing of the entire staff. The only mistake was that this complaint was not taken to higher authorities in the office, to a women's cell, or to the police. The distraught Kaajal's plea to her selfish husband was yet again thwarted' and then Kaajal went missing'
Kaajal's mother, her colleague, and her uncle went to the police' a very proactive and alert police officer cooperated instantly, the enquiries revealed the unwelcome advances of the team leader in office, of the callous husband' and then the enquiry boiled down to the unexplained change in taxi driver, and the timing of when she was last seen or heard of was ambiguous ' after a few days, Kaajal's brutalized body, in a decayed state is found in a garbage dump. Post-mortem revealed rape, and the suspicion was on the two men who had made her life miserable ' a husband who did not even care enough to report her missing after 2 days, and a boss, whose nefarious intent was well known. But the police still did not have the hard-core proof against either of them till the focus moved in another direction.
Shambhu the taxi driver was coincidentally "unavailable" since Kaajal went missing. Then it was just a matter of time and efficient pursuing by the police before he was accosted, and made to confess to police third degree. His carnal desire for Kaajal; his awareness that she remained distraught and distracted most of the time, and the fact that she trusted him as one does a person one has day-to-day dealings with. While the criminal was Shambhu, her husband and boss could not be exonerated for the negative influences in her life. In retrospect one is left with unanswered alternatives; "If only" her life partner had not been so callous; "if only" the office people had reacted earlier; if only there had been more alertness towards the safety and security of the women employees. As Mohnish says, by merely providing transport the company cannot absolve itself. Had the transport company done the necessary verification of drivers and other security personnel?Mohnish rounds up this episode, yet another grisly crime against women, with many earnest, heartfelt, and even stern warnings that need to be actively adhered to by one and all. Do not ignore the malevolent advances of your peers, bosses or any other man; if you, as a woman, have odd working hours, ensure that when being picked up or dropped you are not alone in the vehicle. While it is the moral responsibility of the organization to ensure this, you must also remain aware and alert. Ask a trustworthy male colleague to accompany you, even up to your house, if necessary. If at all, however, circumstances are such that you are per force alone in the taxi, ensure you inform a family member or colleague of your whereabouts there and then.
It is a sad commentary on the state of affairs in our country and in our cities. That while India is supposed to be "shining", the crimes against women are increasing. So rally around, be alert, and let us turn the tables on this horrible trend, Let us FIGHT BACK!