Let my country awake!

A society’s robustness and its value system is tested when the most vulnerable in the society is free and can stand up fearlessly against what’s wrong, without any worry of being treated in an unjust manner. It was rather shocking to see that a girl and her father were asked to leave a restaurant, when the girl raised objection at being  harassed, stalked and shamelessly stared at by a drunk man, who was continuously leering at her and other women present at the restaurant.

The video just displayed the sheer apathy, insensitivity and heartlessness of our contemporary society. Instead of asking the rogue, the drunkard, who was staring and harassing the women present at the restaurant, the people present at the restaurant, including the customers, police and the restaurant owner himself, shooed the girl and her father out of the restaurant, on the pretext that how could they ask the person who was drinking to leave!!  Shocking! As such, the victims, who ought to have been protected and supported by the people and authorities present there, were thrown out of the restaurant and the rogue continued sitting there sipping his drink. What country have we turned into or rather are? And then we complain of being talibanised from time to time. It our apathy to such shameless acts that fans the audacity of perpetrators of such heinous and atrocious acts. So in a way, we the society are also responsible for not raising our voices against such acts and it makes me lower my head in shame.

We call ourselves a civilised society.. Well, there a big looming question mark now. A civilised society does not corner someone who is in vulnerable position; it backs someone based on right and wrong, principles of propriety and deals with the situation in a dignified decorum.

The video simply reflects how easily some hooligan can get away with whatever he does, and that too in a public place! Here, the poor girl is seen trying everything possible to stand up and maintain her dignity, which by itself is no mean task. The girl’s father is seen losing his cool, like any father would, because his daughter was a victim of indecency in the open in a public place. The hotel staff, surprisingly is seen applying force on the father and someone, drunk of course, is seen coming forward and trying to assault the girl and the girl’s father. All this while the person who was harassing the girl and other women in the restaurant is coolly sipping his drink and threatening the girl and her father! Yet the people there are seen carrying on as if nothing happened. There was someone who even said “so what” when the girl tried to explain the reason for being upset.

Dear people, the father and the daughter didn’t go to the restaurant expecting such a thing to happen. But it happened. You will also never expect such a thing to ever happen to you, but it may happen. Pause and give it a thought..  and in such a scenario, you would want someone to stand by you and support you, because standing up for what’s right is so difficult and courageous now a days. As Naloplean Bornaparte had remarked, “The world suffers a lot. Not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people.”

Our country and society will only be as good as “We the People” make it. Many laws, rules and regulations have been framed and even more, like candle march, demonstrations, etc. has gone into symbolism of empowering women; but in this case, the society clearly failed the girl and her father.

I salute the girl who stood up for herself and for the the dignity of other women present there. I hope strong action will be taken against the hotel authorities, the person who was abusing and harassing the girl and her father and the one who tried to assault the girl and the father. As for the customers, a reflection and representation of our the society – scared, timid and spineless, who were present in whose sight everything happened and who sheepishly let it happen, I hope they will at least come up and stand firmly with the girl and her family, in anyway possible, so that it sends out a message that anyone who stands up for what’s right, is not alone, so that for once the society is a catalyst for change towards something good and not passive to its constituent member. Only then will we have a place safe for everyone, only then can we claim to be civilised.

I would like to end with a few lines of Kabiguru Rabindranath Thakur, which echo and resound with a deafening silence of disappointment due to unfulfilled aspirations of our forefathers for a free India:

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high,

Into the heaven of freedom my father,

Let my country awake!


About kawaljit

Kawaljit Singh Bhatia is a Lawyer and appears regularly at the Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court. He has handled various high-stake matters in the filed of arbitration, telecom and broadcasting laws, labour matters, corporate matters, etc. He is passionate about legal issues that affect the society. He can be reached at kawaljitbhatia@gmail.com
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