Draupadi’s Question

Source: Wiki Commons
Source: Wiki Commons
The messenger enters Drapadi’s chamber and asks her to be present in the assembly after the cruel throw of fate.She sends him back with the question “Whom did you lose first, yourself or me ?” It was legal question at that point of time. But later, she turns it into a moral question in the assembly “Is it right or fair that a woman, let alone a queen, become a slave because her husband staked her in a gambling game ?”

Though the legal aspect resounded completely, the moral one fell short in one aspect – If she could be won at a contest, so could she be lost, taking into cognizance the prevalent customs of those times.But a lady who could stand up and ask this question in the face of dire adversity indicated courage,clear thinking and a will to preserve her dignity at any cost. It could only point to a trait of boldness above all else.

Therefore, it came something as a surprise when I read a completely different interpretation by Iravati Karve, of the very same incident. Quoting from her book, she says..

“Draupadi’s question was not only foolish, it was terrible. No matter what answer was given, her position was desperate.If Bhishma told her that her husband’s rights over her did not cease, that even though he became a slave, she was in his power and he had the right to stake her, her slavery would have been confirmed. If Bhishma had argued that because of her slavery, her husband had no more rights over her, then her plight would have been truly pitiable… She had made many mistakes in her life that were forgivable, but by putting on airs in front of the whole assembly, she had put Dharma into a dilemma and insulted him…Though she was only a young bride of the house, she had spoken in an assembly of men, something she should have known she must not do.Over and above, to pretend that she could understand questions that baffled her elders – that was inexcusable arrogance.”

She further espouses that instead of arguing about the legal technicalities like a lady pundit, she should have cried out for decency and pity in the name of the Kshatriya code. Had she done so perhaps things would not have gone so far.

There are some definite points which struck me – Draupadi had the guts to speak in an assembly of men and elders who might have been more learned than her but who were also prepared at that point of time, to be mute spectators to her humiliation. To think, that at a moment of adversity such as this, a woman would have the capacity to put on airs instead of focusing on using all weapons at hand to defend herself, is also casting an unjust aspersion on her.Though there are sexist connotations and it abounds in far too many patriarchal interpretations for my liking, I had to acknowledge there are facets which are interesting and deserve further thought.

In the face of adversity, which one should a person rely on – Courage or Practicality ? Is a courage;which is guaranteed to lead one to failure, only false bravado. Is practicality which dictates a person to appear weak and grovel, more worthwhile if it guarantees success.Will the ‘success’ earned in this manner be devoid of shame.

Everyday, there are enough and more instances, wherein this question finds its way into conscious thought. There are innumerable cases of victims of rape, some who lose their lives as well and some who fortunately survive to tell their tale. In those darkened alleys and corners, when terror strikes, the question of courage versus practicality would haunt the person who faces it. For all we know, their choice may not have mattered and affected their ultimate fate, but yet again, it could have.

In historical times, there have been enough tales of courage and valor. The story of Chittorgarh is worth remembering in this context.Though the women sacrificed their lives for saving their honor, an idea which can be disputed in the current world context, its a story of courage nonetheless. Was it a story of success or failure or would it be too naive to bracket it so narrowly.In today’s context, there was a case of a woman attacked at an Bangalore ATM. The fact that she resisted a machete wielding man and refused to hand over the money was almost laughable to me.Being practical was a clear winner there. But there are more gory cases of rape which at times lead to murder, some of whom bring forth the question – could the victim have saved herself by being practical.

The importance of Draupadi’s question would find no relevance for an audience which lacks the will and the power to arrive at the right answer.The fact that she asked the question also shows that she reposed faith in their moral dharma and their system of governance even though her faith was later proved to be misplaced.In today’s world, there will be no divine intervention when a woman is being disrobed. It will be entirely upto the woman to keep her wits about herself and figure out the answer to Draupadi’s dilemma.

The secret of the Thattinpuram

Asian Paradise Flycatcher
Asian Paradise Flycatcher

A flash of a long tail gleaming like burnished copper, accompanied by a sharp skreek disappeared into the thick canopy overhead. Ajit spotted the rufous tailed Asian Paradise flycatcher perched on a low branch. It was a glorious day for a nature walk – the breeze was pleasant and the Jacarandas and the Pink trumpet trees were in full bloom. He savored these weekly trysts with nature which had become indispensable.
Today was a departure from the usual. He had brought his son, in whom he saw the same passion for nature. The little chap was curious to a fault but he had patiently answered all his questions on birds, trees and butterflies. Now he turned to find the child at his elbow holding out a jasmine flower he had picked from an overhanging vine near the fence of a house. As he inhaled the rich scent of the white flower, a long lost memory tugged at his senses.


He plucked the fragrant flowers for his Ammamma (Grandmother) as she waited in a nearby alcove clad in her impeccable white mundu-veshti (Traditional dress of Kerala).


Vacations usually meant traveling across half the country to get together with his bevy of uncles, aunts and cousins at his grandparents’ place. His grandparents lived in a huge Naalukettu (traditional house of Kerala with a central courtyard open to the sky) in Manjeri , a small town in Kerala. A two storied rambling house with umpteen rooms and a plethora of common areas encircling the Nadumittam (central courtyard open to sky) , it was ensconced within a tree grove and situated in the midst of lush paddy fields. The branches of a massive peepal tree kissed the sloping roofs of the house.For him, the enormous tree was akin to a wise old sage welcoming his pupil with open arms. He used to spend countless hours exploring the varied life forms fostered by the tree. Amidst the thick canopy of shade and the ever soothing sound of the rustling of the leaves, the tree unraveled its mysteries to the discerning seeker.
Common Jezebel butterfly
Common Jezebel butterfly

Clear-winged forest glory - Damselfly
Clear-winged forest glory – Damselfly

The serendipity of seeing the tree hoppers camouflaged as thorns among one of the many creepers snaking around it, always used to be a source of delight. Apart from the myriad birds flitting on its branches during its infructescence, it hosted a plethora of butterflies,dragonflies, damselflies, insects, squirrels, skinks and yes, it used to host yet another kind of life form which he would come to know of later!

Paddy fields
Lush paddy fields

The smell of wood and trees permeated everywhere.He walked barefoot on the cool red-oxide flooring and ran down the wooden steps with resounding thumps.He loved everything about the house with its nooks and crannies, innumerable places to run and hide,its Nadumittam– where he could gaze at the raindrops falling inside the house, the kulam (small pond adjoining the main house) with its frogs and the Neerkoli (Checkered Keelback – a non-venomous snake) .

And even the Thattinpuram (low roofed attic) .

Nights at the Naalukettu ushered in the blackness which enveloped one like a shroud. The soft sounds of the night lulled him to sleep – sounds of crickets and croaking frogs, water drops trickling somewhere or a tiny rivulet flowing, whispering of the trees, a nightjar calling far away. But there were also the sounds which kept him awake half the night. And it came from the Thattinpuram.


The Thattinpuram was situated directly above the room where he slept and the only way to reach it was climbing the rickety wooden steps right next to the room. It had small windows overlooking the sloping roofs of the house, which were normally kept closed. Nearing midnight was when the strange creaking noises would start followed by rapid shuffling sounds. It had transpired that more often than not, the sounds followed a heavy downpour with strong winds. Night after night, he would lie awake waiting for the noises to start which would die away within an hour. He made up his mind to get to the bottom of these nocturnal goings on.

Daytime exploration of the place didn’t yield any clues and he waited for the one person who he was sure could help – Mavunni. He waved at Mavunni, who was already leading their cow to be milked and issuing instructions for the coffee bean to be plucked and dried. Everything they needed, they grew. Money was redundant for his extended family who needed it only for clothes.
A timeless old man, Mavunni was responsible for everything around his grandmother’s house. A soft -spoken, shy and retiring man by nature, he was extremely knowledgeable. Ajit had spent endless afternoons accompanying Mavunni on his chores while he listened in wonder to the old man elaborating on the various flora and fauna surrounding the house.Yes, he was sure Mavunni would find a solution.


At long last he managed to find Mavunni alone and explained his predicament. Mavunni pondered over it and then proceeded to give him very precise instructions. Though the old man was certain of the reason behind the strange noises, he decided to let the child learn for himself. Feeling as if a big load was off his mind, Ajit picked his way through the grassy path to the Kulam. As he floated in the still water surrounded by the dense trees, he listened to the bird songs high above. Bulbuls, drongos and flowerpeckers were all twittering away interspersed by the steady tap-tap of an industrious woodpecker. The kingfishers perched at their regular haunts swooping in now and then into the water to snatch a fish. With the tiny fishes nibbling at his feet, he closed his eyes and inhaled deeply as he prepared himself for the night

It was the Tulavarsham (north eastern monsoon) and dark clouds gathered overhead almost every evening. Normally he would spend hours watching the pitter patter of drops falling through the Nadumittam. But today there was work to do, as he gingerly made his way to the Thattinpuram. The last remnants of the evening light was fading quickly. A big huntsman spider lounged nearby. On any other day, he would have spent more time studying it but today, he quickly made the arrangements just like Mavunni had explained and beat a hasty retreat. A window banged somewhere.
After rains
After rains

Dinner consisted of kanji (rice porridge) with chutney and chutta pappadaam (Dry roasted rice fritters) which he insisted on eating with the jack fruit leaf spoon just like his great grandfather used to eat. He wolfed it down quickly ignoring the curious stares and hurried upstairs to wait. A good three hours passed and he was almost nodding off when he heard it.A curious shuffling and scratching. Yes, the sound repeated. The scratching sound was approaching closer to where he stood waiting at the bottom stairs of the Thattinpuram. He hardly dared to breath. And suddenly he saw it.

It was a marapatti – A civet cat !

It had the ripe papaya in its mouth. Its eyes glowed momentarily in the torchlight.As he advanced for a closer look, it spurted a noxious liquid which luckily missed him, before it bounded back to the Thattinpuram and through the window which had flapped open in the rains onto the branches of the peepal tree. The mystery of the Thattinpuram was finally solved.The peepal tree aka the wise old sage had unraveled one more of its mystery !

In the morning, when Ammamma came upstairs, a strange foul smell assailed her senses which almost made her gag. But curiously the obnoxious smell was mixed up with jasmine fragrance wafting from the flowers strewn all over the steps to the Thatthumburam.


His son was tugging at his hand and asking ‘Don’t the flowers smell nice ?’
‘Yes,they do son’ He smiled as he remembered his frantic and ineffectual attempts at masking the Marapatti’s secretion with Jasmine flowers.

Marapatti – Asian palm civet aka the Toddy Cat is an omnivorous animal living on trees.It emits a noxious secretion as a last line of defense when threatened.Though not endangered, Asian palm civets have been drastically affected by increasing deforestation and habitat loss

This post is written for Kissan Nature’s Friends contest. My husband Ajit , an avid nature lover and an active contributor in several bird, butterfly and tree forums, still fondly reminisces about his time in his grandparents’ Naalukettu. He attributes his current passion towards nature to the gay abandonment of those times when boundaries between homes and nature were just imaginary.

The Silent Genocide

Genocide is defined as “The deliberate killing of a large group of people, esp. those of a particular ethnic group or nation.”

The Holocaust during World War II killed more than 6 million European Jews as part of a deliberate extermination program by Hitler’s Germany.In a span of 4 years between 1975 to 1979, the Khmer Rouge organized mass killings of ideologically different groups and ethnic minorities resulting in a death toll pegged at around 2.5 million. One of their mottos for the people they killed was “To keep you in no benefit.To destroy you is no loss” Chairman Mao, under whose administration systemic human rights abuses caused the deaths of over 63 million people in People’s Republic of China, can easily claim the top slot for being responsible for the worst genocide in history.

But what if there were 200 million people already killed and more being killed every minute?Vanishing off this face of earth even before majority had a chance to have an identity.

And what if we might even know the killers.They could be our friends, colleagues, relatives, maids, the person who salutes you or the driver you travel with everyday.

What if it is one of us ?

Genocide with a minor difference. Femicide.”The deliberate killing of a large group of people, esp. gender specific elimination of females.” 200 million women/girls/infants foetuses have been killed,aborted or abandoned through deliberates acts of extermination which is more than all the casualties of World War I and II combined. India and China are the leading countries responsible for the maximum number of deaths, eliminating more girls than the number of girls born in America.

Female Infanticide

India kills her daughters in millions.Of those who manage to survive past the fetus stage, many will die before they turn 6.The 2013 census shows there are 940 females for every 1000 males. The killers are the parents, relatives and caregivers of the child.How would you imagine the face of a killer ? Whatever you imagine would be a far cry from the smiling faced genial looking woman shown in the video below.She smilingly admits to having killed 8 of her female children.Her apparent nonchalance about the act shocks us into a realization of exactly how ubiquitous a practice this has become.How is she different from the average psychopath ? Human beings have been known to adapt to the most bizarre of circumstances where even the most bizarre can get commonplace.Our culture of patrilineal families where male children traditionally inherit,contribute economically and perform last rites gives preference to male off-springs vis-a-vis a female offspring where she is perceived as a liability and a drain on the family’s resources. Exorbitant dowries lends credence to this perception.

In China,the stringent restriction on family sizes and adoption of the one child policy lead to more couples opting to terminate female fetuses.In 1979, when China introduced the one-child policy, the effect was to create a premium on the one child, couples would have and in the second generation of the ‘one-child’ parents, there were no siblings,aunts,uncles or cousins leading to the reliance of the adults on a single child for all economic support.
Generations of male preference along with the tradition of bride money and dowry for females, results in selective abortion. Infants are killed either by the family by drowning,suffocation and starvation, or are killed by the state,where doctors kill third children or infants born without permission.

Keeping aside the human rights violation involved, a skewed sex ratio is a precursor to various other societal ills. There are more ‘free’ unattached men or ‘bare branches’in a society leading to increased crime rate, depression, sexual attacks on women,prostitution and trafficking. More crimes against women would mean more female foeticides and the cycle would continue.Haryana is the worst hit state,with the lowest sex ratio of 877 females per 1000 males.With a complete dearth of brides, families often pay money to a broker to buy a bride from another state.An India Today article reads “A woman costs Rs.30,000, a buffalo Rs.70,000”.

Surprisingly the literacy theory,which is often touted to be the panacea, falls flat when we look at the census data from Jhajjar which has high literacy of 80% but the worst sex ratio of 774 girls per 1000. The 2005 Amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, which allows daughters equal ownership in property, has had a negative impact in Jhajjar where land prices are very high.Here fetuses are aborted as families don’t want the daughters to get a share in the property.

Clearly, the solution needs further consideration. Removing the perceived liability and increasing the economic stature for a girl is most obvious way to go.Easier said than done, legal solutions can help to a certain extent. An interesting case in point is South Korea, the one country that could change this pattern.In the 1990’s South Korea’s sex ratio was as skewed as China’s, but female education, anti-discrimination suits and equal rights rulings worked in its favor.Legal prohibitions, which have been enforced to a certain extent, do help but they have to work hand-in-hand with the larger reformative/supportive practices which encourage girls and increase the ‘value’ the society sees in a girl in the process.

What we direly need is not just ‘literacy’ but ‘education’ which enhances progressive thoughts and inculcates the right values.All traditions which equate a bride with an economic gain have to be strictly dealt with.The traditional practice of sons supporting their parents lies at the root cause of a lot of problems.This can only be changed with female literacy, increased employment opportunities and empowering a woman to support her parental family,financially if required.

We have a long way to go, but all of us in our own small ways can make a difference.In our own life, let us undertake a pledge never to be part of any deed which is gender discriminatory and let us take responsibility for changing the attitudes of the small percentage people who come in contact with us.

Evan Grae Davis speaks about the issue in this video

Franklin Templeton Investments partnered with TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012 and Evan Grae Davis was one of many inspiring speakers at the event.


1.Youtube Video:www.youtube.com/watch?v=42i1sIZ-9kQ

Lives Well Lived

When we look at the problems ailing our country, the usual suspects line up, waiting as usual as they have from the past 66 years, to be solved.Poverty,illiteracy, clean water, electricity for all etc. We know them all,in fact so well by now, that we often tend to take them for granted.Some of us who seriously consider doing something worthwhile, get discouraged by the sheer numbers.In a country of over 1 billion, every problem meta-morphs into gigantic proportions and the sheer magnitude is upsetting.

It is said that all it takes is one idea.An idea that can change the world.But should one tarry indefinitely for that one ‘grand’ idea which would act as the panacea for a multitude of problems ? For all we know, there is no ‘grand’ idea out there waiting to be discovered. The tiniest idea capable of being a solution to the smallest of problems can become a force to reckon with. One neutron can a initiate a nuclear fission. No problem is too small to be tackled and no problem too big, that it cant be broken down to sizable chunks.In the interconnected world of today, ideas are collaborative. Ideas build on other ideas, riding on those that have proved their merit and set in motion an avalanche that suddenly makes the impossible possible.

And amongst us are a small set of people who find the right problems to solve.They are the torch bearers who shake us out of our ennui and show us what is possible if we set our mind to it.

Arunachalam Muruganantham , a TED speaker at TEDxGateway (Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012) asks each one of us to find a problem.A problem that will lead us to design solutions and in the course of which, we will learn to live a meaningful life.
One day he saw his wife resorting to unhygienic methods for her monthly periods as they could not afford the sanitary pads available in the market.A very common scenario in a country where 95% of the women use unhygienic methods including husk and ash ! Arunachalam decided to make his own low cost pads and after repeated trial and errors perfected a machine that today enables rural women to make their own low cost pads.
Being a school drop out or venturing into a totally unconventional domain didn’t stop Arunachalam from tackling the problem and today, its a no mean achievement that 706 machines are now implemented across 23 states giving employment to 7000 women and enabling more than 3.5 million women to adopt more hygienic practices. Watch Arunachalam’s TED talk and one is bound to be amazed at what perseverance can lead to.

It is only through continuous observation and a complete understanding of the needs that one arrives at the correct solution.What one discovers is that solutions need not be complex, but are occasionally very simple and at times, stare at you in the face.This is evident from the solution that Cynthiya Koenig,another TED speaker, has come up with. Water distribution and its inability to reach poor villagers has been a perennial problem.Whenever we think of village women, images of women carrying pots of water on their head comes to mind.But how many of us have given a thought to the chronic health impact,that carrying a 20 litre container across 1 to 2 kms everyday, is bound to have.

Wello Water Wheel Curtsey : wellowater.org
Wello Water Wheel
Curtsey : wellowater.org

And while other people figure out how to make clean water available at the doorstep, Cythiya worked towards making this load a little lighter in the meantime. Wello water wheel, a wheel-able water container that enables transportation of 50 liters of water over rough terrain not only makes this load bearable but also frees up valuable time and empowers them to get involved in more productive activities.Watch Cynthiya’s TED Talk and you will marvel at the simplicity of the solution.

For a gadget to work in a rural setting, the obvious requirements are that it should be economical and easy to use.The less obvious ones are that it should work without electricity, without moving parts enabling a more rugged design and should entail minimum behavior change. Suprio Das designed the Zimba Chlorine Doser to be exactly all of that.In today’s world 780 million people don’t have access to safe drinking water and 4000 children, out of which 1600 are from India alone, die daily due to preventable water borne diseases.In such a bleak scenario,the Zimba Chlorine Doser promises to be a boon by enabling safe drinking water to the poorest. Watch Suprio demonstrate his life-saving invention in his TED talk.

Arunachalam remarks of his Trial & Error method that failure is what you set yourself up for when you embark on a new journey. And it is true for any speaker at the TED forum.Take the case of Myshkin Ingawale who finally got it right after 32 attempts ! He designed a non-prick, easy to use gadget for diagnosing anemia which rural health workers can use at the point of care. Watch Myshkin demonstrate his non-invasive invention in his TED talk, that he believes will rid the world of anemia deaths.

But ideas need not be individual centric. Ideas in a collaborative mode, sometimes can garner a far greater reach and impact.Christian Sarkar’s 300 $ House, a low cost housing project is one such case.The idea, the design and the implementation was all put together in a collaborative mode and came from different people living in different parts of the world. And what resulted was the housing development for an entire village in Bihar. Watch Christian’s TED talk on how they strung it all together.

And sometimes, its not about a ‘big-bang’ idea at all. It just about witnessing situations around us and deciding to get involved.Working with people to bring about changes in mindsets is , by far, the most challenging aspect in all of this and people like Mittal Patel and Ruma Roki deal with this challenging aspect on a day to day basis.

Mittal works with over 300 Nomadic and Denotified tribes of India to give them their long lost identity and a place in today’s world.Snake charmers, street performers, are people from our yester-lives who got left behind in a fast paced world.Today 10 crores people form a part of these tribes who are not counted anywhere as they lack an identity.
She worked relentlessly and for the first time in 2008, managed to get 20000 of these people an identity card.Today her organization runs 26 schools enabling education for more than 1000 children of these tribes and works to provide access to identity cards, housing and government welfare schemes. Listen to her TED talk to hear her inspiring tale of grit and determination.

Ruma’s tale is also a tale of determination and of defying the odds where she works with hearing impaired people to enable them to live with dignity.She talks about how her work was cut out when she sought to disassociate the word ‘dumb’ from deaf from people’s mind. Listen to her TED talk to know how she got 580 of her hearing impaired students to work for leading organizations.

There are many more inspiring stories to be told and lessons to be learned from them. The common thread in all of them is that they are people who decided to take that crucial first step. As we listen to each one of them, they erode away little by little some of our inertia to act and show us that the steps are there for those who look for it. If we view problems as the opportunity to enrich our lives with more meaning, then there are plenty to pick from. As Arunachalam says, we all have to find our own problems to solve in life and live more meaningful lives in the process.

Cobwebs of the mind

Note to readers: This post is slightly explicit in nature and might affect the sensibilities of some people.

A girl walking along a corridor stares back at a group of boys insolently staring at her.After she passes them, they snigger calling her a ‘randi’,which means a whore in Hindi.This is not an incident from some remote hinterland and neither are the boys some illiterate lumpen elements. These are youngsters in an engineering college in north India.

Curtsey : http://www.123rf.com
Royalty Free Photos

Denigration of women,by terming her a whore,is commonly done for a variety of reasons.Reasons could vary from something as innocent as a girl looking a man directly in the eyes to the way she walks, the dresses she wears or the company she keeps.Sexual exploits of men are often seen as reinforcing commonly held perceptions of manhood but a woman’s even perceived transgressions can be termed sluttish.It can be shocking to note the sexually degrading terms very commonly used for women even in the so called ‘educated’ masses.This degradation also justifies the assault on such women in the minds of such people. One can stop a person from speaking words like ‘dented and painted’ but does that purge the thought from the minds of such people and from many others, who would in their minds, condone it. The spoken creates ripples but the unspoken remains buried in the depths ticking like a time bomb.

While sexual frustration is a reality for most Indian men brought up in a conservative society shackled with a rigid set of moral codes, the potpourri of a misogynistic attitude fostered by a healthy dose of a patriarchal upbringing revering a male child and stifling moral codes for a women are enough to develop an exceedingly regressive mentality.

While there would hardly be a man who might look away from a scantily dressed woman, the difference between a man with a normal sex drive versus a man who is capable of transgressing the boundaries lies in the filters through which a base impulse has to pass through. These filters are societal filters, education filters,family values and cultural upbringing, respect for individual and personal integrity filters. When these filters are missing, the impulse comes through as a base carnal instinct which is devoid of any other emotion.

In a society, where a woman oscillates from being a Goddess to a slut, it becomes trying to maintain a balance. As one observes the different behavioral patterns, one can easily differentiate three distinct classes –

1.People who are conservative imbibing a strict sense of gender specific moralities but are respectful towards women and intrinsically have strong family values and personal integrity
2.People who are conservative and have a misogynistic mindset
3.People who are liberal in views and truly view women as equals.

People in the second category are the most likely to transgress to crimes against women.But if we really want our country to progress and provide a common platform for women to be really ‘equal’, then the transformation needs to happen even for the first category of people.

When we talk about people’s regressive mindsets with women’s crimes serving as the context, we invariably direct it at men. But society doesn’t comprise of men alone, it comprises of women too. And regressive mindsets don’t just exist in the male population. As women, we too need to free ourselves from old adages and expectations or falling prey to commonly accepted gender stereotyping. These are questions that a woman needs to ask of herself.How equal is ‘equal’? Why do women still need knights in shining armor to rescue them ? Why do women still look for husbands who are more qualified and having better jobs than them ? Are we responsible for the choices we make or do we voluntarily shy away from making choices ? Do we stand up for what we think is right ? Yes, biologically men are stronger but we are not involved in hand-to-hand combat on a daily basis, so its time to stop thinking of ourselves as the weaker sex.Stop being sidelined or being victimized. As women, we need to stop appearing helpless and instead find solutions to solve practical problems.

The transformation is needed at multiple levels and needs to be tailored to address the different strata of society. Strategies for the grass root level would typically need to differ from the others.Gender sensitivity needs to be inculcated through awareness campaigns by the government and corporates. Rigid control needs to be followed in how women are represented in public media. Advertisements and films need to be monitored and corrected for skewed depictions of women. Films and popular public idols can play a huge role in driving home key messages,especially to people,at the grass root level. Strengthening judiciary and police to enable support systems for women and faster trials for cases. All women should mandatorily train in basic self-defence.Our education system should introduce value based education and a scientific temper.They should enable men and women to come together and interact in forums at an intellectual and emotional level.Inculcate sensitization and appreciation of a human being separate from the gender of the person.

A life time of conditioning cannot be undone in a day, but the liberation needs to happen from within and somewhere we all have to sit down and clear out some of those cobwebs from our minds.

Happy New Year 2013 to all my readers !