Courtesy

An the A-Hole award goes to…

10:02 AM

If you are on FB and connected to people in India chances are you saw this pics in your feed:


delhi metro jerks

The captions of said picture: “These 2 idiots fought with a lady carrying a baby over seat on Delhi Metro lets make them famous”, posted on a political party campaign page (link given just to give due credit to the picture, the issue at hand should transcend political view and campaigns).

This picture is a bit disturbing of course, not just because two self entitled pieces of chromosome XY took seats reserved to ladies, but because there are ladies in need right next to them, and also a metro full of passenger that didn’t offer their non-ladies seats to the lady carrying a baby. As for the caption that says the lady fought, no real evidence really point to that, but for someone to snap a picture of these two idiots in a busy metro, something must have happened. So that lead me to think that there might have been an opinion voiced, the second thing that points me to think something happened and these asses refused to move is the fact that the moron on the left seems to be giving his finger to the photographer…in a discreet way, but still, it is clearly a middle finger shown here and nobody scratch their face like that. And of course if you look even closer (which I did) you will see that one of the lady is looking straight at the offenders.

This picture speaks more than a thousand words, on lack of respect, lack of civism, and how women are perceived in India. Issues that I have written about in the past. The story of two men sitting in seats very clearly marked as LADIES seat, refusing to offer said seats to a woman carrying a baby, simply because India’s patriarchal society has elevated males to the status of Demi-Gods while granting the status of second rate citizen to the penis-less gender. A country were in many places men still expect and are served food before all the females in the house, men that grew up having sisters bowing to them on Rakshabandhan asking for their protection (a duty that should never been asked for formally between siblings to begin with), then have their wives fast once a year for their longevity, and in between having various female figures bring them food, water, at will, a wife that should never deny him the pleasure of the flesh…
How can a man that grew up with such ridiculously inflated status think women should actually be given a seat in the metro? How? Chances are that this breed of jerks doesn’t even notice women or even see them as human beings.

Bless their little souls, they have probably spent a lifetime spoiled silly by their mothers and sisters, and being told they rule the world.

The caption is right, let’s make them “famous”, but not without dousing them with shame, let them be the poster children of what is wrong with India today, let them be the spear head of a antiquated mindset piggybacking on progress and modernity. After all they are two backward idiots riding on Delhi’s most modern public transport system…apt isn’t it?

This picture also made me think of what I have experienced and see outside India. First Geneva Switzerland, where I was born and grew up. We have a bus and tramway system there, and at peak hour it is packed, far more packed than this metro car is. So packed that on many occasion I found myself to wait 2-3 trams before boarding. Yet even on  a packed one you will always see a few people standing up to offer their seats to a mother or a senior citizen. We are told to do so from an early age, and it is drilled into my head that when seats are few they go to people that need them more than I do. Like all kids from my generation I learned to stand up and say “Ma’am please have my seat”. There were no specially marked seats for women, disabled and senior citizens in my city, it was just freaking common sense that a person holding a small child in one arm could not ride standing up long, and that an elderly walking with a cane could not stand up and hold a handle with strength on a public transport ride full of turns, bumps, accelerations and stops.
Most European cities that have metros seem to have the very same type of special seats you will see above, reserved for pregnant women, people with small children, disabled and elderly. These seats usually remain empty or are occupied by the people belonging to the categories they are meant for, and at peak hours people still offer their seats marked or not to those more in need regularly enough.

But the award of utmost courtesy and civism in public transport goes to Bangkok, I spent two days there, riding the metro a lot. And it never failed, the instant I would step in the train, someone would instantly stand up and gesture for me and Ishita to take their seats. EVEN in a half empty train with still other seats available. It seemed even automatic, people see a lady with children, or a senior citizen coming in and they rise instantly. On the first day we were commuting to our hotel by metro, and it was peak hours, like all the peak hours trains around the world it was packed, and we didn’t mind standing up, this is when one man quietly tapped me on my shoulder and offered his seat to Ishita, who was at higher risk of getting squished in that crowd. To me it speaks volume, because even in Europe where the sense of civism is already high people do not really tend to see children standing on their own in a crammed train as worthy of giving their seats, but people in Bangkok seemed to think a young child should be given a seat, and by extension the mother of said child. But then even the lonely planet mentions that a great deal of respect is accorded to women in Thailand, and as a not so surprising fact, even rape cases are less common, (not meaning they do not occur, apparently just not as often as lets say…ahem…India).

Back to India, even if you leave the appalling status women receive still, there is the issue of civism still being one, or lack of said civism to be exact. The same lack of it that push people to not think twice before throwing plastic bottles on the ground, not looking before they spit paan, and pushing their way instead of queuing…even in a department store meant for the educated and well off lot. That these two assholes were on ladies seats is one thing, that no one in the whole car stood up to offer their seat is a whole other, and an equally disturbing one at that. It appears that every single sitting soul in that metro felt they had a sense of entitlement and privilege over these seats and were therefore immune to perform an act of kindness. Something I saw too many times over the year, heck as a lady with a baby in a pram I have even been given dirty looks for trying to push said pram into a lift, full of young, very abled people that didn’t feel like taking one flight of stairs, or the escalator in the mall, and didn’t even feel like relinquishing their elevator spot to the lady who could due to some wheels related constrains not take the one flight of stairs she would otherwise take. Then of course I faced looks of alarm when people saw me take said pram on the escalator, titled at an angle…heck I even had people kindly asking me why I was not taking the lift…good question indeed. Why? Why indeed? Because there are self entitled pompous bums families that cram them, and look offended if I squish myself in or even in some case asked me blatantly to wait for the next one. There have even been security officers and lift operators that kindly asked said nincompoops to make way for the lady with child that have been barked back at rudely with nobody even raising an eyebrow…the well off money loaded assholes has the right of way, anybody challenging his right to be first on an elevator meant for people less abled be damned…especially when said challenger is from the working class strata.

The problem of India? A patriarchal society coupled with a highly hierarchical society which still function on a feudal system but “prides” itself on being the largest democracy in the world…without really knowing what a democracy is.  

20 comments

  1. I travel by delhi metro every day and I can shed some light over this fact. Yes there are men who sit on ladies seat and do not get up for a lady/pregnant lady. There are also men who get up and give seats to ladies/old men even when they are not sitting on seats reserved for ladies/old. They see a lady/old man entering and give up their seats. No, these are not just middle class/educated men. They are what we lovingly refer to as mysgonic/rural/patrical. I have seen young girls not giving up seats for older women in ladies compartment of metro. Young couples sit on seats meant for old/diable and refuse to vacate them. The point I wish to make that such acts are committed by all people irrespective of gender, age, class etc. The reverse is also true.
    It is more to do with competition than gender. It is one hell of a effort to get into a metro/any public transport in India. I don't know whether you have any experince of public transport in India. Everyone is competing for space men, women, old peole, children. This makes people prize the seat more on a long journey. This tendency is prevelant everywhere. Nobody wants to travel like this but we have no choice. Men and women come into physical contact not intentionally but due to accident. I will make my way because I am getting late. If that means pushing a lady so be it, which I generally avoid. The metro is actually what India has become today. Men and women trying to compete for scare resources but due to perceived biases against Indian men, they are on the receiving end. I think 90% of men just want to go home. Some may want to indulde in some handky panky but rest of them are gentlemen. It sure hard to be an Indian man these days.

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  2. There is a pink coach in Delhi Metro which is meant exclusively for women. Apparantly, we are all molestors and gropers from whome women need to be saved. Instead of empowering women to find their voice, they are excluded and compartmantalized. What happens is that we have one coach less for men to travel. We have to squeeze into the remaining coaches somehow. Is this not gross injustice. Have we have not paid our fair? All because of perceived biases and preconceived notions. It leaves me seething with anger. Am I a molestor?

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  3. There are ladies coach in the Mumbai local train too, and I think that their existence in themselves is wrong, why the need to segregate the gender? Just punish the ones committing crimes, and I agree with you, not all men are molesters, a minority are and they are giving a giant bad rep to all the decent guys out there, the problem of crimes against women is an issue that concern absolutely everybody and the gentlemen out there need to speak up

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  4. I also wanted to say that I have never seen ladies only train and coaches outside India and their existence here never really stroke me as a solution! more like a symptom of a very dysfunctional system.

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  5. The pricing seats in a crowded train is a world phenomenon, as I said! the public transport in Geneva are equally crammed and suffocating at peak hours, same in Paris, Rome and London, or Zurich...what is shocking me more in India is the pushing, kicking, and urge to be first, and how some think they have that special entitlement not to follow basic courtesy laws which we actually call civism back home, that set of unspoken rules that are meant to make everybody,a lives easier: queue nicely, do not litter, care for your neighbours, come to the help of a person in need instantly without waiting for them to ask for help...these are notions that are far more sketchy in India and interestingly I noticed that those showing the most blatant disregards are the well and very well off, super educated lot, same lot that will blame every problems India face on the lack of education. That was the second part of my blog article, people need to start acting like the democracy they are proud to be and be more action and less bragging words. And that is the educated segment that need to start changing for the chain reaction to follow suit.

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  6. apple1:20 PM

    We compete for everything right from birth. You how difficult it is to get nursery admission in schools. It is more difficult and complicated than a job interview. In India, the crowds do not thin away. They keep on pouring. You have to make a decision whether you want to be courteous or get to office because there is every chance of you left stranded on the platform. The solution is crowd management which many times is not proper and well thought out leading to mishaps in pilgrimages. When you are competing in other walks of life, you get an idea that everyone is out there to beat you, it spills everywhere. This is where the aggression comes.

    The Kumba Mela in Allahabad is a shinning example of crowd management. They actually build a city the size of New York or Paris on the bank of river and manage it for many months. I think a few crore people come to take bath in the holy waters. Some say between three to ten crores. The effort that goes into keeping the place clean and providing electricity, toilets etc to the devotees, is something seen to be believed. The traffic management through the city is amazing. All this is ofcourse well thought off. Its the world's biggest crowd management act. If we can do it there, we can do it elsewhere also.
    Indians don't like authority for a simple reason because for the better part of our history we were under somebody's rule. We were never owners of our distiny. The native rulers and the British ruled the country. It was never a people friendly rule unlike in the west where people build the systems and were proud of them. I may be be wrong but the inequily and oppression in the country has left Indians very competitive and bitter.

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  7. And you inspired another blog post specific to that pink coach thing. I had time on my hands to write today and scheduled it for tomorrow morning.

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  8. apple1:34 PM

    Here is an interesting discussion on NDTV about women's participation in politics. These are mostly young women speaking their mind. Quiet and eye opener

    http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/prime-time/video-story/312717

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  9. Beatrix2:06 PM

    "We were never owners of our distiny. The native rulers and the British ruled the country."

    So when are Indians going to 'own their destiny' (take the reins, accept the responsibilities) instead of blaming everything on the British/'native rulers'?
    What is it going to take?

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  10. The problem is that India agreed to be a democracy out of their own free will, and a democracy means following the rules and laws. If one don't like rules and laws and think they are immune to said law, we have a regime called anarchy on our hands, and no one ends up being in charge of their destiny under a arachist regime either, in the end everybody feels restricted and oppressed just the same. What I see in India is a rebellious teenager right now. Like a teenager the entire univers is wrong while the teenager is right by default, rules and laws sucks, until said teenager suddenly realise they are to be held accountable for their own mess...this seems to be that stage now. That stage at which India needs to realise that they have power, but responsibilities that come with it, and that the blame game cannot really go on forever.

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  11. I don't think Indian even feel like they are the owner of their own destiny today but it is easier to blame it on the ghosts from the pasts rather than accept that the post independence system that was put in place needs some adjusting, an adjusting that India as an independent nation is now solely in charge to make herself.

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  12. apple5:24 PM

    This separation creates more fear among women and resentment among men. Are we going to create separate office, malls etc. for women. Is this the equality that women strive for?? Women need equality and respect within the system. What is does is compunds the problem many folds in the eyes of everyone. If one creates suspicion and fear in the mind of one half of the population against the other half, this is never going to empower anyone.
    I think it has to do with separation of sexes in childhood. Women are told that men are evil, and men and told, well they are not told anything about women. This breeds confusion and chaos in the minds of young people. Many young men have very difficulty in understanding their own feelings towards women because there is no social outlet for such feelings. They are unable to relate to women as individuals beyond the set role of mother, sister etc. When these pent up feeling stagnate, they come out in the form of harrassment. The only coaching manual is Bollywood which teaches men to approach women on the streets by songs and teasing. In real life, ofcourse this is a nuisance for women. Ninety percent of time it is pure confusion mixed with harmonal turbulance. men are on an emotional roller coaster. It is similar to the experience one has when one is thrown into water and do not know how to swim. There are questions which come with puberty which must be properly answered for both men and women.
    I am not trying to defend Indian men but I feel that they too need to be saved from what society does to them. Men are actually not empowerd bu disempowered. Sexual education and gender skills are usually given the go by in every family. The result is often truamatic experience for both the men and women after marriage. This is actually the foundation of most of the social evils that afflict India.
    Come to think of it, I never talked to girls in my class till I hit teenage. For me, they were not part of my world. I was not anti girl but that's how they were when I was a child. The day Indian men and women start to interact freely more than half of our problems would vanish. Wishful thinking I guess.
    Whew..... now that I have got it off my chest, if feel so light. I hope I did not offend you.

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  13. Nope you haven't offended me one bit. the blog post I scheduled to go live tomorrow will touch this topic and the need to stop segregating genders to solve the issue we are facing in India

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  14. Lilianchen9:34 PM

    I can only laugh at this whole thing. i dont think its fair to call the system dysfunctional.when i was in Birmingham shopping with my toddler in adepartment store my girlrpulled a whole stack of shirts on the ground. I immediately apologised and proceeded to put them on the rack but the staff simply shoved my girl so rashly that she fell and hurt herself. This resulted in a feud with the manager and what not which ended up in me apologising for the whole thing!!!!. And this not only happened once but four or five times in the 6 yrs i lived in UK. Sure i couldn't have a seat when i travelled in Guangzhou(China) and Kolkata and Hyderabad but atleast my kids weren't glared at or i didn't completely feel lost when we relocated to India/China. thanks to the uber friendly people and my lovely neighbours.

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  15. Laugh all you want at it, the fact that some think they are immune to courtesy is crass the world over, and in India there is a deep rooted problem when it comes to women. As for friendliness? I have seen friendly people the world over it is not limited just to India, and assholes aren't limited to one place either. However there is a lack of civism in India that isn't as blatant in Europe. And being European, I know that kids in public need to behave to ridiculously high standards, in Switzerland you can even forget taking a toddler to a nice restaurant or even out for dinner without getting some serious frowns directed at you. Every nations have their dysfunctions, in Europe the lack of tolerance for small children in public space is as much a problem as some people in India treating women as second grade citizens and feeling they have a birth right to be immune to courtesy obligations and are above using something as common as a dustbin even when there is one around for them to use. In 10 years in India I can't tell you how many times I was in places where a nice big dustbin marked "use me" stayed empty while the rest of the park, beach, garden lay littered in trash.

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  16. Sylvia Delafieldld11:54 AM

    I agree with Lilian. India and china are densely populated countries and you cannot simply call the whole system dysfunctional while you're still living in it. Would you have kept quiet if they had done the same thing with your daughter? Would you have apologised if they shoved your daughter in public? What high expectations can you have from a two or three year old. I had faced the same thing as lilian around 3 years ago. Forget about friendly you cant even expect neighbours in Europe to have an ounce of Humanity. When my Father in law needed medical help we just asked the neighbour for some help regarding multispeciality hospitals only to have the door slammed in our face. We wouldn't have asked but because of language barrier we were facing problems so we thought of asking them since he was a practicing surgeon.High Expectations? Now i now WHAT to actually expect from them. That Dust Bin thingy is not just in India but in US China and Europe as well. Go visit Brighton beach and you will know how it is. Empty beer cans, potato crisps packet all littered that too on a gorgeous beach. I hadn't seen that much trash even at marina beach in Chennai.Now try calling Europe dysfunctional. My very own neighbour in US refused to share her pediatrician's number when mine was unavailable and it killed me to see my son suffering at 3 in the morning. Thank goodness we atleast had 911.I've seen my fair share of assholes who grope at the chance they get, have zero civic sense, trash emptied in front of my driveway, cabdrivers who fleeced me and two people point a gun to a lady's head in the coach i was sitting in MY hometown(Atlanta) itself but i wouldn't call US dysfunctional at any cost. We dont have special ladies coach in the US and none of the men or women offered up their seat for my pregnant friend. In China too they have special privileges for ladies and pregnant women unlike US and Europe. That is their way of functioning. There is no correct system in the world. Get that in your head. There are so many things we dislike about a place but the very same people will also find faults with our system.

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  17. Where exactly did I say Europe was functional???? In my comment above I said that the way kids are regarded as a nuisance in most of Europe is as dysfunctional as the women issues and lack of civism in India, but I will not budge on the fact that India has a less ingrained sense of civism than I have seen across Europe...especially in SWITZERLAND, where I am from. I call shit shit wherever this is, and I don't make excuses for it...period.

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  18. And where did I say it was the WHOLE, I emphasise on the WHOLE system being dysfunctional? Please read correctly, I said that the presence of ladies trains and coach aren't a solution but the symptoms of a dysfunctional system, in this case not the whole of India, but the part that touches women and their right.

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  19. I think what you've touched on here is a massive difference between Indian hospitality and western hospitality. The treatment of women and the mere thought of human value are vastly different in India (and other Asian and Middle Eastern nations) than in the proverbial west.

    Here in the southern US, a woman can expect a man to open and hold the door for her whether he knows her or not. Your car door is opened by your date or husband, your chair is scooted under the table for you and it's expected a man will stand up and give a woman his seat. None of this occurs on a widespread basis in India. Instead it's just the opposite. Men have the sense of entitlement in India (and other surrounding nations). They aren't raised with the same hospitality and courtesies as you and I have been.

    Whether it's wrong or right is irrelevant. Hospitality towards women (as I mentioned with the southern US culture) is another thing that promotes inequality. Why should women get special treatment? Why can't we open the door for men. In India I think the biggest issue is the concept that women are the weaker sex. This isn't new or unique to India and it certainly isn't everyone acting that way BUT, it's something that the entire world seems to be struggling with in one form or another. Women can't be loved and revered for their individual strengths. They must be controlled or labeled based on someone else's ideals - and those ideals are not always coming from men. Women are far worse at segregating ourselves than men are sadly!

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  20. Abhishek Wadhwa1:38 AM

    The very notion of the fact that you assume that a lady carrying a child is helpless and weak is itself misogynist and sexist, the way we say women are second class citizens. Now, lets come to this pic.see, the thing is, this way of maligning their(two guys) character publicly is not the way to go about it, the cause here is appreciated but at the same time we need to understand that we were not present there so we do not know as to what exactly transpired. It could be that these ladies were trying to get down to the next station and seeing those seats being vacated these guys sat on them knowing that there wasn't any other female right around them which i have seen happen umpteen number of times. It could also be that they gave those seats just after this pic was taken or were going to give it to them, or also it could be that these ladies just entered the metro coach when the pic was taken.And if only u had looked more closely, the lady in the figure is looking at one of the guys with a sly grin, so it could also have been that she gave the seat on her own to these fellows who were in need of it. So there are multiple reasons to it, we are just speculating on a grand scale and can do away by not using such high animosity language on them,unless otherwise you have already assumed them to be guilty and believe the entire 650 million Indian(more than twice America's population) behave in the same way like they do.If that were to be the case,then we would have had flurry of such instances. Can we really judge them by looking at a pic which shows an incident worth fraction of a second? No. I agree the most plausible reason here seems to be; them being arrogant and stubborn of not giving their seats.But we are not sure and i wonder had the roles been reversed, would we publicly defame any girl on a social site?.I repeat the cause is to be appreciated "BUT" not by shaming them, not by showing their faces,not by hurling shoes at them,not wanting them to be burnt alive as few people mentioned on twitter,for we are the ones who feel that those who leak MMS, pics without anyone's consent to be illegal, immoral and detest them unequivocally and here we are doing pretty much the same thing without thinking twice over it .No men are not Demi-gods, yes ours is not as much egalitarian a society as you have in the west. We have abysmal literacy rate, widespread patriarchy,social issues but that has a long history and it takes lot of time to have unity equality and sense of feminism on such a divided society, but taking this isolated incident and generalizing it on the entire male fraternity of India is hitting bellow the bell.We do need to work on our civic sense and courteousness but at-least we don't do moral policing without taking into account "Human Rights' like the Western powers do.

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