Invisibility might help on South Asian Streets

Yesterday through Melinda Casino's post, I found the Blank Noise Project which featured a Blog-a-thon to highlight problems due to eve-teasing. This project currently runs in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Eve teasing is essentially a range of activities, practised by men, targeting women, and is a broad term that could mean anything from butt pinching to breast squeezing or ripping duppattas off. Yes, in this day and age, in a country that is supposedly entering world stage, these things happen. Reading through the comments on the BNP page brought back bitter memories of personal humiliations.

I'd pushed that to the back of my mind when I chanced upon Indrajit Samarajiva at indi.ca. Nosing around I found an entry on hubba hubba. Here's how he describes it:

This is a serious issue, however, I would like to draw attention to a lesser pandemic striking Colombo itself. There are reports of Sri Lankan boys visiting respectable houses, playing cards and taking off their pants... Why Sri Lankan men cannot behave themselves in public is beyond me.

Holland's proposed law banning hijab on public streets was a hot topic of discussion yesterday. To many Westerners, the hijab is a symbol of oppression, Muslim anger at the world. But in our countries, it acts as a physical barrier protecting women. Maybe ten years back, Indian poetess Kamala Das converted to Islam. I had written about it on my personal blog a while back. An important reason she gave for her conversion was the purdah or hijab that Muslim women wore. It gave her a sense of protection, she said, from the eve teasing that she had had to endure as a younger female. If South Asian men don't learn to behave themselves on streets, maybe more and more women will need to turn to the hijab.

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