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You'll be surprised to know what Mahatma Gandhi suggested as a solution to eve-teasing

alarm_on 2017-01-07 11:03:57
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In the winter of 1938  a college girl from the Punjab, wrote a letter to Mahatma Gandhi complaining about the teasing and harassment that she and her companions experienced at the hands of prowling young men. "First of all," this young lady asked Gandhi, "tell me how, in the circumstances mentioned above, can girls apply the principle of ahimsa and save themselves. Secondly, what is the remedy for curing youth of the abominable habit of insulting womenfolk?"

Gandhi replied to this young girl's query on his newspaper "Harijan" in a article titled "Students' Shame"it was published in Harijan's issue dated December 31, 1938. Replying in the pages of Harijan, Gandhi recognized that such molestation by men was a "growing evil" in India. He recommended that "all such cases should be published in the newspapers. Names of the offenders should be published when they are traced." For "there is nothing like public opinion for castigating public misconduct." Indeed, he argued, "crime and vice generally require darkness for prowling. They disappear when light plays upon them."




While urging victims to name and shame those who harassed them, Gandhi also asked well-behaved men to chastise the deviants among their own flock. Young men, he said, should "as a class, be jealous of their reputation and deal with every case of impropriety occurring among their mates". Gandhi also accepted the need for young women themselves to "learn the art of ordinary self-defence and protect themselves from indecent behaviour of unchivalrous youth".

In between acknowledging the problem and offering solutions, Gandhi spoilt his case by launching an unprovoked attack on the dress code of the modern woman. For all the evil that males did, he remarked,"I have a fear that the modern girl loves to be Juliet to half a dozen Romeos. She loves adventure. My correspondent seems to represent the unusual type. The modern girl dresses not to protect herself from wind, rain and sun but to attract attention. She improves upon nature by painting herself and looking extraordinary. The non-violent way is not for such girls."

Source : The Telegraph

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