Wednesday, December 2, 2020

I’m on my way!

Dr. Suvarna Ragini

Come November and it reminds us about the brutal and gruesome murder of a young aspiring doctor; the incident which sparked outrage across the entire nation. It’s almost one year and though the case was solved within a day there was no period for such incidents. We continue to witness assaults and attacks on weaker sexes. The question-where lies the lacuna? continues to haunt every thinking person of the society. In this case it is claimed that a quicker reaction by someone could have saved the victim’s life.

It was a regular class of open elective for the B.Tech final year students. The course was Gender Sensitization. As a faculty concerned and as part of the class discussion I was addressing the issue of the brutal abduction, gang rape and murder of a young aspiring doctor ‘Disha’ witnessed by every one of us a year ago. When the younger sister was contacted by the desperate ‘Disha’ narrating her ordeal, she was advised to go and stand in a brighter and illuminated place to which Disha was reluctant.  That was the immediate responsive thought process and reaction displayed by a sister. I turned towards the boys and asked them “had you been in Disha’s sister’s place what would be your reply”?  Before I could complete the question, the answer was hurled like a dart from a corner of the classroom in a desperate tone “I’m on my way”! The entire class was thrilled by the riposte. It was Rohith, a final year Engineering student.

The response by Rohith was actually an eye-opener and a complete consolidation of my entire course of Gender Sensitization which I‘ve been teaching for the past couple of years.The striking difference between a sister’s reaction and a brother’s reaction to save their sibling is truly thought provoking. It paved way to many questions. What kind of socialization and gender sensitivity are we providing for our future generation? When will we stop giving safety instructions to girls and allow them to grow and exist naturally? When will we teach boys to treat the girls with regard? Why should the girls be at heart insecure and vulnerable? Shouldn’t they have the courage and conviction to silence their detractors?  Isn’t it time to let the flame of intellectual discourse burn bright and change the basic mindsets? Even the Supreme Court in its 54-page judgment mentioned “mindset” four times and “stereotypes/stereotypical five times. A thrilled senior advocate, Aishwarya Bhati exclaimed that what the Supreme Court has demolished is the mindset after it ordered the Indian Army to uphold the Constitution’s guarantee of right to equal opportunity on 19 February 2019. On February 25, the Army issued a circular announcing that they have decided to grant women officers Permanent Commission (PC) in eight Arms /services. 

Undoubtedly the need for this sensitivity has been felt and realized through times immemorial. The question, however, arises that how far we have achieved those goals? Isn’t it high time we made the young girls and boys gender sensitive and create positive values that support the girls and their rights?

Yes! We are all waiting to hear a sister say I’m on my way!

Dr. Suvarna Ragini
Dr. Suvarna Ragini

(The author is an Assistant Professor (faculty teaching life skills and behavioral skills) at Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, TS. Her mobile: 9885707771, mail id: [email protected])

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