Sanjeev Kotnala: LESSONS WASTED: You need to protect yourself

10 Dec,2014

By Sanjeev Kotnala


Uber Rape is the name social media has given to the unfortunate event in Delhi. As expected, the verdict was out much before the culprit was apprehended. The discussions and debates as usual will continue for some time. The questions raised are important, but soon, we would get back to our routine. We will forget the lessons learnt until the next incident. Then once again the collective conscience will demonstrate another blip. We would believe we have done our part of the duty. We will demonstrate adaptability and flexibility by accepting the state we live in.


Banning Uber and all app-based taxi services is a perfect example of kneejerk reaction from the powers-that-be. It had to show some action. I am surprised no one asked for the resignation of some minister. We will have to wait to see, how soon it be erased from the collective memory of the citizen, the government, the brands and the consumers?


If one was to believe the government, then Uber and other app-based taxi services are unsafe ONLY in Delhi. ONLY Delhi police is at fault for providing an unfair character certificate. ONLY the car-owners in Delhi hiring such drivers are at fault. Life in the rest of the country goes on.


The underpaid and overworked policemen along with the Uber management have taken the easy way out. Someone else is paying the price for it. They have flouted the processes designed to deliver on the ‘unsaid promise of Safety’. Uber must be prosecuted for this.


Trust is one thing and allowing rampant process failure another. The consumer banks upon the brand that they trust to be diligent in their processes. However, loopholes exist and we remain culpable to repeated offence. Uber and the Delhi police or the car-owners are not the only one exploiting the system or taking the easy way out. Hence, what is needed is a system overhaul.


Maybe it’s time that the police team that gave the wrong certificate, the car owner who was not diligent in seeking proper documentation be tried as accomplice/ abetting rape. So should we all, who do not respect law. We hardly find it necessary to get police verification for our household help (drivers included). We pride ourselves in bribing to get certificates. Yet, we find someone else doing so wrong!


We repeatedly elect politicians known to be corrupt. Educated senior employees indulge in sexual exploitation with no fear. People known to the victim commit most rapes and sexual misconduct. Yet, what we do is accept and adapt.


We live in a jungle raj. No one can deny that. The government has repeatedly demonstrated its impotence in controlling such acts. The laws are not stringent enough. The police-government-friends-families and all around are insensitive and just voyeuristic b*****ds. They speak politically correct language. They all remain immune because they believe it will never happen to them.


Even if you disagree in current state of affairs, the onus of safe conduct for women and other people rests entirely on them as an individual and partially on us as part of the society that allows it to continuously torment us. Risking being called prudish and unprogressive, I share what I ask every female acquaintance to follow. These no way are foolproof. Following them is no guarantee of safety. These can act as a deterrent.


1. This country is not safe. DO NOT take a cab or any public transport service alone at night.
2. The males of this country cannot be trusted. DO NOT get outnumbered in male company in evening parties and events. Seek the safety in numbers.
3. The people around you cannot be trusted. Enjoy life. Learn that enjoying does not necessarily mean drinking. DO NOT drink more than you can handle.
4. ALWAYS get a male to drop you. If there is no male, then leave in company of other female friends.
5. Use the technology; ALWAYS share the CAB NUMBER PLATE and the MUG SHOT of the driver on WHATSAPP before starting the journey.
6. During the journey, ALWAYS remain in touch with someone trustworthy. Talk to them. Repeat the CAB INFORMATION.
7. Do not hesitate. ALWAYS carry the SPRAY. Hold it in your hand, so that you do not have to search for it in case the need arises. Use if at slightest provocation. This country can leave with coughing irritated males.
8. Know your city. Know your routes. Know the people you are with. NEVER ask/ seek help from unknown people.
9. NEVER get out of the crowded part of the city.
10. ALWAYS keep the windows of the hired vehicle open.
11. If you are driving by yourself, NEVER stop until you reach your destination.
12. People will take care of themselves. DO NOT stop to help anyone if you are driving alone.
13. Do take a course on self-defence.


Meanwhile pray that no such incidents happen. It seems only God can save women in this country.




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