The Nirbhaya incident in December 2012 provoked nationwide outrage with protests and demonstrations all over. It sparked off a debate not only on the issue of women’s safety but also social attitudes, values, education, empowerment and awareness. The agitation resulted in a strong law, which was unanimously supported by all political parties. Many a political party jumped on to the bandwagon and promised among other things enhanced security including women commando force. The courts too did not lag behind. Besides handing out the harshest punishment to the guilty in the Nirbhaya case, they also called for strict enforcement of the Vishakha guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court.
Unfortunately, the situation has not changed much. Incidents of rapes and molestations, which were taboo in many parts of the country such as Kolkata and Mumbai, have become frequent. Even small children are not being spared. Sexual harassment at workplace has touched a nadir with the names of many eminent journalists and even judges surfacing off and on.
Though Lok Sabha elections are barely few months away, none of the major political parties or leaders is pelling out specific measures they plan to implement, except mouthing platitudes about women’s empowerment.
However, what is heartening is that away from media glare, many civil society and spiritual organisations are silently working on the issue towards creating awareness and bringing about a change in societal attitudes towards women, who constitute 49% of our population.
The All India Campaign on “Woman Safety- Our Safety” & “Save Women-Save Nation” undertaken by Women’s Wing of Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya deserves a mention in this regard.
This campaign aims at creating public awareness and sensitisation against atrocities, abuse, injustice, deprivation, discrimination, ill-treatment and violence in all forms perpetrated on women at all levels of society - whether at home, workplace, community or during socio-cultural and religious rites and rituals.
This nationwide programme also aims at educating and enlightening the masses on the efficacy and virtues of treating women with respect, dignity, equality, justice & fair-play without any kind of gender bias, prejudice, complexes and discrimination.
This crusade is being carried out in both urban and rural areas. The content and main message of the campaign have been the dissemination of spiritual wisdom, human values, raj-yoga meditation, positive, healthy and holistic lifestyle in consonance with India’s rich values, ideals, culture and heritage.
Through seminars, workshops, lectures, discourses, dialogues, talk shows, short plays, skits, nukkad natak, documentaries, short films and audio-visual highlights in residential areas, workplaces, public platforms, women’s associations, clubs & organizations, schools and colleges, several streams of this Campaign have been taken out in different states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Delhi, and have already reached out to hundreds of organizations and lakhs of people with the moral and spiritual message of protecting health, harmony, happiness, honor and life-line of humanity, society, culture and civilization by protecting rights, respectability and dignity of females as mothers, sisters and daughters on earth.
While some of such campaigns in several states will culminate on 8th March, 2014 on International Women’s Day, a few other streams of the campaign will continue up to last week of March and 1st week of April, 2014.
Launching the campaign in Delhi, Sarita Chaudhary, Mayor, South Delhi Municipal Corporation, said the fight against gender bias, discrimination and violence should start in the family first by changing our attitude towards them.
According to Bina Jain, Present Patron & Former President, All India Women Conference, ‘We need to make our thinking, attitude, habits and lifestyle healthy in consonance with our rich culture and spirituality’.
In the words of Rajyogini B K Chakradhari, Chairperson, Women Wing of the Brahma Kumaris parents need to infuse positive and healthy habits and culture among their children by practicing the core values they preach their children in daily life.
One sincerely hopes that such campaigns not only succeed but also make a difference to the lives of our women folk.