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New Delhi: Sexual harassment of women is not seen to be serious in India, with lewd remarks about a woman being treated as ched-chad and meant to be taken lightly as mischief, writer and commentator Shobhaa De says.
“Throughout mythology, teasing a woman has been taken for granted and even now when it has taken on serious tone posing danger, we don’t see it as a serious enough issue. The public outrage after the Nirbhaya gangrape which still continues has probably woken up the political class,” De said on the sidelines of the Penguin Spring Fever festival here. The 10-day festival began at the India Habitat Centre.
De, the author of several mass fiction titles like Sobhaa At Sixty, Sethji, Sandhya’s Secret, Surviving Men and Sisters which explore complex female psyches across social divides says what “we are seeing right now is intense anger and frustration among men unable to cope with changing societies”.
“Eve-teasing should be condemned as atrocious behaviour and be declared a crime,” the writer said. De was agitated after a brush with sexual harassment at the capital’s Bengali Market.
Recalling the incident, De said she was shopping for traditional north Indian sweetmeats in the market when she realised that “three well-dressed men had brushed past me at least five times”.
“Then they turned around and said unko kuch gol gol dena (give her something rounded). I said back off or else I will hammer you... There is no sharam (shame) left in this country; they can do it and get away with it” De recounted. “If such a thing can happen to me at 64, imagine what can happen to my daughter when she steps out of home. It is not a very pleasant thing to be a woman in India,” she said. IANS