Bidhannagar Police recently came up with tips to keep women safe in Kolkata, but they were criticized for being regressive and sexist. I think it is perfectly fine for the police to come up with tips for women to follow to ensure their own safety but the same ones should apply to men also. I have interpreted the same 12 tips for men and here it is….
1. Dress decently: Men should avoid wearing those sleeveless Ts with their underarms screaming for a shave, avoid those micro under wears while taking a bath openly right on the main road at community tube wells and avoid those lungis …about which the lesser said the better.
2. Have emergency speed dial numbers in your phone…so that you can be a real man and help people if they are in a difficult situation and not walk away thinking it’s none of your business.
3. Self defense…yes, more precisely martial arts. Learn the values of honouring women and protecting the weak and poor that these art forms stand for.
4. Be aware of people around you…and not keep scratching your crotch in public or urinate in public places, smoke on people’s faces, use the choicest expletives while conversing loudly in a public place with friends or over your mobile, huddle together in front of “FL Liquor” shops and drink openly.
5. Avoid late nights…this is a must. Inebriated men, motorbike gangs, men on the prowl, should retire to bed early.
6. Carry pepper spray...then you will be aware of the fear and the desperation that drives a woman to carry a spray.
7. Be well behaved… ensure that you do not stare at the breasts and bums of every passing woman, don’t pass comments and cat calls, don’t attempt rape, molest or commit rape.
8. Stay in groups…Grouping sensitized men with insensitive ones will help in halting moral degeneration. Ensure you stay with such groups.
9. Avoid travelling in crowded buses or trains…because this way you get into a situation when you can’t keep a check on your libido and your hands start wandering around. Avoid it.
10. Avoid going to isolated places…once again if you spot a lone woman in an isolated place your urge to show your power and manhood might get the better of you.
11. Walk in well-lit and frequented areas…this way people can see you and you can keep your animal instincts under check.
12. Be street smart…Urban dictionary interprets street smart as: “A person who has a lot of common sense and knows what’s going on in the world. This person knows what every type of person has to deal with daily and understands all groups of people and how to act around them. This person also knows all the current things going on in the streets and knows how to make his own right decisions, knows how to deal with different situations and has his own independent state of mind.” Every man should be this.
(This post is not meant to generalise men in Kolkata but it has been written to make a point.)