8.7.05

from chinmayee

It's interesting to see the alternatives and opposing points of view posted in the comment boxes of entries. The suggestions to do something more concrete than demonstrating, to stop hoping for miracles, to stop expecting that men will not grope in a year or two, to 'understand' that leching is not an offense, that a man can mentally undress a woman.

What surprises me is the complete lack of sensitivity in these comments. Because what is not being recognised is that eve teasing or street harassment or leching or groping - call it what you want - is not seen as an offence. That's the bottom line here. It's also the starting post. As young girls in school uniforms, awkward teenagers in shorts or grown women in salwar-kameezes, we are made to think that it 'happens' and you can do nothing about it.

We've all had terrible experiences. How many of us have had our breasts grabbed? How many of us have had men in crowded buses jerking off against our backs? Do we talk about it? No. Are we made to feel like it's not our fault? No. Why? Because it happens. Men, ruled by libidos, do things like this. As junk_alpha pointed out, demeaning thoughts may not be an offense under the law. But what about the scars left on a woman when it happens? The feeling that your body is dirty and unworthy, that's a playground only for lust and not tenderness? Is legality the only space for this? What about humane sensitivity?

What Jasmeen is doing with Blank Noise is trying to first get recognition that eve teasing is not okay. That just because thousands of men do it and thousands of women are victims every minute of every day, it's not bloody okay. No-one has a right to lech at my body and imagine what I look like naked. First you need to have the issue recognised and out there, in your face, before you can do anything else.

Going to the police is an option open to us. Whether or not you choose to is entirely personal. For many of us, it ceases to be a choice because of the insensitive manner in which the complaint is treated. A friend of mine was taking her morning walk when a grown man flashed himself to her. When she complained to the police, they just told her to walk elsewhere. Another was told to wear a dupatta. Another was told that men are "like that only". I was once told not to walk on Cubbon Road. Simple. Just don't walk because, again, raging libidos cannot be protected against.

The public demonstrations, banners, the pictures on the blog are not "scare tactics" or pointless. Because ultimately, unless something is taken into the public space screaming for attention, nothing can be done. The legal alternatives, educating young girls, dialogues, platforms, everything else can only begin when people open their eyes to the issue.
Instead of constantly posing a smart answer and a legal loophole to every initiative of Blank Noise, why don't people join in? It may be very interesting and intellectually stimulating to argue for and against, to analyse and discard, to banter, to offer alternatives, to point out mistakes, to threaten and criticise...very interesting, indeed.

But, on the 15th, how many of you are going to be there at Majestic with Jasmeen to take one step into the public space? Because eventually that's what counts.

48 comments:

  1. Anonymous6:32 pm

    excellent post, chinmayee - that something happens all the time does not make it "normal" or even more acceptable - sadly, in Indian sciety, it is bad enough to go thru such incidents, and worse to talk about it - to anyone else....

    Charu
    http://indsight.org/blog

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  2. Hi Chinmayee,

    OK. I will sensitive in my comments to purgue the acrimony between us. Please read my comments in good faith because its the farthest thing on my mind to prod you, instigate your ire or be insensitive.

    Let me summarize your post here:

    1. It is 'wrong' for men to strip women naked in their heads because it emotionally hurts women.
    2. You have to make adjustments in your life (like not walk through a certain road etc.) which are unfair
    3. Public demonstartions must be done to get attention to the idea that 'harrassing women is wrong'.

    [Deep Breath]

    Though I have several arguments about what you seek to achieve is right or wrong, I will not talk about them because they are irrelevant to my point, which is simple:

    I want you to convince me that because of your demonstrations, some of these results will take place:

    1. After a certain time, the percentage of men groping women will decrease by 20% , 30% or whatever.
    2. The authorities will not dismiss your complaints by asking you to make the adjustments.
    3. Number of men who strip women naked in their heads will decrease in number by x%.

    I do not understand how demonstrating on a street corner is going to achieve any results along the above lines. Have you thought the process through? What is the response you evoke in the mind of passer-by? What response do you want to evoke? How do you know your method will eveoke the response that you want?

    I am not offering you a brilliant alternative, but I only decry what I think is a 'waste of time', how taking 'it to the public space' will work towards achieveing your objectives. I don't know, may be your objectives for the demonstartions are different. What is the objective?

    How about you spend the time in a different manner? Even if there are 20 women who show up and spend an hour there. Thats 20 man hours. How about instead of spending time there, the women do the following:

    Next time a man gropes you, take him to a near by restaurant, and buy him lunch; Tell him exactly how it makes you feel; if you can feel it, you can explain it in a profound way. May be something like,

    After a light banter during the meal:

    "Hey, you know the reason I invited you for lunch is because I want to tell you how you make me feel when you grope me. I cannot tell you how many times I felt like throwing up and killing myself at the constant lechery around me. Is there a woman you care for, women you love? Do you think it is worth for you dear daughter to go through this everytime; that one day she might kill herself, one day she will feel so much pain that she cant take it any more.. that she walks in constant fear or being raped, the mental and the physical agony, that she will be afraid to express becasue nobody would understand; do you know how she will treat herself, and how she will broken down inside, and cry alone before she goes to sleep because there is no one to talk about her 'percieved' shame... do you wish such a life for your daughter? Then, why do you contribute towards a world that makes it worse for her? Why are her enemy? ..... [blah] [blah] ... I want you to remember, that like me, we are somebody daughters, sisters, mothers; we are not objects; I would appreaciate if you would not do this anymore, and remember this meal everytime you would feel like groping a woman, [...al the nice adjectives..]"

    I am not a word smith, but you get the point. Your anger is your own enemy. You will achieve 100 times more with love. If you have a problem with a man, the straight forward thing is to talk to him....explain to him...achieve your objective. Nobody likes to be criticized even if they are wrong, and it is important to you because, you can be emotionally smart about it, and not hurt the person, and talk to him, touch his heart, make him see. Make him see. In Gandhi's words, "Hate the crime. Not the criminal". Say it not with indignation, but with a genuine desire to understand the man, and reach inside and grip his heart in a memorable way. Journalists and Artists - I am sure you can be creative & sophisticated.

    Now, all of you must have fallen off your chairs of what you percive this change in my attitude, but its really not. You also might be thinking that I am hanging on some branch in Utopia where I think if you talk to them, they will change; to this I will say -

    If you have a problem with somebody, what is the first thing you do? You explain yourself; why is this any different; why do you assume that jus coz its against the law, they will somehow feel guilty about doing it? Talk to them. I dont know how many people will change this way - I guess half of them might; in any case, atleast you will more profound impact on one man at a time, than an uncertain outcome of the demonstartion. Sure you will be uncomfortable to begin with, and perhaps think the idea is ludicrous, but before long I am sure you will be as seasoned as a Eureka vaccum cleaner salesman! Perhaps, you should try. May be you can rename your project Lunch Noise Project, and recruit volunteers, share experiences and become more sophisticated in your sales pitch (I am not being insenstive making an analogy with selling; that is the best way for me to make this point) :)

    That works towards achieveing directly what you aired as your main griviances. I fail to see how your protests will achieve what you seek?

    In any case, just measure your methods for the results they give you. Just dont indulge in them, just coz.

    Much love,
    Just Another Guy.

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  3. very nice junk alpha [clap clap] :)

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  4. Whoaaaa!!! now that is what i call a strong post and a strong comment!!! :-))

    Coming to the point. I believe that there are more deeper social problems with the issues present here.

    Chinmayee: Protests are not a solution because everyone of us is responsible and then u have to protest against every man!!!!

    Junk_alpha: Advicing a person is also not a solution because the people who do it are beyond the point of no return, as they are socially conitioned. They cannot be made to understand the plight of the hapless woman who is victimized by him. They are simply people who are worhtless.

    Solution
    The solution for this problem is the same as the solution for eliminating poverty in India.

    We have to start from the roots. We have to impact the philosophical values that are taught to youngsters around. We have to open up and make society mature and open towards sexuality. We have to make the next generation of young me to respect and look at a woman as a human with an independent choice.

    Things won't change in a Day. They may take 100 years to change. But if u start to change it then the future generations of men and women in India would respect you as someone who set the ball rolling.

    Instead of protesting in Majestic and Shivaji Nagar.. start educating boys and make them respect girls as humans with independent choice. Teach the society about sex and the independence of ones sexual choice from the social norms. Things will slowly but certainly start to change then.

    Regards
    Lakshmikanth.C

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  5. I like Laxmikanth's solution. If you can reach every school kid in banglore starting in 1st standard today, and you are 90% successful, in ten years you can cut down the average groping by about 45% (assuming that the literacy rate in India is around 50%). Thats huge. So, its a really good bet to invest your time and resources in a network that makes children senstive to it.

    Can you imagine using those 20 hours to talk in 10 classrooms - you can reach 500 students (assuming an average 50 per class) in the same time you can do a demonstration. Perhaps, you can involve the girls from the classrooms you present to.

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  6. Junk_alpha: Are you suggesting the next time a man misbehaves with me I take him out to lunch and explain why he was wrong???????? Could you please explain why i should have to indulge "in light banter" with someone who has grabbed me, violated me, invaded my space, shaken me?

    "the straight forward thing is to talk to him....explain to him...achieve your objective. Nobody likes to be criticized even if they are wrong, and it is important to you because, you can be emotionally smart about it, and not hurt the person, and talk to him, touch his heart, make him see." - Nobody likes to be criticised??? Are these men petulant children, who need handling with kid gloves?? They need imprisonment, junk_alpha. They need to know this is NOT OK. I understand there is substantial (justified) debate over whether imprisonment worsens likelihood of crime and whether prison spells achieve the objectives of reforming the perpetrator - in which case these men need remand. Either way, they certainly don't need a free lunch and some gentle explaining.

    As for what Jasmeen is doing: why don't you come to the next session? And join us? Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't. But for some of us time is not at as much of a premium to stop us trying this experiment.

    Blank Noise takes street harrassment into unexplored territory, approaching the subject in an unconventional way that could make people think about it and not block it out which is what might have happened if it was a mere 'demonstration' at a street corner.

    What's all this about statistics?? "in ten years you can cut down the average groping by about 45%" Do you have any proof that your suggestions will achieve these clear cut results?? What we need is joint action on many levels - many people undertaking many initiatives. No one initiative is expecting to revolutionise our society or change the world. Jasmeen is not saying - correct me if I'm wrong - that Blank Noise will rid India of street harrassment.

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  7. junk alpha, what are you talking about?? a strange sick man grabs your breast on the street and you want to repsond to him with "love"??
    I think the most important thing that jasmeen is doing is getting this subject out into the open - initiating discussion about this - and making a point and very very important point that such behavior is not "ok" simply because it happens " all the time". someone has to start and as with all individual initiatives, the results will show up slowly - but surely...
    as for going and talking in schools, what do you propose to do about the parents and families of these kids - what about the values that the older / present generation of adults - these sick men included - will pass on to their children - and what all will you talk about in schools?

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  8. Anonymous12:06 am

    junk_alpha's suggestion is among the stupidest suggestions I have seen .. in .. well, ever.

    Okay alpha, let's play a thought experiment. Some neighbourhood hooligan takes your wallet at knifepoint. Assume your wallet was almost empty and your physical loss is negligible.. Would you take the hooligan out to lunch and explain why property is personal and tell him how bad you 'felt'?

    Give me an effing break ! Treat him with love? Reform him ?

    Freedom is not a special perk that must be "granted by society" to women. It's the RIGHT of all women on this forum, and of all human beings everywhere.

    Have you ladies heard of "Mace" ? A pepper spray popular in Western countries. I don't know if it's available in Bangalore.. but I sure wish it was.

    Sexual harrasment is not about sex, or even lust. It's about power - and the feeling that men are entitled to power over any woman who can't fight back, either due to physical strength or due to social pressures.

    Harassment multiplies in the dark corners of anonymity. When a man rubs up, and then even if you raise a stink he hides behind the shield of denial. On the other hand, instant retribution such as a knee to the crotch, or a generous serving of mace in his eyes will leave him rolling on the ground in agony.. and will scare potential criminals. It has the added benefit of helping such dogs learn about "Stimulus->Response" in an unforgettable way.

    I'm up to hauling a carton of Mace into Bangalore on my next trip, if any of you are interested.

    "Feed him lunch" ?! Indeed. Mace sprayed in the face will stay in memory a lot longer than a free lunch.

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  9. Mangs,

    Are you suggesting the next time a man misbehaves with me I take him out to lunch and explain why he was wrong???????? Could you please explain why i should have to indulge "in light banter" with someone who has grabbed me, violated me, invaded my space, shaken me?

    You seem to begin with the assumption that:

    Women should not be touched without their consent because it is illegal.

    My point is:

    1. Merely because something is illegal, does not mean people will not indulge in it.

    Teenagers will not stop experimenting with drugs, the working will not stop lying on their taxes nor will the politicians refrain from involving in crime merely because these activities are illegal.

    2. BlankNoiseProject (BLN) wants change. You want to change the staus quo (I assume your primary objective is to make streets safer for women). And, hence I assume that you want to look at the most effective methods to achieve that.

    In that context, I present a possible method (Lunch Method), that might achieve change. Thats all.

    To answer the question why you should use the Lunch Method?

    You "dont have to" buy him lunch. My point is, if you do, you might achieve some change. The sole objective being: changing the man's prespective. That is the answer to "why" you should do it.

    You look at it from the prespective if "he deserves" lunch. You look at the incident as either:

    a. I feel violated; I want revenge - I want him imprisoned.

    AND/OR

    b. He committed a crime; He must be punished - because it is the law.

    Imprisoning him might or might not reform him. But, if your objective is to change the person: I offered a different method, but only if that is your objective.

    It is a dispassionate solution to achieve an objective (change). I suggest that you look at it from that prespective rather than from the prespective of "right/wrong" or from the prespective of "I expect people to know and not do" etc. which is esentially coming from your indignantion. I propose what I do merely from a "how do we solve this" standpoint.


    As for what Jasmeen is doing ... Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't ... Blank Noise takes street harrassment into unexplored territory, approaching the subject in an unconventional way that could make people think about it and not block it out which is what might have happened if it was a mere 'demonstration' at a street corner.

    I am not criticizing your method in of itself, and yes, if you want to people to think about it, and that is an end onto itself, fine.

    I only ask of its efficacy towards reducing harassment of women. If the campaign is not designed to do that, and its primary objective is to have a dialog, and thats is the primary objective beyond any other objectives, OK.

    But, Chinmayee's post was in response to the following discussion, and my comments were a continuation of that (I dont know if you read it, but it will give you the compelte context of the discussion):

    http://blanknoiseproject.blogspot.com/2005/07/509_05.html

    What's all this about statistics?? "in ten years you can cut down the average groping by about 45%" Do you have any proof that your suggestions will achieve these clear cut results??

    I made a heuristic argument along the following lines:

    1. India's urban male litearcy rate is 81% (http://www.censusindia.net/literates1.html)

    2. Its not unreasonable to think that B'lore is close to that.

    3. Its reasonable that most people learn to read and write at a school, you can reach a good chunk of this population.

    4*. Assume that presentation is effective only 90% effective inspire/dissuade people from harassing woman

    6. 50% of India's population is under 25 (http://www.investmentu.com/IUEL/2005/20050502.html)

    7. 31% of India's population is under 14 (http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/in.html#People)

    8. So, by 2015, we can guestimate that you would have 60% of the population will be under 28.

    That means we will reach the 90% of 80% of 60% of the population of b'lore, which roughly equals 43%
    So, 43% of the population that might have indulged in sexual harassment, will not.

    * Of course, I assumed that a good presentation is effective, and that if we try hard enough, we can come up with a presentation that is this effective.

    Heurstics are not the tools on which policy could be based, but forgive me if I assume that its a fair method for an informal discussion: it tells us if the figure is more like 10% or 90% or 50% - merely a framework for an intelligent guess. I used it to demonstrate that Laxminath's idea was worth considering.

    And, yes, I also agree with your point that "...we need is joint action on many levels - many people undertaking many initiatives"

    Cheers.

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  10. junk alpha, what are you talking about?? a strange sick man grabs your breast on the street and you want to repsond to him with "love"??

    Well, this was sometime after 9/11, when I was in the U.S., some guy who passed by me on the street if "I had blown up WTC, and if I knew Bin Laden and if I carrying a bomb in my backpack. Merely because I had dark skin, I guess.

    I could have said equally stupid shit to him, yell and scream, may be compalain the cop at the end of the block, but instead I asked him if he had had lunch, and minded if I bought him lunch. We went to nearby McDonald's, and I just talked to him. I told him that his comments hurt me, that people were different.. how he would feel in a different scenrio ...blah....blah.

    It was good discussion, and at the end of it I could see that he was feeling really bad, and he aplogized to me, and thanked me for the lunch and we departed ways. I am sure, as sure as one can be, that he was not insenstive to every other brown person he met on the street.

    That is what I mean by "love" vs "indignation".

    I am not saying that it will work all the time, but it is certainly an alterantive to "lashing out". And, he did dont make those comments because he did not know that they were insenstive, but just coz. People are aware that sexual harassment is 'wrong' and do it becasue they can; You humanize the victim when they get to know you, and leave an impression that I think is more effective than 'yelling at him, or disgracing him'. Note that I did not say that you should not do these things, but only that there is an another way as well.

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  11. About me:
    I have been homosexually assaulted when i was a kid.

    About the UTOPIAN SOLUTION that i want:
    Make society to be open about others sexual choices. We need a sexually open society. We need to have a right to be sexually free. In our brain this right to be sexually free is HADWIRED. That is why we feel mad when someone out there in the public squeezes our private parts.

    Because of our impotent culture we have destroyed the freedom to be sexually free, we have made the women to be a sex slave of man, We have marriage and sati to be the certificate of such a slavery(Sati was in olden times.... i mentioned it just to show that our culture was screwed up from that time itself). Our stupid culture has made all the great Gods to be men and women godesses as their slaves. There is not one Sanyasin who made an impact in the society. There is no woman equivalent of Krishna or Shiva or Rama in the society. Hinduism never has a powerful lady in it. However it has women of choices like Kunti or Gandhari or Panchali, but it is to note that these people were still slaves of their men. More than that, RAPE is an INTEGRAL part of BOTH THE EPICS!!!!!!! (Eventhough it is useless to state in this discussion; Please note that: I am not a believer, I am not an atheist, nor am I an agnostic. I don't want to classify myself in any of these categories which society has made. I do not care to think about God, nor am I bothered/concerned about whether such a thing exist or not.)

    I believe that this thing is what we should change in the society. We should make our young boys respect young girls and they should understand that we are free to choose. One can even choose who our sexual partners will be. We should teach them about breasts, vagina and whatever there is to know about a woman, and these parts are just like any other part of the body. Only that they have a different function. We need to educate the parents to talk to kids about sex just like they talk about how to ride a car. It would be a bit too much to say that they should be trained how to handle their partners properly after marriage, but i think it should be there. Many Indians don't know how to engage in sex :-). I am visualizing an integrated sex eduation program. Just like the one we have for academics and sports, we need to teach people to enjoy and nurture this experience.

    This I believe will certainly help to change the mindset of the society towards women, as stated below.

    After such a sex education program, most young men would come to understand and feel that there is nothing so great in holding a woman's breast unless the woman allows for it out of her choice and desire, rather than allowing for it out of fear or vulnerability.

    About educating the kids/teenagers/people:
    We can sure start to tell the kids that women are humans!!! and give them a good understanding of SEX and female/male anatomy.It can go just as the idea of family planning went. I would think that it would be a daunting task to tell an old generation Indian (who had an average say 7 kids) about limiting the amount of children by scientific control of sexual activity. I think this mission would require the same kind of resolve and approach. It would yield result for sure.

    For targetting adult/teenagers, we can put on good ads in the TV to affect the minds of these people.
    I can go on and on and on with this list of ideas.

    About this project:
    Forgive me for the fact that I have not really understood the nature of the activities that you people have been doing. I have not fully understood as to what impact this should make in terms of the intended impact on the population.

    Let me quote what Jasmeen has to say(no offence intended)

    I wear a duppatta.

    1)

    He turned around every minute. I decided to end my walk and take an auto for the rest of the journey. I crossed the road; he too was on the other side. This was towards Kids Kemp on MG Road. He never came near me, he never touched me, but I was scared.

    What could he do anyways? Half my size. I am a strong woman, I am!

    2)Talking to me, taking my measurements the tailor's fingers 'accidentally' touched my breasts. Then onto the hips, calling out the measurement, telling me which 'design' would suit me, he ticked his finger on my abdomen as I stared at him in disbelief. Accident? Trying to gather both the incidents I told mama that he had touched me and that something was wrong with the tailor. This was as we were leaving the shop. If I don't voice now, this man will not learn a lesson. There were at least twenty men and the shop owner was an old man. I told him that the tailor had misbehaved. "Usne battameezi ki hai. Galat tareeke se chooa hai."

    "Madam this is the first time anyone has said something like this. Pehle kabhi koi complain nahi kiya hai."

    The tailor came towards me; masking disbelief…I decided to leave.

    I continue to fight it everyday.

    3) I walked into a shop on Commercial Street and the shopkeeper and asked the shopkeeper for paper. He replied as he stared at my breasts. I had to tell him where my face was and I walked out.

    I continue to fight it everyday.

    4) I was walking on the main CMH road at about 6 pm one evening. It was not completely dark. It was neither quiet nor lonely. I usually look at people when I walk; my eyes are never looking down. a cyclist went past me; completely non threatening. I suddenly felt something cold through being soaked in through my clothes. He spat his pan on me.

    I continue to fight it everyday.

    I have chosen not to ‘walk out ‘of a situation but to stand right there, firm on ground and deal with it.

    I react.

    I am a labeled feminist.



    Violation of ones space(including the extremes of jerking off on the back of a woman or something like that) is a sudden and highly emotional time for a victim. It happens in such a short time that a rational analysis of the situation becomes impossible for the victim. In short the victim feels like a cornered animal for a moment while she/he is being raped. The victim would feel her/his basic animal instincts to come to life in such a situation.

    From here onwards -unless explicitly stated otherwise- the word animal means an animal or a human who has no rational desicion cycle.(because there is no time to think in such a situation)

    When faced with a difficult situation like the above animals/humans are faced with two choices, FIGHT or FLIGHT. Jasmeen is perfectly right in saying that she is strong and she wants to FIGHT. The problem with india is that most of the women folk chose the FLIGHT approach when some one squeezes their private parts. So Jasmeen is absolutely right in doing what she is doing.

    The question here is this:- How to fight?

    Animals react. Since we all are human; and all humans are animals, reaction is one of the ways all of us fight. We get hurt emotionally. To find balance in our emotional life we go out there and blast the enemy to oblivion. This is just what a cornered animal would do. There is nothing wrong in that. Jasmeen is perfectly Justified. (I am NOT indicating here that Jasmeen is a cornered animal)

    Lets study the sociological analysis of how a reaction can help:

    1) Reaction is the weapon of natural selection.
    To see how it is so consider a population of animal constantly attacked by another class/herd/species. Initially one animal will react to the attack. Either it will win or it will perish. If it wins others will follow it and soon the whole community will manage to out populate the predators population and will thrive on. If it fails then the species/herd/class perish.

    To look at it in a HUMAN perspective the best example is FRENCH REVOLUTION. The workers were constantly attacked and harrassed by the nobles. Some people decided to react. Soon others followed. And bloodshed followed until the entire nobility of France was wiped off
    REACTION IS THE CAUSE OF REVOLUTION AND WARS AND BLOODSHED

    2) The affects of a single Reaction is highly localised
    When an animal reacts and wins against an enemy, only one member of the enemy and those linked to the enemy will know about it, and be scared to attack again. In a spread out population very few enemy animals will ever bother about getting scared to attack again in the fear of reaction. IF ONLY A FEW OF THE VICTIM ANIMALS REACT TO AN ATTACK, THEN THE FEAR TO ATTACK AGAIN IN THE ENEMY'S MIND VERY LIMITED AND ISOLATED. If only one animal of a species react to an attack by the enemy, there would not be much difference in the frequency of attacks. This is another part of natural selection. If many victims don;t react then the assaults will go on and on. IF MANY VICTIMS REACT.. IT BECOMES A REVOLUTION.

    Examples of such diluted fear is clearly visible in men who sexually attack women. When 99% of the women do not react then there is a chance that his next victim will not react 99% for sure. However if he is sure that 99% of the women would react to his advaces then he would never dare to assault a woman.

    About my path
    We humans are rational beings. When someone shags behind your back you turn into an animal and have two options FIGHT or FLIGHT. I have told you how in case you react the effect of it is going to be highly localised. So infact there is little use when u react.

    REACTION WILL HELP YOU TO DEAL WITH AN IMMEDIATE EFFECT ON AN ASSAULT BUT IT WILL NEVER HELP TO CHANGE THE LONG TERM SOCIAL ASPECT OF THE SITUATIONS.

    If you want to HELP YOURSELF :-- REACT

    If you want to HELP THE FUTURE GENERATIONS AND THE ENTIRE SOCIETY :-- ACT

    We need to ACT AND NOT REACT
    We need REFORMS AND NOT REVOLUTION

    How should one act then?
    I have already given my suggestions in previous comments and in the first section of this post.

    REMEMBER WE HAVE TO ACT AND NOT REACT.


    Regards
    Lakshmikanth.C

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  12. Give me an effing break ! Treat him with love? Reform him ?

    1. Yes, people are stupid to venerate a half naked fakir, who taught of non-violence and restraint, spoke of being generous to your adversary, took the the mightiest empire of its times, and won the freedom for a nation that is largest democracy in the world today, without compromising his methods. May be you heard of him - Gandhi. Gimme an effing break!

    2. Yes, people are stupid to venerate a pastor who taught people restarint, and suggest they march instead of fight to gain the dignity and huamnity for his race, and lead the civil rights movement, and is responsible for black people to be able sit next to white man in a public transport; to get them their right to vote using the message of love. May be you heard of him - Martin Luther King. Gimme an effing break!

    3. Yes, people are dumb to believe that they will make a dictator quit by marching through the streets and Belgrade singing "we shall over come" supplanted with the chats of asking him to quit office; May be you heard the name of the dictator - Slobodan Milosevic. Gimme an effing break!

    4. Yes, people are stupid enough to follow the words a black man who fought the apartheid with South Africa with love, and not hate, and who was put in the terrorist list of the U.S. for 26 years. He took on the whole world, and thanks to him, the brown and the black man do not have to form different lines in Johannesburg. May be you heard of him - Nelson Mandela. Gimme an effing break!

    5. Yes, people are insane to march through the streets of Prague, and think that asking the communist governament to quit just coz, would topple the governament so that a poet who was imprisoned could be brought back made the presdient. May be you heard of him - Vaclev Havel and the Velvet Revolution. Gimme an effing break!

    Just because you believe that nations are formed by muscle flexing of armies, that it not the only way. Just because you think a 'kick in the balls' will deter perpetuators, does not mean that a kind word cannot.

    So, yes take your effing break.

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  13. To add to it...

    To ACT means to act rationally rather than emotionally.

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  14. Also i am not a feminist or a 'male ist' i am a HUMANIST

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  15. I would love to come and see the project in action.
    MY phone number is :9880841361.

    I am in Bangalore till August first week(after that i will be in the US :-( )

    I am free after July 17th.
    so from july 17th to august 1st.. anyday anytime

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  16. Okay alpha, let's play a thought experiment. Some neighbourhood hooligan takes your wallet at knifepoint. Assume your wallet was almost empty and your physical loss is negligible.. Would you take the hooligan out to lunch and explain why property is personal and tell him how bad you 'felt'?

    If my physical loss is negligible.. , and if I care about the situation, yes, I would. Did you ever try to do it? If not, dont dismiss idea merely becasue they are alien to you. People, far better than you and I, have used methods of non-violence and genuine concern with excellent results. Just because you cannot concieve of achieving results this way, dont blame the method.. may be you are not adept enough or believe in it enough to use it. We must execute the minimum courtesy of repecting their ideas, if for nothing, for just the results they achieved.

    I am sure if I told you 100 years ago that colonizers would listen to you merely because you went on a hunger strike, or that communist regimes would fall merely because people asked, or that segeregated South Africa would not last - you would have found it equally incredulous. The same with all the other examples I gave you, earlier. I know it is fashionable to some circle to dismiss non-violent methods of reponse, and consider practioners of these methods as ludicrous, but we have ample evidence in history that change can indeed be accomplished through these means.

    Perhaps, its time for you to believe and be more careful what you dismiss off-hand.

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  17. >> We need to ACT AND NOT REACT
    >> We need REFORMS AND NOT REVOLUTION

    Excellent points. Nice insights in the post.

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  18. Thank you junk_alpha. I was in search for a deeper philosophical meaning to this harrasment thing. It just struck me in this blog.

    I believe that it is the TOLERATE ALL attitudes that literally makes the victims vulnerable. and it is this grim fact that has made indians tolerate widepread corruption, insults and feudalism and not to mention SEXUAL HARRASMENTS.

    I will write it in a detailed way with possible sociological evidence and put it out on my blog.

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  19. i don't think jasmeen is looking for a war or even a fist fight, but genuine change, like chinmayee said
    "What Jasmeen is doing with Blank Noise is trying to first get recognition that eve teasing is not okay"
    by all appearances this protest seemes to be a peaceful demonstration, drawing attention to the problem, just like any demonstration that was held by Ghandi, M Luther King Jr. etc.
    so what's all this talk about violence and bloodshed? nobody's bringing guns.

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  20. I don't think reaction can ONLY be in terms of war or revolution. It can be in terms of hate mail, calling bad words, publisicing pics on the blog, writing angry and SO many other things.

    I am not saying that Jasmeen is wrong in what she is doing. Never Have i mentioned that Jasmeen was not justified.

    What I am saying is that there is a slightly better and human way of doing things. With rationality as a tool and reforms as a driving force, rather than sad and angry emotions as a driving force. The former is called action the latter is called reaction.

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  21. I was referring to her posts on the blogs about guys looking and looking at her.

    Finally she takes their photo and then posts into the blog.

    Then came the first post, about telling the tailor/conductor or whoever about "Where my face is!!!"

    That is reaction. That is what I was bragging about in my comment. The only sociological comparison i could find to it was revolution, so there came the 'bad' words of bloodshed and stuff.

    My disclaimer b4 starting to understand the project was that i have not fully understood the intended impact of the project and also the way it functions, I would love to see it in action.

    I am criticizing the way Jasmeen goes about reacting. that is all.

    I again say that there is nothing wrong in giving the perpetrator a shock, there is nothing wrong in reacting.

    I am just suggesting that we can act, and to change the society with 100% certainty then we have to act, rather than react. I am giving a different perspective in which a solution can be viewed. I guess so was junk_alpha.

    We have to act layer by layer in attacking this social problems.

    We have to identify the correct social strata to attack. I would say that these are youngsters, school going ones. We can certainly do something about them. Every kid in that lot won't change, say one or two in a hundred will change. That according to me is a great success.Because these two people will influence the say 5 people, those 5 people will influence say 25... it will go in a geometric progression and soon(in say 50 years) we shall see things changing. This is how we should start to change things.

    The above would be SLOW but it would be CERTAIN. this is called reforms.

    That is all what i meant. I did not intentionally or unintentionally mean to say ANYTHING ELSE.

    ReplyDelete
  22. laks- sorry i was just a bit confused about the response made by Junk_a above. In regard to -
    "Give me an effing break ! Treat him with love? Reform him ?"
    I find your approach very diplomatic, which is very Indian of you;
    and just to be clear, I wasn't trying to pick a bone with either your or junk_alpha.
    I believe that if we listen to each others opinions instead of slamming it down each others throats, some kind of progress can be made.
    As I said before, Jasmeen is drawing attention to the problem of harassment,not hitting people over the head with baseball bats and so far it's working.
    You may agree or disagree with what she's doing, but fact is, she has brought the topic to the table and it can't be ignored.
    she deserves credit for that.

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  23. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  24. I am diplomatic. I am indian. :-) no comments on that. :-))

    Again... I repeat that i would love to come and see the project happening. If u people feel like admitting me.

    Am i being diplomatic here too? :-)

    I owe whatever i say. Please read whatever i have written carefully. Please.

    ReplyDelete
  25. i meant i take up the responsibility of whatever i say ..... sorry for the wrong english...its too indian ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Agony Aunt,

    If your question is, why am I belligerent in my reply to the following comment
    ("Give me an effing break ! Treat him with love? Reform him ? "),
    when I am advocating love ?, then my answer is as follows:

    It was not important for me that the annonymous poster could understand the argument. I just wanted to make a cocky comment, like the poster did. I guess, you could say I reacted, instead of acted, because it was not important for me to act (the cause here "to help the annonymous poster understand" was not important to me), but only to pick a bone with him/her.

    But, those comments have nothing to do what Jasmine is trying to do. I agreed that if the purpose of the project is merely to have some light shed on sexual harrassment, I am not criticizing it. The analogies of the peaceful fighters were to explain that "merely kicking in the shins, and using pepper spray" were not the only way to achieve change with regards to sexual harrassment. It was NOT to imply that the demonstration was some how violent. No, not at all.

    And yes, Jasmine does deserve credit for her time, effort and passion she invests in the project. My disagreemnt was never about criticizing someone personally; I only asked how demonstarting could help reduce sexual harrasment for women. And, the answer given my several of you was that, " the primary purpose of the project was not reduce sexual hrrasment, but to just get a buzz about the issue". That was good answer, and I have no criticism if that is the goal.

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  27. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  28. My only parting words are:

    When some one harasses you, angers you, invades your space or questions your dignity, you indignation is righteous. You have the right to feel that you want to butcher that bastard; you have the right to squint at him, question his humanity... think of him as a strange, twisted bastard; you have the right to wish you could drag him through the streets and teach him a lesson; you have the right to prosecute him, punish him, wish upon as much humiliation as he caused you to experience. Your anger is justified, and your indignation righteous.

    But, you also have the choice to be better person; you also have the choice to not dehumanize him like he did to you; you also have the choice to talk to him - may be through a demonstartion, may be through a profound statment though art, may be through a kind word like he never thought; you have the choice to sit next to sinner and acknowldege that you share with him the basic humanity that binds us all which he never did; you have the choice to care for the person who disgusts you; you have the choice to choose mighty love over righteous indignation; you have the choice to believe that you can achieve far more by not lashing out, and by reaching out; you have the choice - chose wisely.

    Thats all.

    Perhaps, you will find a little inspiration here

    ciao.

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  29. DITTO
    those are my parting words too....

    Thank you once again junk_alpha

    I think you all should go and read the book Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption
    Here is one deep quote in that


    "There's a fine line there. What it comes down to, Red, is some people refuse to get their hands dirty at all. That's called sainthood, and the pigeons land on your shoulders and crap all over your shirt. The other extreme is to take a bath in the dirt and deal any goddamned thing that will turn a dollar - guns, switchblades, big H, what the hell. You ever have a con come up to you and offer you a contract?"

    I nodded. It's happened a lot of time over the years. You are, after all, the man who can get it. And they figure if you can get them a nine-bolt battery for their transistor radio or a carton of Luckies or a lid of reefer, you can put them in touch with a guy who'll use a knife.

    "Sure you have," Andy agreed. "But you don't do it. Because guys like us, Red, we know there's a third choice. An alternative to staying simon-pure or bathing in the filth and the slime. It's the alternative that grown-ups all over the world pick. You balance off your walk through the hog-wallow against what it gains you. You choose the lesser of two evils and try to keep your good intentions in front of you. And I guess you judge how well you're doing by how well you sleep at night... and what your dreams are like."


    I shall quote the last words in the book by a man who discovers freedom by acting and not reacting


    Sure I remember the name. Zihuatanejo. A name like that is just too pretty to forget.

    I find I am excited, so excited I can hardly hold the pencil in my trembling hand. I think it is the excitement that only a free man can feel, a free man starting a long journey whose conclusion in uncertain.

    I hope Andy is down there.

    I hope I can make it across the border.

    I hope to see my friend and shake his hand.

    I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams.

    I hope.

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  30. junk alpha

    "[Deep Breath]
    Though I have several arguments about what you seek to achieve is right or wrong, I will not talk about them because they are irrelevant to my point, which is simple:

    I want you to convince me that because of your demonstrations, some of these results will take place:

    1. After a certain time, the percentage of men groping women will decrease by 20% , 30% or whatever.
    2. The authorities will not dismiss your complaints by asking you to make the adjustments.
    3. Number of men who strip women naked in their heads will decrease in number by x%."

    the 'strategy' you expect us/ me to articulate is a difficult one. Blank Noise is not set out in its 'AIM' AND 'GOALS' to change statistics and give you the 2+2=4 results.

    there has to be some room for a process that can be lyrical and intuitive. there are times when research methodolgies are applied to the project, but by itself the project does not take that form.

    it is a new territory for all of us here. first as a 'vcitim of street sexual harassment' and as an artist it is worth seeing how art and activism= public art creates an impact ,generates dialogue,.our approach is a result of our background. traditionally you would expect an activist to do this, or a researcher, i chose to be neither or both.

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  31. Phew, lots of stuff happening here. I just have one comment to make however:

    No-one has a right to lech at my body and imagine what I look like naked

    I understand that this remark has to be taken in context, and when you mean 'lech' you mean stare at you for a long period of time making you uncomfortable...

    That being said, I, or anybody else in the entire world, have every single right to imagine you in whatever way I choose, as do you and this emotional statement weakens your cause.

    Being civilised means deciding which thoughts to act on, and which thoughts to leave as thoughts. I can imagine you naked all day, but if I choose to not look at you in a lecherous way, or molest/touch/pass a dirty comment to you - how does this make me a "bad" person? Simply because I imagine you naked? Bullshit. If one of the aims of your project is purge men of "unclean" thoughts, then I suggest you read a book called 1984, by a man called George Orwell. But if your project is to prevent men from acting on those unclean thoughts, I think it would be far more successful.

    One more thing - it is true that Man will never be free of his vices. So it is best for those vices to have some outlet. In the Western world, that outlet is called legalised prostitution . That outlet doesn't exist in this country. And the result is in front of you. A sexual liberation is required (and is happening parallel to all these barbaric atrocities) of both the men and women of this country.

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  32. chinmayee2:10 pm

    jasmeen has clarified what blank noise stands for. ttg, i have read 1984 and i am not talking about policing thoughts or 'big brother' here. if you realise that my remark has, indeed, to be taken into context, the argument needn't be carried forward.

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  33. hello laks

    you are welcome to come and make the event happen.

    looking forward

    Jasmeen

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  34. "Hate the crime. Not the criminal".

    agree junk alpha, but this is only possible with some distancing from the self.

    when one starts it is important to experience anger and show it to the criminal instead of blaming the self and apologizing for her/(his?) body. from the very begining we are taught to apologize, and blame ourselves..." ask for it".

    how many of us even do that?

    to look at things wholistically, victim, perpetrator, abused, accused...in this story so far we the victims have been the protagonists...

    what do you say about threat? wat do you say for instincts? who feels threatened and why?

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  35. "I want you to remember, that like me, we are somebody daughters, sisters, mothers; we are not objects; I would appreaciate if you would not do this anymore, and remember this meal everytime you would feel like groping a woman, [...al the nice adjectives..]"

    what do i say to you?
    its like saying
    "ghar mein maa behen nahi hai kya?"

    NO WAY.

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  36. ttg I agree with you 100%

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  37. Anonymous5:07 pm

    whatever u women might say, i know for a fact that women enjoy being groped as much as i enjoy groping them

    ReplyDelete
  38. Jasmine,

    >> how many of us even do that? ... what do you say about threat? wat do you say for instincts? who feels threatened and why?

    Of course, you have instincts - hence you react. Also, you have choice - so you act. Distancing oneself is not instinctual, but after repeated exposure, one would want to think of a more rational and effective way, and hence stumble upon "distancing oneself..." as an effective approach. Arguing against "distancing onself" because it is not instinctual, is like the harasser's argument that "he could not control yourself". As you would say to him, "control yourself", I would say to you "distance yourself".

    >> what do i say to you? its like saying ... "ghar mein maa behen nahi hai kya?"

    No, its not, because "ghar ... kya" is cliche and confrontational. I read a post somewhere about a girl who went to theater with her brother, and the brother bashed up a guy because he was touching her, after she complained to her brother. Then, after a couple of days when she was a movie alone, and turned back to say a few words to another guy who was groping her, she was shocked to see her brother who was touching her because he had not recongnized her!

    Now, imagine you are that girl, what would say to your brother ? ... random chastizing will only embaress him, and perhaps he will be more careful next time; but it will not have him abandon his ways. Would you invite him to one of the internventions, and hope to reform him ? And, if you cant think of saying anything substantial to someone you know so well, and someone you love, I wonder how one could expect to give messages to stranger (in your way, or in my way)and expect results. Think about it.

    Of course, I completly understand the nature of your project and I am not suggesting you be a reasercher. I am only answering the questions you posed.

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  39. Hmmm,

    Its been great, to see people coming fwd ...
    Yesterday I heard from another friend of mine,
    A message filled with filth.

    I dont know what people gain from that $#???
    I will see his end forget it but...
    I am angry frustrated because ... He is just another male, who is making us feel ashamed.

    Any way I hope we will change.
    Change for a good cause.

    -
    Nature gave freedom to Enjoy The beauty,
    But not to scractch tear and spoil.

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  40. Junk_alpha:

    I cannot discern your gender for sure but I'm assuming you're male. I'm a guy too - and I've tried the exact same thing that you spoke about.

    I once saw a male classmate 'accidentally touch' a girl on the road. I took him aside and spoke to him for over 2 hours on why it is fundamentally wrong,etc. I spoke to him about his mother and sister, I spoke to him about how he would feel if something similar had happened to them.

    I spoke to him about he would feel if he were abused homosexually. I spoke to him about freedom, rights,love and all those other nice things you mentioned.

    Guess what? This guy nodded his head and promised to reform his ways - and seemed quite sincere at it. He's not your average roadside Romeo - quite smart, near the top of the class in a well-known engineering college.

    A week later, I found out that he had gotten into trouble for groping a girl in a train.

    I don't know which world you live in Junk_alpha, but it is definitely not ours.

    Before you argue that it is wrong to generalize from one incident, let me assure you that I have seen umpteen other incidents where friendly advice (from the victims, from other men,women) have falled on deaf ears.

    One such guy once confessed to me (similar to the confession on Mangs blogpost about her trip to Chennai) "Man..I lost control".

    Do I have an easy solution to this? Nope. I think this needs to be fought on multiple levels.

    1. Be pragmatic and practical: Women need to understand that the problem exists today and be prepared to deal with it and fight back. This might mean self-defence, martial arts, pepper spray,etc. It scares the life out of me when close female friends of mine choose to walk alone on lonely roads at night saying something along the lines of "It is my right to do so".Realize that I'm *not* justifying the crime - just observing that becoming a martyr is not going to help anyone.

    I'm not saying "put your head down and put up with it". I'm saying "Carry pepper spray and don't hesitate to use it" and "Be sensible".

    In an ideal world, this wouldn't be needed - but we don't live in an ideal world where we can leave our house doors unlocked when we go on vacation.

    2. Education at every level:
    If kids see movie heroes eve-teasing women and this behaviour being deemd as 'acceptable',the situation is not going to concern. We need education at all levels of society- from school kids to college. Efforts like this are a great start.

    3. Support from the authorities:
    The government swings into action only when there is a well-publicized incident. We need (and movements like this will help in that) recognition of this as a society wide problem just like,for e.g, terrorism is recognized as a problem.

    I don't know how these can be achieved though. I do know that this won't be easy at all.

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  41. junk_alpha

    You think that you can justify your bullshit by taking the name of Gandhiji? That is a logical fallacy on so many levels. Gandhiji opposing a state which was doing something wrong. You are doing his philosophy of non-violence an extreme disservice by stretching it to this extreme.

    So you advise people to buy molestors lunch because you bought lunch for a guy who accused you of being a terrorist. Calling an innocent person a terrorist, as despicable it is, is not a crime. Molesting a woman is. By comparing being called Bin laden's pal to a woman's harrassment, you are cheapening the magnitude of frustration felt by women.

    Yes, yes, you will say "Oh no, I am just saying compassion makes people repent". I am saying that showing compassion is easier said that done. Imagine if you were walking with your wife and sister and someone molested them. Would you, in all honesty, still buy them lunch and talk to them?

    Gandhiji's definition of ahimsa was...suffering in one's own person, instead of inflicting violence on others. By what stretch of imagination is Jasmeen's project inflicting violence? In fact it is Gandhian in the proper spirit.

    What you are suggesting is puerile.

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  45. Vinay5:58 am

    In my opinion, demonstrations and protests is definitely a first step to make people to take notice of some everyday small-scale violence against women as "CRIME -Invading somebody's private space". Several of the movements ( black rights, women rights in US ) has indeed started with simple demonstrations and protests. Even though this effort may not change a serial rapist or molestor, it would make a normal guy to think twice before committing it. These demonstrations will let that these normal guys know that women do NOT enjoy being groped by every tom and jack. Also, there is a possiblity that people seeing the demonstrations in future would feel strongly for the women and would come forward to rescue the victim if such an act is committed against women.

    One can also borrow the approach used to create awareness for shop-lifiting that shop-lifting is a serious crime. That approach ( like you see in Wal-mart Restrooms in US ) is to use postures that teach general public that physical man-handling of women is a CRIME.

    I think previous commenters Gaurav and Shriram refuted the preposterous claims/preaching put forward by junk_alpha very well. junk_alpha's approach is simply impractical and his understanding of Gandhian principle is meagre, to say the least. I agree with some other commenters that sex education in high school and open soceity is a mature approach and it attacks the problem at its root.

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  46. >>That is a logical fallacy on so many levels.

    Which fallacy? Infact, you seem to be committing this fallacy. What are you saying? Gandhi's principles do not work in their extremes? They can apply for opposing a state, but not a person - states are made of people, if you have not noticed? Those can only be the words of person who never applied them. Their very essence lies in the strength they derive at their logical end.

    In applying these principles [principles of ahmisa], Gandhi did not balk from taking them to their most logical extremes. In 1940, when invasion of the British Isles by Nazi Germany looked imminent, Gandhi offered the following advice to the British people (Non-Violence in Peace and War):

    "I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions.... If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourselves, man, woman, and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them."
    [Source]

    Before making erroneous assumptions, it would be prudent to actually understand the context. You say, "you cannot change the mind of a molester by talking to him, but only by scaring him (using mis-leading posters and scare tactics, i.e., misinforming people that staring is against the law)"? I say, "you can". What do you think Gandhi will say?

    Also, please note that I have nothing against Jasmine or her art, I only make a specific criticism about the efficacy of her methods.
    PS: Hi Jasmine. Looks like Blank Noise is making a lot of noise. Good. I am happy for you :)

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  47. >> junk_alpha's approach is simply impractical and his understanding of Gandhian principle is meagre, to say the least.

    Plato called. He said, "perhaps its best for Vinay to look at the shadows in the cave"

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