A few days back two girls were standing in one of the posh areas of Mumbai. For those who don’t know south Mumbai is almost like New York..it’s hip and happening and most of the country follows its lead.
So, these two girls were standing on the Street and smoking cigarettes. By the way this case happened before the law to ban smoking in public places was put in place. So here were 2 girls smoking and chit chatting during their office break. Suddenly an entire mod of 100 people landed on them and dragged them to the police station. Well, the police which is usually much reluctant to register complaints about anything because it shows their policing in poor light…..immediately registered the complain.
The complain? Girls are smoking and it will give wrong message to the youth. The girls were immediately taken into custody and were not let out till the next day!
And this is not an isolated case. During a case in the higher court almost everyone including a judge made a comment against a female lawyer who was defending a victim of molestation…that since both the women smoke it does put a question mark on their character!
Well, the question here is not whether smoking is good or bad…everyone know it is bad for health and etc…
The question here is does a girl have the right to smoke? Just like men or no.
Now, tobacco consumption is as old as mankind…In india women chew tobacco and smoke cigars (chirut) and beddi (cigarette ) even in the remote villages…trust me on this because I have worked with many villagers. They even use opium to deal with a hard days of work. So smoking should not be a worry…..right ? then why?
Then why are mega cities like Mumbai so intolerant to women smoking?
Because when women use tobacco in the villages they do so sitting in a corner and they do not forget their place in society where as when a woman smokes a cigarette standing like a man right on a busy street of Mumbai she is sending a message to the world : I am no less than a man.
And that my friends shakes the balance of the unequal equation…and it is men losing their power , their control…their right to treat women as their property.
A few days back an entire mob of fifty men descended on a Banglore pub and dragged women out …some even got slapped as a bonus, why? Because they were having beer with their friends!