This article was previously published in Many Roads Roads for Bodhicharya. Considering the recent events in India, I thought this might be a good time to publish for a second time. (Ed)
I want to use this opportunity to write to you about some safety guides for women travelling in India.
India is called Incredible !ndia for so many reasons. Its incredible because of its varied culture and religions that are followed by so many Indians: and still they live in peace and harmony.
It’s incredible because this land favors the best types of weather from around the world
It’s incredible because it offers thousands of types of cuisine and tastes that is found nowhere else.
It’s incredible because of its ethnicity and the respect it gives to its people and to its guests from around the world.
India is an incredible land in so many ways: yet it’s incredibility is mowed down by one most disturbing factor – the increase in crimes against women!
This is the land where we worship woman as a Goddess – Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kali, Parvati; where we put our daughters and mothers on a pedestal and where we worship them on days of festivals; where our women, pray and fast for their husbands for their long and healthy life – yet this is also the land where our mothers, daughters, sisters and friends are raped by fulfilling the sadistic fetishes of the men. Women are burned alive for their dowry and tortured in so many ways. Sometimes I just wish I could flee from this “Incredible” land, because it’s less incredible to me having become a land of nightmares.
If we, the women of India, are not safe in our own land, how can we expect the females travelling from all over the world to our country to be safe??
Therefore, I feel It’s important that I write this article for the readers of Many Roads
so that my instructions might be useful to women who visit my country.
Following are a few points to be noted:
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR SISTERS VISITING INDIA
1. When you plan to visit India, please ensure that you have arranged your stay and travel in advance and not find yourself searching for a hotel when you step outside the airport here. This will lower the chances of any criminal distracting you and taking advantage of you.
2. When you step out of the airport always take a pre- paid cab from the cab rental office just outside the airport exit gates. Always note the cab no. to be sure you’re not being picked up by anyone else.
3. When roaming around the country, do not wear clothes that are too revealing. India may be advanced in technology and lot more things, but
the mentality of most of the men here can still be traditional, disrespectful and predatory.
4. Never take any lift from anyone anywhere. Always take proper, approved public transport
5. Always try to walk around in groups if possible and do not intermingle with people on the road much. Be polite, but don’t be too generous when you speak with unknown people. You may sound arrogant to them, but its better to be arrogant than give out any information about yourself that might make you appear friendly and responsive.
6. When travelling at night, only travel by authorized cabs or public vehicles. Take down the no. and name of the driver and car.
7. When going to places to drink, never over-drink and never accept drinks from unknown men. Even if you become friends with some guy, try to maintain your cool and distance
8. Do not wear too much jewelry or carry an excessive amount in your wallet, as there are a lot of bag-snatchers on road
9. Always return to your hotel after your day is over and you have had a fun night. Do not go with any guy, even though he swears to be the most honest and trustworthy of guys on the face of this earth
10. And, always keep some phone nos. handy- women helpline nos. police cell no, etc. Finally, there are amazing and incredible people in India, including men, of course. Ultimately, you will have to use your own judgement. Have patience and go slowly till you are sure.
Rest have fun, chill out, travel around India because you may have travelled across the globe; and there is no other country like India.. Its truly Incredible and unique in all its beauty… BE SAFE!
Upasana Pokhriyal is an Indian national and currently works for Madison World
in New Delhi, a communication group specialising in media and other fields.Upasana is a graduate of Delhi University