Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Skirting around the real issue

Relatively speaking, India has a lot of societal problems, it has a discriminatory caste system, crushing poverty in many areas, poor education, lack of investment, patchy medical care, poor infrastructure, retarding deference to superstition and corruption on a large scale, not to mention her vast population has an average life expectancy 20% lower than that of the West. India also has a lot going for it too, for example a reasonable democracy, ambition, cultural richness and diversity, natural resources as well as some great artists, intellectuals and scientists (some of whom actually live there as opposed to London or New York!)

I read with interest today that the Indian "culture minister" (Mahesh Sharma) has gotten into some hot water over his recent advice to foreign visitors, particularly Women. He advises them (under the cover of "cultural differences") not to venture out on their own, not to wear skirts and more worryingly to take pictures of any car they might travel in and to send them to friends. Sometimes people betray their real thoughts in the advice that they give. It seems fairly clear that India also has a problem with misogyny and rape. No society is perfect of course, but the numbers do seem to suggest that incidents of rape (reported and unreported) are significantly higher than in many other places, even marital rape is not illegal in India. Many Women in India have spoken out on social media to challenge and even ridicule Mr Sharma, it would seem that Women in India also recognise the problem. In my experience Indian Women generally have strong independent characters; I hope that they are able to marshal resources in order to change their society from within (always the best way), any country that can justify spending billions on space research but can't offer protection and justice for 50% of it's own population or female tourists probably needs to re-think it's priorities.

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