You can’t cage her dreams

Once again I am in a dilemma over what to highlight first — the insensitivity of the woman cops who had shamelessly put behind bars a minor Dalit girl who had gone to the police station with her mother to lodge a complaint of sexual assault or the women achievers whom Hindustan Times had felicitated in Lucknow on Saturday for their grit and determination.

First about the poor victim, a ten-year-old girl, who spent hours behind bars till a journalist came to her rescue. Often we get to hear that there should be more women cops at police stations. But if they also become tormentors, where does one go? I have just come back from a seminar on woman security, organised and attended by cops. Ironically, it started with a powerpoint presentation by a woman cop highlighting the ills that plague the police system. While addressing them, I said what perhaps I shouldn’t have – woman cops should be professional. But in their own lingo perhaps professionalism does not mean compassion but cruelty.

Well, I really hope the ten-year-old girl would be more determined now to take on the bullies, including the cops. She has displayed a streak of boldness in her very decision to lodge a complaint with the police against the 25 year-old guy who had sexually assaulted her in Bulandshahr.

There is no dearth of such bravehearts as we saw this Saturday at the prestigious HT Woman Award 2013.

After a stiff competition when Rekha Choudhan walked on to the dais to humbly accept the Golden Girl ( trophy ) from the guests of honour, cine star Shabana Azmi, politician Dimple Yadav (MP) and music director Wajid Khan , people literally cheered and clapped for her. After all she had accomplished what many can’t even think of -sacrificing her dream to become a civil servant to work for the empowerment of Dalit women in the interiors of East UP, including the Naxalite belt on the UP-Bihar borders. She now leads the Mahila Swarozgar Samiti, a group of 10,000 underprivileged rural women. Obviously, the journey has not been that easy for Rekha, especially getting acceptance among the Dalits, for which she had to live with them and like them for months together.

Each one of the awardees was a success story and I will try highlight their achievements in my subsequent blogs so that the world comes to know them and their immense contribution to the society.

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