Almost 12 years ago, our Delhi government ambitiously took on a plan to build a public transport system that would run above or below the ground on train tracks, without hampering the flow of traffic in its wake. Mumbai Local and the Buses would seem prehistoric before it, or so it was thought. This won’t work in a city like Delhi, with its ever expanding population; it would be chaotic and overcrowded; people will keep falling from the train and ultimately it would end up like the local railway trains – were some of the arguments put forward by the naysayers. But the government still went ahead with the plan, and gave it’s responsibility into the very able hands of Mr.K. Shreedharan. After years of hard work on the part of Mr. Shreedharan’s department, the Metro was finally flagged off after a festive ceremony. Lo and behold, it was all what had been promised – on time, every time; safe and secure; and most of all it made travelling easier. But after a few years, the brains behind the metro once again came together to take another defining decision – the introduction of female coaches. The reasons given were that the female passengers felt uncomfortable in the presence of males and that women travelling with men gave some men the chance to ogle at them or touch them. Thus started the journey of the women’s coaches, or pink coaches. Women felt relieved that they would have to travel with women only and men (some of them) cursed their luck. It has been many years since these coaches were first introduced and infinite no of journeys have been undertaken, but the real question that still lingers on is that has the metro been able to address any of the two concerns that were the reasons behind the formation of this special women’s coach ? As far as I can say, and I speak from experience, the lecherous mentality of men has remained the same, women are still eyed as pieces of meat by the men standing at the joint connecting the women’s compartment to the rest of the train and eve teasing still takes place, if not inside the metro, then outside it, on the platforms, on the stairs, on the ticket counters. So what really is the solution to this problem? Making different platforms for women, making different lines for males and females or building different entry and exit gates for men and women? None of it really will make a change, all of us who still are in control of their senses will agree to that. Then what is the solution? Hundreds of brainstorming sessions have been undertaken, thousands of brains, young and old alike, have given a stringent thought to this; but the fact of the matter remains that the condition has remained same over the years, if not worsened. Me suggesting a solution to this conundrum might be perceived as an insult to the intelligence of many a learned men, after all I am not even a graduate yet, but still I dare to chalk out my plan for bringing an end to this menace – increase the surveillance in the metro; catch the offenders on your own with the CCTV footage as evidence, do not always rely on the women to speak up for themselves; and most important of them all – if someone is ever found guilty of such an act, bar him for life from travelling in the metro. How this should be done, and what is possible and what is still beyond the scope of possible remains to be seen by the relevant authorities, but these steps, undoubtedly, will decrease the number of women related crimes that take place in the metro. I am not calling the metro unsafe- it is still the safest and most trusted way for women to travel at night, but what I am suggesting is to make it better and ultimately the best in terms of women safety. Only then will women be really able to say that our city might be hell (it is) but there is still a piece of heaven left on it, a place where I can be myself, a place where I am as safe as home, any time of the day, a place called Our Metro..!! ————–
About the Author: This article is contributed by Yashaswi Singh, our intern.