Above is a poster on a train in India. It’s one of many. Printed in in bold red are the words – “Harassing women passengers is a punishable offence.” Wow, really?
The thing to note here is that songs are banned as much as obscene remarks, gestures, teasing, etc., If you are wondering why, it’s because Indian Films (Bollywood) often feature song and dance numbers where an actor tries to woo a girl with songs, most of which border on sexual harassment. Of course, this sick concept when played out in real life can be uncomfortably creepy, and often traumatic for the person at the receiving end.
As most women travelers will agree, harassment of women in public places is a major issue in India. Should I feel happy that the safety of women is a matter of concern for the Indian Railways or should I be dismayed that they need to put up such a warning? A bit of both actually.