Swati CA

Swati_CA column in The Hindu Business Line

Monday, June 19, 2006

Handling harassers on the train!

Should travel be a harassingly fearsome ordeal for women?
Around midnight, when the whole coach was asleep, I could hear some noise from the berths below. A few men were harassing a young woman who was apparently travelling alone. There were liquor bottles around, and one of the men was even offering the drink to the frightened lady. "Come on! Take a sip... and dance!" he was saying menacingly.



  • At 5:25 PM, Blogger Shrinidhi Hande said…

    I came across your column in business line today and latter checked you blog.
    I've enjoyed reading your present and past blogs. Good work.

    I too have a blog: http://enidhispeaks.blogspot.com Very few people read it but I keep writing anyway. Have a look if time permits.

    Best Wishes,

  • At 11:24 AM, Blogger Swati CA said…

    Mail received at: swati_ca@hotmail.com

    Ms. Swati,

    I do not understand what you wanted to communicate through your article
    'Should travel..... for women'. When a co-passenger of you was being
    harassed by a group of men under influence of alcohol, you photographed the
    scene, called up your friend ACP, then fell asleep.

    Anything could have been happened to that girl before the police arrives.

    Then what is the difference between you and other passengers, who had not
    bothered to listen this.

    This was not a lonely incident. One incident happened in your presence. Many
    such incidents are happening daily. Co-passengers of such victims may not
    have a higher police official to call up for help. If some passengers take
    initiative to protest against such hooligans others will definitely support
    them. The question is who will bell the cat?



  • At 11:26 AM, Blogger Swati CA said…

    From e-mail

    >I could imagine your plight on that train and also that of the other lady
    >passenger who was harassed.
    >Let me tell you my ordeal when I was travelling from Chennai to Coimbatore
    >once - approximately four years ago.
    >Though, I am a male I did feel frustrated when I was trying to get off the
    >autorickshaw at Central station.
    >A guy jumped into the autorickshaw near the new reservation building and
    >demanded that he carry my luggage as if it was his birth right to do so -
    >though I had a small suitcase. I had a terrible time telling him to back
    >off and understanding from my accent that I was not from Chennai, he then
    >began to pick a quarrel with me when I was a bit stressed and he questioned
    >me for being angry.
    >Part two of the story was that I did have some drunken hooligans in the
    >train too. They were up the whole night and ran from place to place
    >screaming and teasing each other. One guy even stood on my bed sheet on the
    >lower berth just to climb up and shave off the moustache of his friend who
    >was sleeping on the upper berth. Droplets of water and shaving foam did
    >fall on my face.
    >Having travelled from Melbourne the previous night and wanting to reach
    >Coimbatore peacefully I could not even get a wink of sleep. It was only at
    >Salem that these fellows were tired of their pranks and they slept till
    >Coimbatore and could not wake up when the train arrived there.
    >Where is the police and RPF when we need them? I think a central number
    >should function so that one could ring and complain about hoodlums on the
    >trains so that they are nabbed at the next station.
    >Plain clothes policemen and RPF are a must on trains.
    >I think next time I travel to India I shall have to either take a
    >connecting flight to Coimbatore from Chennai or get off at Bangalore and
    >take the train from there.
    >Warren Ezekiel

  • At 11:26 AM, Blogger Swati CA said…


    >hello swati,
    >i believe that all women have to learn techniques of self defence. this is
    >increasingly becoming a
    >necessity. more and more women are now economically independant. their jobs
    >require travelling on
    >their own, be on their own and take care of themselves. such harassment is
    >not an imagined fear and
    >may not happen only while travelling. while the law and order machinery
    >needs to be sensitised to
    >the issue, the need for women to be able to defend themselves cannot be
    >i have a few questions - where was railway police? where was the
    >attendant/ticket checker of the
    >coach? what if you were not one of the co-passengers? what if you didnt
    >know a police officer? what
    >if your cellphone didnt have a camera? what if help didnt arrive as you
    >assumed it would...

  • At 11:27 AM, Blogger Swati CA said…


    >Yes Swati as the girl asked u could have gone down and helped her out?
    >Reshmi Menon,
    >On second thoughts ur informing the police was also laudable.

  • At 11:28 AM, Blogger Swati CA said…


    >Hi Swati
    > I am regular reader of your column. The topic which you have raised
    >this week is worth pondering these days because of hectic traveling that
    >accompanies every job profile. The agony that women undergo, as indicated
    >by your column, indicate a disturbing trend in an otherwise fast growing
    >country of ours. These days when women occupy high profiles, the physical
    >intimidation and torture experienced by them is prevalent, irrespective of
    >the age and stature. Only thing women can do to prevent these agonies is
    >not to be intimidated by these silly actions and take sterns actions
    >against these antisocial elements courageously.
    >Sriram Kannan

  • At 11:28 AM, Blogger Swati CA said…


    >Dear Swati,
    >I want to have some information about service tax & are there chartered
    >accountants who are specialized in service tax?
    >Looking forward for a reply from you.
    >Thanks & Regards,
    >Topnotch Placements
    >Tel: (022) 67076933 / 34 / 35 / 36

  • At 9:29 AM, Blogger Virtuous Enterprise said…

    Dear Swati,
    I am happy the issue has made many of your readers to think and some of us to send the comments.I would like to add my own.
    First of all, as Mr.Warren indicated it is not just a gender specific issue. Having said that I do agree that it has a different and serious dimension when it concerns with the opposite sex.Few years ago I was travelling from Ahemedabad to Chennai.We suffered almost a similar situation.We thought the drunken passengers would be travelling to the nearby stations.To our agony they travelled upto Chennai.The TT did try to sole the problem but could not because ther were no railway police to help him.
    The basic problem in all these cases I guess is slowly but surely most of us are not getting angry when we have to.There was a Tamil film where Kamal Hasan don the role of an young and angry man trying to fight out the wrong doings of anything he comes across.Every society throws up such people.But today our value system does not appreciate such good samaritans.
    Closely related to the above is the growing belief that a good person is the one who does not do any harm to any body whereas in reality a good person is the one who does good things.This includes responding to situations like this as you have done.
    Shutting one's eyes to whatever happens to others is basically I think-I may be wrong- an urban phenomenon. But now it is spreading to smaller towns as well.
    S.Gnana Haran.

  • At 10:15 AM, Blogger Virtuous Enterprise said…

    Further to my yesterday's posting I would just like to give you one more piece of information that the whole incident in our case took place in a II Ac compartment!
    S.Gnana Haran.


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