India is a favorite traveling spot for every tourist, because it is a country famous for its different religions, rituals, cultures and customs. But as said there is unity in diversity, there is one common thing in most of the religions of India that here women are considered as Goddess. In India, it is a belief that woman is to be worshiped and treated with respect, as she is the one who has power to give birth to a new life. She is the one who nourishes and takes care of the family. She plays different roles in life like daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, etc. That’s why, the women have special place in the society and should be treated with respect.
But, does it really happen? Is women really worshipped as goddess or treated with respect in India? And are they really safe and secure? To get answers of the above questions, let’s share a real story about an NRI Girl’s trip to India last year only. In response to someone’s question about her trip to India, she answered with great dilemma that India is wonderful, but it is extremely dangerous for women. It was a half dream and half nightmare for her to stay in India for three months.
This NRI Girl is Michaela Cross, who has become the victim of the great hospitality provided by India, during her study abroad trip at India. She has shared her story, “India: The Story You Never Wanted to Hear” posted on CNN iReport at August 20, under the username RoseChasm. Her post received emotional response from many people, who have shared their comments of apologies & similar experiences. She is an American student at the University of Chicago. On her return to her country from India, she was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and is on medical leave from school. So, now you can imagine, how much she suffered, during the trip of India. How the country saying that ‘Guests here are treated as God’ is actually treating their guests, especially women?
She has described in her post, the experience of being continuous stared, continuous stalking, groping and sexual harassment. She told about those male crowds, who shoot her without her permission, during dancing at Ganesha Festival; a man clawing her breasts and groins at saree shop; other man stalking her at market; staff member of hotel tried to rape her friend and called her continuously. Then also, being courteous, she praised about her stay at India that she had a good time here. But it does not mean that she has forgotten that worst experience, she had at India. When she returned, student counselors of the college diagnosed her with a personality disorder. After a public breakdown, she has to take a medical leave.
Now, after reading this story, many Indians will try to console her, apologizes to her, discuss this incident deeply scratching her bad memories more and even more, etc. Most of them have supported and acknowledged the courage of sharing her experience, by which many such foreigners and even Indian women are revealing their experiences. But, no one will ever try to understand, that this incident has raised a big question against the culture of Incredible India, Indian Ministry of Tourism, and every Indian citizen. A question that every tourist will ask: Is it safe to travel to India? Is it secure for NRI woman to travel in India all alone?
Without being biased, very few Indians will accept that it is insecure for NRI woman to travel to India. Here, even local woman are facing the same problems. Nowadays, this type of incident has become so common, that it feels like people are not even bothered to notice or do something about it. Even, the Ministry of Tourism has failed to do something about the safety of tourists. The tourists are liability for the Indian government. If these incidents will continue to happen, then it will decrease the popularity of India as tourists’ spot, which will affect the prestige of India. Last but not the least, this issue is not specific to India, it is a global problem. Everywhere in the world, women have to face it. So, it is the duty of every citizen of any country to respect and help the tourists, especially women, as they are guests of their country.