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When you can’t keep silent…

Global views


Some politicians have the most remarkable ability to say things that just make you go… huh??

The latest was Mahesh Sharma, India’s Union Minister of Tourism and Culture, stating foreign women should not wear skirts.

Really… I’m not making this stuff up!

Those who know me well, know I clearly have something to say about such comments!

No surprise then that a friend called up inviting me to write a piece from my perspective – looking back at my experience as a ‘foreign woman’ with a 26 year relationship with India.

It started as a fairly typical rant against chauvinism… then morphed into sharing quite personal stories…

The result?

An article published today in the quite fabulous online newspaper Scroll.in.

Curious? Read on…

A foreign woman’s response to Mahesh Sharma: It’s got nothing to do with dressing modestly


What do you think?

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  1. Great piece, congrats 🙂

  2. BerLinda says:

    Well done – great article 🙂

  3. When I went to India in 84/85 (age 25) I didn’t have any bad experiences at all. Totally the contrary, my memeroies are of coureous polite people. My friend and I were both blonde, she had blue eyes, mine are green. We did wear trousers but that was for practicality for travelling.

    Anyway the link to scroll.in was useful as I looked at the jobs page and forwarded it to an Indian journalist blog friend 🙂

    • I’ve had far more fabulous experiences than challenges! And delighted yours was universally positive.

      However the buses in Delhi are notoriously bad for sexual harassment – both genders! Men are not immune either…

      I also only started to wear dresses last year. Before that for 25 years, practically only wore pants or salwar kurtas. 🙂

      Glad the link was useful in other ways too!!! Naresh and team are doing a fabulous job with Scroll.in

  4. Congratulations, it is a great article.
    I always do wonder how they get the idea it must be due to the clothes etc (okay in few cases it might be) and that they never ever blame the guys! Seriously what is wrong with this whole world, just reminded be on the damn rape case in the USA where the “boy” got only 3 months or so in prison for raping another student while another guy was over 20 years in prison for consuming and possesion of marijuana…

    • Thanks for reading & commenting. 🙂

      Don’t get me started on the absurdity of the penal system here – you could get more jail time for being caught with beef than raping (and even murdering) a woman. That is if the police even bother to investigate and the courts even bother to hear the rape case… which can take a decade (or more!).

      We just need a few more guys in the world that respect women (and men) and get that ‘no means no’.

      • So true. In the end every country is still lacking with these things. Just few years ago there was in the Finnish newspaper a skit about two men in prison in the same cell arriving on the same day. They ask how long they got and one says “about 2 months but with good behaviour I am out in 1 month” and the others says “Oh lucky you, I have to be here for 4 years!”. The first guy is shocked and asks “What did you do, kill someone?” – “I killed and elk off-season, and you?” – “I raped a underaged age”…
        It is just such a sad system and even though this provoked an outcry as it was even based on facts it did change nothing at all in the end

        • Punishment is one aspect, prevention is more critical. I’m a big proponent of a very different kind of sex ed in schools where the social cultural and emotional context is frankly discussed not just the physical. In India, friends with an NGO put together such a program ‘Saath Saath’ which is a small but important step to reach out to young men and women early enough to hopefully make an impact…

  5. Loved the article and I must say you nailed it completely. When I read such news it makes my blood boil and instills my faith that India is going to take a hell lot of time (at least not in next ten centuries) to rise up to some level of maturity and develop on a global scale.

    • What is very much the case here is for every challenge there is an equal or greater fabulous experience.

      The difficulty currently is the prevailing public discourse is quite problematic. And the next generation is being educated with curriculums that support one way of viewing the world – to the extent of literally re-writing history.

      Which makes online publications like Scroll.in and The Wire so critical as they are one of the few avenues where an alternate perspective is aired…

  6. Marta says:

    Bravo! Great article. You can say it louder, but not clearer. Did you send the link to that minister? 😛

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