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By Muskan Bhatnagar
They say the environment is not safe for women outside these days. My question is, are they safe in the virtual world of social media? Are they safe inside their homes, just using their mobile phones? The answer is a complete NO, it seems. The debates seem to be endless on such topics but, real or virtual doesn’t matter, women can’t feel safe has to be a fact. Online harassment and cyberbullying seem to be a major threat to women. And the number of cases tends to increase each day.
Women account for only 30% of social media users, out of which 41% of women have faced online harassment according to a survey conducted in 2017.
With this, let’s bring in light the recent horrifying case of Delhi schoolboys glorifying Gang rape in a chat group named “boy’s locker room”.
The incident revolves around a group of teenage boys who made a chat group on social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat and allegedly used it to share pictures of underaged girls, pass lewd comments on their body, objectify them and plan to ‘gang rape’ them. The group of boys was busted when a south Delhi girl shared a screenshot of the chat group on twitter.
“A group of south Delhi guys aged 17-18 types have this Instagram group chat named ‘boy’s locker room’ where they shit on, objectify and morph pictures of girls their age. 2 boys from my school are a part of it. MY FRIENDS AND I ARE FREAKING OUT THIS IS SO EWWW AND NOW MY MOM WANTS ME TO QUIT IG (sic),” the Twitter user wrote as she busted the boys.
The incident has taken the internet by storm and is getting a high amount of coverage as many teenagers have identified the perpetrators as their classmates and known. Users demand police action against the boys who passed offensive comments. Many stories are circulating around the internet about the incident.
Most of the boys involved in the shameful incident belong to the age category of 15 to 18 years and study in well-known schools of Delhi. Then why is it so that boys who aren’t even adults yet are passing such derogatory remarks on women? Is it the lack of sex education? Or excessive privilege is given to teenagers? Is this the freedom of speech and expression we talk about? Or the inessential accessibility to social media and the internet?
The women seem to be furious and disgusted with the act but not many seem to be shocked. The reason being that the rape culture and objectification of women is getting so prevalent in the society that it has normalized within our mindsets. Women seem to have accepted that this mentality persists in society as such cases are coming in light almost every day. Women always tend to take a stand for themselves, fight for their dignity but it’s been years and they haven’t received anything for that matter.
Each time a girl or a woman takes a stand for herself, there’s a constant fear in the back of her mind. Fear of being threatened, fear of being followed, fear of being a victim, and whatnot. Taking a stand for yourself in a world where it is so easy for minor boys to ‘plan a gang rape’ of a girl is a difficult task.
There may be hundreds of women who might quit social media or remove their pictures from their social media handles after this episode.
This incident is an objectification of women, especially and unfortunately underaged girls, and shows the male toxicity prevalent in society for ages. Still, we come across people who rather than talking about the cause, are speaking for and against the people involved, and are arguing within themselves on social media. Some taking stands for perpetrators, some talking against the victims, some glorifying the accounts of the people who brought the incident in light.
Well, it’s not about questioning the ‘Inactive members of the group’ or the ‘Past of the victims’ anymore. It’s totally and completely about the rape mindset which has been rooted in the minds of underaged boys, which can be a threat to society. It’s about taking a stand for women and speaking for the cause. It’s about being able to make a change in society and the mindset which we have been failing to change for years. It’s about the audacity of underaged boys to freely plan a gang rape of a girl and their audacity to pass lewd comments on females with no regrets.
This has to be one of the most shameful incidents of cybercrime as both the victims as well as the perpetrators are underaged.
Prior to the brutal second wave of the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cautioned civil services probationers against developing the despised "babu mindset". He gave the invaluable piece of advice while addressing civil services probies at the well-known Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie via video-conferencing. He also outlined the keystone mantra of "minimum government and maximum governance".
With the recent collapse of the under-construction flyover in Bandra Kurla Complex which injured 14 labourers, it seems like the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has got the PM's keystone mantra all wrong. The recent flyover collapse isn't an isolated incident, in fact, a month ago a similarly bemusing incident took place in the eastern part of the suburbs.
On 1st August 2021, the honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri. Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated a flyover in the eastern part of the suburbs. In his inaugural speech, he quipped the BMC to smoothen the rough road surface. The BMC swing into action and the surface of the flyover was swiftly re-worked upon. But, instead of smoothening the pre-existing rough surface, the shoddy repair work added to the problem. To top it all off, the BMC added a barrage of speed breakers and rumbler strips on the bridge.
The shoddy repair work combined with a plethora of speed breakers caused long congestions on the Mankhurd-Ghatkopher stretch, ultimately killing the purpose of building the bridge. Moreover, after numerous accidents of motorbikes skidding on the bridge during the rain and the subsequent death of a rider the bridge was closed for traffic.
The construction of the flyover commenced in February 2016 at an approved cost of ₹500 crores. The project was slated to be delivered in January 2019 but was delayed multiple times. The BMC had also made a design change in the flyover by adding a connector to the Deonar dumping ground due to which the construction cost of the flyover was increased to over ₹700 crore. The flyover was expected to bring relief to the traffic on Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road but instead, it added to the existing traffic woes. On a concluding note, the maximum city of Mumbai runs on barely minimum governance, literally.
Keywords: Mumbai, Narendra Modi, Civil Services, Governance.
Along with the undeniable natural beauty, the Kashmir valley has developed a reputation for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, and river rafting. Kashmir has maintained its charm, allowing us to time-travel into beautiful destinations which make one forget about the stress and worries of life. The hikes in Kashmir offer adventurers to go on a self-discovery trip through nature's lap over the mountains while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them on their journey. In addition to the hikes, there are many thrilling adventure activities, like rock climbing, rope climbing, etc. Trekking across the region of mountains and lakes will allow you to experience living in the "Paradise on Earth," and you wouldn't want to return to your regular life after that.
The following are some of the finest hiking destinations in Kashmir:
#1: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. In addition to three high-altitude passes and five river valley crossings, this is the only trip in the Himalayas that includes seven alpine lakes, each of which is a stunning shade of green, blue, or turquoise. The extravagance is limitless and breathtakingly stunning every day: infinite blue sky, a larger-than-life backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, colourful meadows overflowing with wildflowers, river crossings are just a few examples of what you will encounter during the trek.
You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. | Photo by prayer flags on Unsplash
#2: Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora Trek: The Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora trek is a one-of-a-kind experience that provides a glimpse into Kashmir's undiscovered regions. Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey that is the perfect experience for anyone looking to get away from the frantic tourist rush. This trek is a fascinating journey that allows nature enthusiasts to bask in the splendour of nature's grandeur. The trek goes over many high mountain passes, some as high as 4000 metres in elevation. The hiking route, in addition to providing breathtaking views of the magnificent Vishansar Lake, provides visitors with the chance to see more than 50 alpine lakes.
Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey. | Photo by YASER NABI MIR on Unsplash
ALSO READ: Top 10 Beautiful Sights To VIsit In Kashmir
#3: Tral-Narastan-Marsar Trek: The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. The hiking trail passes past a waving saffron field, beautiful meadows, and several streams. The path also crosses the Dachigam National Park, where there is an opportunity to see various animal species. Trekkers may take in spectacular views of the high mountains running parallel to them as they cut and pass through Narastan, a Hindu pilgrimage place.
The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. | Wikimedia Commons
#4: Chhatargul-Mahlish-Gangabal: The journey, which passes through beautiful locations such as Chattargul, Mahlish, Kolsar, and Trunkul, provides a peek into an utterly uninhabited wilderness of Kashmir. There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one trek into the alpine wilderness. Trekkers can also enjoy fishing in the crystal clear lakes, camping, or just seeing towering snow-capped mountains while on their journey.
There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one treks into the alpine wilderness. | Wikimedia Commons
#5: Kolahoi Base Camp Trek: The Kolahoi Base Camp trek in Kashmir has been famous since the early 1900s and has been a goal for many seasoned hikers from across the world. While Srinagar serves as the beginning point for the trip, it is in Aru Valley that the actual hiking begins. The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. The breathtaking sight of the peaks rising into the sky on the horizon of the Pirpanjal and Karakoram ranges is certainly worth capturing. It is considered to be one of the most popular treks in the Kashmir valley.
The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. | Wikimedia Commons
Kashmir's natural splendour, with its beautiful valleys and towering mountains, is really unlike anywhere. Trekking through various valleys and peaks while taking in the scenic beauty is something that always calms the heart and provides us with memories that we will remember for a lifetime.
Keywords: Kashmir, Lakes, Alpine, Hiking, Trekking, Treks, Sonamarg, Gangabal, Kolahoi, Chhatargul, Mahlish, Tral, Narastan, Marsar
The Pitru Paksha starts after the Full Moon day, and this day marks the beginning of the waning phase of the Lunar cycle. This event is roughly of 15-day period, and is of great significance. From this day, rituals like Tarpan or Tarpanam and Shradh are carried out to pay respects to dead relatives and ancestors.
It is believed that from the very first day till the last day, the unhappy souls of the deceased return to the Earth to see their family members. So, in order to ensure that the dead attain Moksha, i.e. to get liberation, family members of these souls quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger by performing the Pind Daan, which includes offering food consisting of cooked rice and black sesame seeds. The literal meaning of Pind Daan is the act of satisfying those who no longer exist physically.
For fifteen days, prayers are offered in temples and rituals are performed to help the souls get free from the cycle of birth, life, and death, and attain salvation.
At the same time, the Pitru Paksha is also an important period for people with Pitru Dosha, which means the curse imposed by the ancestors. Hence, in order to ask forgiveness, people perform Shradh rituals and offer food to the crows, who are considered as living beings that represent the dead. It is believed, if the crow eats the offered food, the ancestors are happy and pleased. But, if the crow doesn't eat the offered food and flies away, the ancestors are not happy.
The event of Pitru Paksha is widely observed by Hindus from all over the world, and they perform prayers and rituals in order to gain their ancestors blessings.