Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Discriminatory Dhakkan

In a fictional survey not conducted by anyone, 93.2% of umbrella users revealed that they used umbrellas to protect themselves from the rain and/or the heat of the sun. (2% used his umbrella primarily as a proxy golf club and 4.8% declined to comment.) All of these 93.2% people then went on to confirm that they indulged in these climate-countering activities completely voluntarily. Rain down, umbrella up – that simple.

In another recent study, carried out amongst good-looking urban women in my neighbourhood, 100% of the respondents (i.e. both of them) said most vehemently that they most definitely lock the doors of their flats before retiring for the night, even though there is no law or local statute in force that specifically requires them to do so.

What this data seems to indicate is that intelligent people (extrapolated from umbrella users and neighbourhood ladies) naturally take steps to protect themselves from unwanted outcomes and unpleasant experiences. Couples who use condoms and TV viewers who change the channel when the ad-that-shall-not-be-named comes on are further examples of the same human tendency.

Of course, all this seems quite obvious and hardly deserves all the kilobytes I’m using to write it down. But there is a reason.

And that reason is the Curious Case of the Two-Wheeler Helmet. You see, the helmet seems to be an exception to the instinct of self-preservation. Media persons of both genders have devoted substantial column-centimetrage in the leading dailies to this issue. Why have the traffic laws of Delhi made pillion-riding women exempt from wearing protective helmets on scooters and motorcycles? Do our laws not value our women? Are the crania of our female brethren unworthy of protection?

No matter what your private opinion, this is a serious matter. For it appears that according to an undiscovered secret decree, a Delhi-ite may wear a helmet only in the presence of the law. Or haven’t you noticed how Delhi’s two-wheelerists respectfully remove their helmets when there is no policeman present? It’s the same with car drivers and seat belts, but at least there’s no sexual discrimination there. But by specifically exempting women from wearing helmets, the law has seemingly made an implied comment on womanhood. Or so the media would have you believe.

My belief is more laissez-faire. I believe that because our democratically framed laws have given women the freedom to buy and wear helmets if they want, it’s really up to the ladies, isn’t it?

After all, who should know better than them what their own heads are worth?

No comments:

Post a Comment