Sunday, April 6, 2014

Let Elections 2014 do not divide us

Let Elections 2014 do not divide us
Syed Ali Mujtaba 

Every five years election comes to us. There are many good things about the election that we talk about. We often extol about it as the heart of our democracy. However no one talks about the side effects of election that it is divisive in nature. It creates enemy out of friends.

Come every election and each of us are put in different boxes to which we accidentally belong. Suddenly, we start thinking about our identities. We start looking at our friends sitting in other boxes in not so friendly ways. It is this aspect of the election that is divisive.  

Well our identity is like an Onion, we keep on peeling, and one facet of our identity will keep emerging. What elections do is to exploit these identities divide us on such basis. Let’s understand these facets of our elections very well.

As the voting is just nearing, the temperature within the society is rising. Everyone wants to teach others a lesson by pressing the EVMs.  If this if is done in right spirit it is fine, but it does not happen so in India.

After dividing the social order in primordial categories, it is difficult to bridge the polarized society back to previous social synthesis. This harsh reality of our elections has to be understood in all its vicissitude.

In elections after all only one will win and rest will loose. Those who will win will have a good time, but in this game of wining and loosing, the whole society is polarized. So this hook of elections should not be allowed to play with our lives.

We should not loose faith in our democracy or elections but at the same time we should not get trapped in its vicious format. We have to live with each other side by side, work in same place and do so many things in tandem.  Our sight as being fellow human beings and proud citizens of the country should never get vitiated by the five yearly rituals.   
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Narender Modi and his three Friends

Narender Modi and his three Friends
Syed Ali Mujtaba

There are three friends of BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narender Modi. They are Tilak (Brahmins), Taraju (Banya) and Talwar (RSS). All are backing the RSS Prcharck to the hilt in the general election 2014.

 It remains to be seen how rest of the nation respond to the hype and hoopla and the media blitzkrieg build by these three friends of Modi in this parliamentary elections. The topic of debate is will the aspiration of the common man may get steamrolled by the Modi’s juggernaut or will they weather the storm. It is a tale for another day, right now it’s story time of Narender Modi and his three friends.

In 1984 the Dalit leader Kanshi Ram who founded the BSP coined the slogan “Tilak, Taraju aur Talwar, inko maro joote char.” This was to awaken the dalits in India.   His three montages were the euphemism of the exploitative symbols in the country.  The Tilak represented the Brahmin caste, the head, the Taraju, the Baniya caste or the stomach and the Talwar the Rajputs caste, sword arm i.e force.

These are actually symbolic groups and not the act
ual caste identity as some may think. What the Dalit leader meant were the exploitative characteristics that lay hidden behind these symbols.

The Tialk, according the BSP leader meant all those who are cunning foxes, all time scheming to remain near power. This class never sits on the actual hot seat of power but prefers to remote control it, irrespective of the figurehead.  

The Taraju, is the class that worship money and whose sole purpose is to make profit. They align with the political forces that can help them increase their wealth and resources.

The third category is ‘Talwar’ that believes in the strong arm tactics to achieve the political power. They do so by creating wedge in the society spilling lot of blood and gore.

In the run up to the general election 2014, it appears that all these three forces have combined together in support of Narender Modi. The story of Modi and his three Friends is a story of these three symbols of exploitation that is turning the wheels of his juggernaut.

In the context of 2014 general elections, the Talwar  is not the Rajputs but the Rastriya Sevak Sangh (RSS) that has come out in the open to test the electoral waters keeping Narender Modi as its popular face. RSS has a captive vote of 5 to 6 percent that can swell in numbers in favorable times.

The cultural organization that aspires to make India as a Hindu Rashtra, thrives on the idea of “We Vs Them.” It is their involvement in communal riots has earned them the euphemism of ‘Talwar’ in the ensuing election.

The neckerwals are actually the foot soldiers in the vote Modi campaign.  As part of the organization’s discipline, all the Nathuram Godses have to be present at their Parcharak meetings and its is their overwhelming presence in the public meetings that is creating awe and admiration for Narender Modi.

It remains to be seen how the general voters responds to the Modi’s hype built by the RSS cadre. Will they be part of the herd mentality that has camouflaged them, or they will respond differently to their alibi?

The second friend of Narender Modi is the ‘Taraju’, or the Baniya class. They comprise of the shopkeepers, traders, retailers and other such business class that have an urban base.  It is the most influential friend of Narender Modi and many among them are RSS sympathizer. They have opened their coffers for the vote Modi campaign. They belong to the same community as Narender Modi and are in the game of making him the first Baniya Prime Minister of India.

This class knows that their investment will be returned with huge profit, if Narender Modi becomes the Prime Minister. It is the money power of this class that is making most of the sound. Will the common voters get lured to their tricks  or will they raise above their bait is to be seen when they go out to press the EVMs.

The third friend of Modi is Tilak or the cunning foxes. In popular gossip it is said that if you see a Brahmin and a snake, kill the former first, as it is more dangerous than the snake. No matter who is the ruler, this class has controlled the strings of political power since time immemorial.

Even though they are electorally insignificant they have demonstrated how even electoral minority can rule the country of teeming millions.

It is this class that controls the media outlets and shapes the opinion through their pulp fictions. A head count in these shops of knowledge will reveal their presence in an overwhelming manner.  

This opportunist class makes a lethal combo with the moneyed category. The proverbial Brahmin- Banaya combination is the most fearsome symbol of exploitation since antiquity.

This Tilak class is known for backing the rising sun and like to remain close to the power base no matter who may be the figurehead.

This third friend of Modi, is adding zest to his campaign. They love to rub the butter on the right side of the toast and   right now are gung-ho about vote Modi campaign.  It remains to be seen how much the Tilak factor can influence the common voters and persuade them to accept Narender Modi as the Prime Minister of India.

 The Lok Sabha election 2014 will be unique in many senses. It is for the first time witnessing the assertion of the three forces; Tilak (Brahmins), Taraju (Banya) and Talwar (RSS) in the electoral process in India. This will be an election between rest of the nation Vs the three friends of Modi.

Notwithstanding the facts, at this moment the Modi juggernaut is rolling. In this the three friends of Modi, Tilak, Taraju aur Talwar, are making most of the sound.  How much the common voters will be influenced by the persuasive skills of these three actors that is controlling the electioneering campaign.

Well this is something that will be known only after the elections and not before it. If they triumph, that will be a story to be told on another day.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What Pollsters Say about 2014 General Election?

What Pollsters Say about 2014 General Election?
Syed Ali Mujtaba

The General election 2014 is just round the corner.  Everyone in the country is waiting for the Election Commission to announce the polling days. The election will be held over multiple phases starting on 16 April and running until 13 May and the 16th Lok Sabha has to be constituted before June 1.

Ahead of the polls, some pollsters have come up with opinion poll, each giving a clear lead to the Bhartiya Janata Party and making its leader Narender Modi as the most favored candidate for the post of Prime Minster.

There are as many as FIVE pollsters who have done opinion poll and have come out with their results.  First is CVoter and the India Today media group, second ABP news (Nielsen), third Times NOW-C Voter national poll projection, fourth is CVoter and the India Today media group and fifth is CVoter and the India Today media group.

While the first four have given the national poll verdict, it’s the fifth that has come up with the state wise breakup to provide an elaborate picture of the General election 2014.

CVoter and the India Today media group survey suggests that the BJP is set to win 188 seats in the 543-seat Parliament. The opinion poll gives the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) only around 100 seats. The survey suggests that UPA’s seat share will be 109 in 2014. The NDA’s tally would be 212 seats in 2014. Others would get 222 seats in 2014.

CVoter and the India Today media group survey also underlines the significance of a possible Third Front in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election as the non-UPA, non-NDA parties and Independents are expected to win 220-odd seats.  The survey forecast that AAP may win 10 -11 seats in the national polls.
CVoter and the India Today media group surveyed almost 21,800 respondents across 28 states, with a three per cent margin of error at the national level.

The ABP news-Nielsen national opinion poll suggests that BJP will grab somewhere around 210 out of the 543 parliamentary seats. On the other hand, the Congress-led UPA would end up with mere 101 seats. On the whole, the BJP led National Democratic Alliance will get 226 seats.  Left parties would get 30 while 186 seats would go to others.

Times NOW-C Voter national poll says that the National Democratic Alliance would bag 227, seats and would emerge a single largest alliance formation but will be short of 55 seats from getting a simple majority that is 272 seats.

The CSDS and the CNN-IBN news channel survey gives the sate wise break up to suggest that the BJP has an advantage in the north and western India, while its position remains weak in south and eastern India.  
The survey predicts BJP to get 41-49 out of the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh. Bahujan Samaj Party to get 10-16 seats.  Samajwadi Party to bag 8-14 seats, Congress will be the last to get only 4-10 seats.

In Bihar the scene is similar with the BJP as frontrunner winning 16-24 out of 40 seats. The Janata Dal (United) 7-13, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) 6-10 seats, Congress to get 0-4 seats.

In West Bengal it is the Trinamool Congress at the top and is projected to win 20-28 seats out of 40 MPs.  The Left Front may get 7-13 seats and the Congress is expected to bag 5-9.  In West Bengal BJP position is very weak and is projected to win only 0-2 seats.

In Orissa the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is likely to bag 10-16 seats. Here Congress may manage 3-9 and BJP 0-4 seats.

It’s Maharashtra where BJP -Shiv Sena combine is likely to do very well and expected to win 24 of the 48 seats.  The Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine is expected to bag nearly 12-20 seats.
In Gujarat the BJP is predicted to win 20-25 seats out of the total 26 seats. Congress is expected to manage only 1-4 seats, while others may bag anything between 0-2.

Madhya Pradesh is another state where BJP, is projected to do well. Out of the total 29 seats, the BJP is predicted to wrest 23-27, while the Congress may get 2-5.

In South India, picture is totally different where regional parties and Congress has strong presence. In
Karnataka, Congress is expected to do well and may win 10-18 seats. Here the BJP may get 6-10 seats and JD(S) 4-8 seats.

In Andhra Pradesh YSR Congress is projected to win 11-19 seats, out of the 42 seats. Congress may bag only 5-6 and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) 9-15. Telangana Rasthra Samithi (TRS) is expected to get 4-8 seats.

The poll survey projects the ruling AIADMJK to win 15-23 in Tamil Nadu. Here the opposition DMK may get 7-13 and the Congress 1-5.
In Kerala the United Democratic Front (UDF) is projected to win 12-18 seats. Left Democratic Front (LDF) may get 2-8 seats.

In Delhi the survey said the Aam Aadmi Party could win 4-6 seats. The BJP is predicted to win 1-3 seats. Congress may not get a single seat in Delhi.

The CSDS poll surveyed just fewer than 18,600 voters in 18 states, with a margin of error that varies from state to state.

The BJP’s Prime Minister Candidate Narendra Modi is topping the popularity chart with almost all the pollsters giving thumbs up to him. One survey suggests that 30 percent of the electorate want Modi for the top post.

The CSDS and CNN-IBN news channel survey suggests that Modi has emerged as the most popular candidate. This pollster goes on to say that the 2014 General Election will be a referendum on Narendra Modi.

The last word on the pollster’s predication is the reaction from Congress leader Manish Tewari. He says; “after demolishing all surveys and analyses, when results of 2014 Lok Sabha elections come, you'll find that with God's grace and support of people those who have given Prime Ministers to the country are back in power and those who have given Prime Ministerial candidates are again back in their permanent place, the Opposition."

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Republic of Bihar in 2014

The Republic of Bihar in 2014

Hi every one, I am back from my native place in Bihar, my annual trip since the age of 12, when I was sent to Delhi for school. Since then I continue to visit my place once in winter and other in summer and witness to the changes that is taking place very slowly there.

The mud houses in the villages have become brick houses, the bullock cart or horse cart has give way to motor cart, ‘Jharjariya’ in the rural landscape. The numbers of mobike riders have increased, the cycle people are far few in numbers. One thing that struck me is the education of the children, which is going on a big way. Most of the children in rural areas are now going to school, especially the girls.

Syed Murtaza High School that my father donated to the government after running it for some time has lot many children then when I was around. I still remember sitting in the class there and making yarn from the charkha, a legacy left behind by Mahtma Gandhi and the freedom struggle. I still remember my father hoisting national tri color on the independence and republic day.

The other noticeable change is the laying of roads that has increased the connectivity from one place to another. Mobile phones too have added to this change. If this is called change then Bihar is changing but when we compare it with other developed state Bihar is far behind in developmental terms.

Even though economists taut Bihar as the fastest growing state, I see there is little change on the surface The damage done by the Lalu regime to the system of governance is still in the repair stage. Nothing new is coming up on the ground that can showcase change. The exodus of the people especially unskilled workers and students to other states continues even today. The usual contractor mafia is ruling the state. What has changed is role of politicians has minimized but the government officials have become more powerful.

As usual two things casts its magic for getting work done in Bihar; one money to bribe the officials and whose rates has phenomenally increased, other use of contacts to influence the authorities to get work done. Everyone asked me who I am and what I do. I could read the faces, when I told I work for private organization in Chennai. They wished I was Manmohan Singh or Nitish Kumar, so that they can use my influence to get work done. Well if wishes were horses……

To sum up there is all round dissatisfaction among people in Bihar. Most of them like to leave Bihar to escape the hardships; those who cannot have to suffer. There is no other go. The developmental nightmares are glaring at its face.

Power crisis is the most acute one. Creation of jobs is another. Sanitation, hygiene, disease all needs attention. Monsoon vagaries have devastated the agriculture in Bihar. What appears that there is no redemption to the people from their compounded woes.

However, there is a category of people who are enjoying life in such chaos. It’s those whose approach towards life is to take it easy. They work less talk more. One deputy collector I talked to was lampooning the computer system and was saying I conducted the entire election through pen and paper and carbon copy.

There is no significant change noticed on the attitude of those who do not like to work but want to get money for free. This is the biggest drag on Bihar. If this attitude changes only then there will be a real turnaround of the Republic of Bihar.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Navadisha- Giving New Direction to Learning

Navadisha- Giving New Direction to Learning

Today there is a great deal of interest in the Montessori Method of learning. Contemporary research and brain scans confirm that many things that Maria Montessori only theorized are in fact true. Montessori education has therefore a deep relevance to society today. If we dream of a harmonious world, every one living in peace and harmony and in a natural environment, we must expend energy on supporting the development of young children through Montessori Method of learning.

Rukmini Ramachandran is a trailblazer in the field of Montessori Method of education in India. She holds an AMI Montessori Elementary diploma having completed her training at the Maria Montessori Institute in London. She further did some course on Montessori training at Toronto to return home and begin the Montessori teacher training in Chennai. She is the Founder Trustee of the Navadisha Montessori Foundation and is currently the Director of Training of the AMI Montessori Teacher Training Course run by the organization. She exclusively spoke to SYED ALI MUJTABA about Montessori Method of learning which she practice and preach.  Here is an excerpt of her interview.

Can you give a brief description about Montessori Method of education?

Montessori education for many of us who are practitioner is a way of life, a life in which the child is seen as the most important. Maria Montessori in her writings stated that it was not a method but that it was a respectful approach to the development of a child. Montessori education approaches the child not as a helpless being, but as a powerful creator of the adult. It meets the needs of the child at various stages of development and supports development in appropriate ways. Many educationists have talked of respect for the child. A very special aspect of Montessori education is the freedom of choice, which supports the growth of self discipline and promotes inner motivation. The concept of a prepared environment, specially prepared to meet the needs of the child is an amazingly original idea, a unique contribution by Maria Montessori.

How Montessori Method education is different?

The Montessori approach to education is psychological approach and it is aligned to principles of development set out by great philosophers of all time. It entails respect for the child, a natural environment that is conducive to learning, an education that is sensitive to beauty and social justice, and a teacher who does not dominate.

Do you think the children of Montessori education can compete with their peer in other schools?

It is difficult to generalize ‘other’ schools to mean schools not following Montessori principles. There are too many types of ‘other’ schools and it may be like comparing apples and oranges. The aim of Montessori education is not to compete with peers. Children between 2 ½ to 6 years are to be found in the same class. The children from the time they start school return to the same class for three years. The children form a small community and share all that they know with one another. The value of the Montessori class is to put aside one’s own need to go to the help of another. The aim is to lay the foundation of strength of character. The older child learns to guide the younger and develop patience and the younger learns by watching and admiring the older children. The progress of the children is rapid. They learn making no effort just by being a part of the rich environment. Their development helps them to establish the base of their personalities.

Does a Child take lot of time in picking up the basics threads of education in Montessori system of learning?
 Maria Montessori defined education as aid to life. The Montessori approach to education focus is on deepening the understanding of the child through personal experience. Memory is never approached directly. The interest of the child is kindled and the child chooses freely to work at his own development. The child at this stage has the power of effortless absorption. For example a child who grows up around a particular language makes it a part of the personality. There is no fear of forgetting that which has been learnt. The aim of education is not to fill an empty cup but to have faith in the child who has vast potential, and to ensure the conditions in his environment which allows him to absorb everything he needs.

Is it true in Montessori Method of learning children skip the joy of singing and other such activities?

Music is an integral part of a Montessori environment. It is seen as every child’s inheritance. The Montessori approach to music is holistic. Children are not only encouraged to sing songs but receive rich exposure to music in every way so that they can build a relationship with it. Music helps children become sensitive to beauty. It is considered as an aspect of language development. Between 3 and 6 years is the age of effortless learning. This is the time for maximum exposure. The children listen to musical instruments and classical vocal music relevant to their culture. Sometimes Montessori teachers invite expert musicians to share their art with the children. Montessori teachers share songs and poems with children which are rooted in reality, songs relevant to their lives. They also introduce folk rhythms and lyrics.

Does fine arts have special place in the Montessori Method of learning?

In the Montessori environment art is about giving the children the opportunity to express themselves
Montessori environment has a great deal of emphasis on the arts. These are however not done as part of a set curriculum. Art in the Montessori environment is imbedded in all aspects of the work of the children. It is not teacher directed. The children are never told what to draw. Art is an expression of the innermost soul. The children are not expected to work with the same things at the same time. I believe that this actually kills creativity rather than nurturing it. With a little guidance, the children work making independent choices and they direct their own learning. Painting, cutting, music and dance are part of the ethos. The children are introduced to practical techniques – how to hold a brush, how to use a pair of scissors, how to apply glue. The children can choose such activities independently and work with them as long as they want. When they have completed something to their satisfaction they put away all the implements as they know where those things are stored.

How did you develop interest in Children education?

I was offered a job by the Kalki group to edit the new English magazine Gokulam. I was excited about working for children’s magazine. However the job left me with many questions. What do children read? Why do they read? What interests’ children? How can we meet the needs of children? A family friend who was the publisher of Montessori books in India suggested me to do a Montessori course to find answer to my questions. My life changed after doing the course in Mumbai under the guidance of Ms. Zarin Malva, the Director of the Training programme. I felt I had begun to understand myself and others in a much better way. The idea that caught my attention is the idea that interest of the child is the centre of education. I came back and decided to start a school. As the school grew we needed teachers for the school and so eventually 14 years later we started a Teachers training centre.

Can you tell me some basic things about Navadisha Foundation?

Navadisha Montessori Foundation began the activities of teacher training in 2004. The training is affiliated to the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). AMI is the apex body of Montessori pedagogy and it was established in 1929 by Dr. Montessori to continue her work in its essence and fullness. Navadisha is one of two AMI Montessori courses run in India, (the other one is in Mumbai) and one of 30 or so worldwide. Navadisha has recently run two satellite courses in a modular format in Thrissur, Kerala and in Bangalore, Karnataka. An AMI course is a one year training programme. Courses are offered for two age levels at Navadisha – 3-6 years and 6-12 years. Diplomas for successful candidates are awarded by AMI. The training centre attracts students of all ages, from different corners of India and abroad, and from all walks of life. The students are usually within the 9 months are drawn together in the very intensive programme forming a tightly knit and cohesive community. The link between them is an interest in children and the desire to serve the community through the child.

Can you tell me some basic things about Navadisha School?

Navadisha Montessori School was established in 1997. The aim was to find a new direction in education and to redefine the goals of education. In Navadisha Montessori school the children are helped to be independent from the start. The school tries to create an environment of where teachers, non-teaching staff and children come together to form a caring community. Collaboration and caring for the environment are values that are practiced in all school activities. The school has 3 Montessori environments for children from 3-6 years and 3 Montessori environments for children from 6-12 years. Stds VI to X follow the ICSE curriculum.

This interview has to be summed up with thoughts from Maria Montessori who says; Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment. The environment itself will teach the child, if every error he makes is manifest to him, without the intervention of a parent of teacher, who should remain a quiet observer of all that happens. While dealing with a child there is greater need for observing than of probing. It is the child who makes the man, and no man exists who was not made by the child he once was.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba@yahoo.coms

Saturday, December 28, 2013

What I Did in 2013 Worth Sharing

As I sit in judgment what did in 2013. I can recall two things that I can proudly share. I recall that I wrote an article ‘Low Intensity Communal Riots In North India ‘ on Aug 7, 2013 and my predictions came true.

Just after that riots broke out in Muafarnagar in end of Aug 2013. As a follow up I wrote another piece Muzafarnagar Riot Warrant Communal Violence Bill dated Sep 11, 2013.  Now this bill is getting ready to be in lok sabha.

I think this is my single most achievement in 2013. I can sense a storm building in north India sitting from Chennai. I feel happy with myself of making such prediction from a far off place.

My other achievement of 2013 is the release of my documentary film Beyond Empires, an international project with which I am from last six years or so. The film is right now screened in the US Boston –Salem area and will be taken to other places. Its DVD I received a few days ago gives a bold credit to me as Assistant Director on its cover. This I think is a laudable achievement..For those who want to know why I am involved in this project watch me speaking on it -

Well Happy New Year! from SYED or ALI or Mujtaba or SAM - I am known by all these different people in different locations,.

I may like to share a old rustic saying about Muslim names in Bihar - “Ek Mian ke teen teen nam – Gaz bhar lunga Dasterkhan “ What it means? Muslims are loud mouth, fond of blowing their own trumpet – Am I doing so? Its for you to decide!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sexual Harassment in workplace – Causes and Remedies

Sexual Harassment in workplace  – Causes and Remedies
Syed Ali Mujtaba

The problem of sexual harassment in work place is increasingly coming out of the closet. The case of Tarun Tejpal, managing editor of the news magazine Tehalka is a case in point. This particular case has brought this issue on the center stage as more victims are gathering courage to complain such offences.

After of Tarun Tejpal's case a public debate is raging in the country how to control the such incidents  in future.  This is because the sexual dimension such cases have implications  on  personal, psychological, moral and marital status of an individual.

Sexual harassment occurs in the workplace due to  unwelcome, unwanted, uninvited, action or behavior of a person that  causes discomfort, humiliation, offence or distress to the other.  Majority of such cases are directed towards woman by  men working at high position in an organization.

Sexual harassment at a workplace is unwelcome  behavior as it affects not only the terms conditions of employment but also have huge bearing on the working environment of an organization. Therefore this problem has to be understood looking at its causes and possible remedies for its effective control.

In India, sexual harassment is termed as 'eve teasing' and is described as: unwelcome sexual gesture or behavior whether directly or indirectly such as sexually colored remarks; physical contact and advances; showing pornography; a demand or request for sexual favors; any other unwelcome physical, verbal,non-verbal conduct being sexual in nature, passing sexually offensive comments or any other such behavior.

Sexual harassment includes a long list of things. It is necessary to put them here in some detail in order to caution those who may indulge in such activity. Its actual or attempted rape or sexual assault, unwanted pressure for sexual favors, unwanted deliberate touching, leaning over, cornering, or pinching, unwanted sexual looks or gestures, unwanted letters, telephone calls, or materials of a sexual nature, unwanted sexual teasing, jokes, remarks, or questions.

It also includes referring to an adult, as a girl, doll, babe, or honey, whistling seeing a lady, cat calls, sexual comments, turning work discussions to sexual topics, sexual innuendos or stories, asking about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history. Sexual comments on a lady's clothing, anatomy, or looks. Spreading rumors about personal life of a woman.

There are many causes of sexual harassment but   most important one is the culture and values system and the relative power and status of the men and women in our society.

The way in which men and women are brought up in India strongly influences their behavior in an organization. Women often lack self confidence because of the way they have been socialized and are customized to suffer in silence.

Whereas  men are brought up with macho beliefs, who consider females a mere toy to play with and easily carry these values into the workplace. Such patriarchal viewpoints create a atmosphere that allows men the freedom of sexual harassment in the workplace, while women remain vulnerable.

Women are vulnerable to sexual harassment because they more often lack power and often work in an insecure positions.  Due to the fear factor women often resign to their fate rather than raise their voice against sexual harassment. Since they do not know where to go for complain and how their complain would be treated, they often keep quit and suffer in ignominy.

Some times sexual harassment is also seen as a power game, where man insists on sexual favors in exchange of benefits he can dispense with due to his prevailed position. The 'casting couch' is probably the best-known example of such power game.

As recent economic  and social  changes have changed power relations between men and women in the Indian society, men are feeling a sense of insecurity. With women now being empowered, some men feel threatened by their career advancement. To over come such insecure feelings, some men resort to harassing women in the work place.

Sometimes men are stressed in the work place because even after putting their best, they  do not get proper recognition, where as women with little talent are preferred for being fair sex in an organization. This  sometimes causes frustration and such men resort to sexual harassment to overcome their stress.

Its not only men who are to be blamed all the time, some women think that the real women have to look sexy.  They see sexuality as their only power base to play along. Such attitude of women sometimes invites sexual advances by men at the work place and then become a case of sexual harassment.

One of the major reason that sexual harassment goes on unabated because the organization in order  to safeguard its image do not entertain complaint and disciplinary procedures to deal with sexual harassment.
In order to check sexual harassment, an organization should have clear cut policy to register complaints of such nature and procedure for taking disciplinary action. Such guidelines is already available through Supreme Court judgment, its only its implementation that is required.

Every organization should have an effective employment policy that should ensure well planned career paths based on merit to reduce the vulnerability of individuals and harassment by those who abuse their power and authority.

There should be awareness among the staff members about sexual harassment and the consequences they may face if they indulge in such an act. They should know their social responsibilities to prevent such incident in their organization.

The staff member subjected to sexual harassment must first complain to the committee members constituted for such purposes in the organization, before going to the police.

Sexual harassment in a work place is a sensitive issue.  It cannot be checked merely providing staff members information about the sexual harassment policy or relying on disciplinary action. The organization must play  proactive role, provide behavioral support and discuss this aspect as a part of the work routine. The staff must nurture an inclusive, supportive, and respectful environment in the office in order to build a congenial working atmosphere.

Equally important is that the organization must  support the victim of sexual harassment, and help to  overcome the negative effects of such an experience.

Finally, every working women must know that it is high time  to stand up and fight for such injustices. Its only then sexual harassment in work place can be checked.

Author is a journalist based in Chennai, can be contacted at