Shailja Gupta, a 53 year-old biker from Mumbai, travelled from Delhi to Dimapur in Nagaland as part of her campaign against women exploitation.
She was accorded with a warm welcome by the Motorcycles Club Nagaland (NCA), at Clock Tower Junction, and the bikers gang rode up to Medziphema, about 30 kilometres from Dimapur carrying the banner of ‘ Bikers against women exploitation.’
After her husband’s demise eight years ago, Shailja Gupta, on her bike gifted by her late husband, initiated this campaign which was kicked off in New Delhi two months ago.
A large group of bikers travelled with her on this journey to show their support for the just cause. Talking to ANI, Shailja said “Exploitation means suffering and I have suffered a lot in the Indian patriarchal society and I have seen so many economically independent Indian women being harassed and exploited whether at home or work place.” “If women are not strong, the home will not be strong, the family will not be strong and ultimately the nation will not be strong”, she added.
This message that she is sending out needs to be heard loud and clear by everyone, not just in India, but around the world. Women are harassed every single day. They are victims of crime directed specifically at them, rape, kidnapping and abduction, dowry-related crimes, molestation, sexual harassment, eve-teasing, etc. These are growing at rampant speed and this needs to be prevented instead of holding candle-light vigils and discussing it after it has taken place.
What kind of a world is it where half the population lives in fear of the other half? It’s not that all women get exploited, nor is every man evil but we do need to take a step. The large number of men in the bikers group that accompanied Shailja proved that there are men who respect women and believe that there is a need to pause, think and move to restore our faith in manhood. There are countless noble men who have stood behind their women and supported them in their personal and professional lives.
It’s our entire society that has to change for this campaign to be effective. Gone our the days of patriarchy. The exploitation of women at all levels, whether its sex-selective abortions, discrimination in the case of education, health care and nutrition, forced marriages and countless other crimes, big or small, have to be stopped immediately.
Let us not just sit and talk about such happenings. Let’s do what is needed and join hands with Bikers against woman exploitation and bring about a change that we all want. Let’s join Shailja Gupta championing the cause that already has support from bikers in Ahmedabad and Shillong. It’s time to make the world a safe place for everyone to live in peacefully.