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Dr. MPS RAMANI Ph.D.[Tech.] (Scientist/Engineer)     16 October 2014

Women should not dress provocatively

Women should not dress provocatively in public, to avoid s*xual harassment and attacks. This advice has been given again and again not only male chauvinists, but even by women heads of women’s organisations. There have been also prompt retorts from women’s rights activists and feminists. “My dress does not mean that I am available”. “This is moral policing”  “The way I dress is my fundamental right” are some of the replies.

If you have a lot of money you have the right to possess it provided that it is legally earned and all taxes have been paid. It is also your right to carry it with you. But if you have to carry a lot of cash for any reason prudence demands that you carry it in such a way that those around do not know that you are carrying so much cash. Even if you are carrying only a lesser amount in a purse in a crowded train it would be safer if you do not let others know how much cash you are carrying. Women going along the road openly wearing a lot of expensive jewellery can invite chain snatchers.

In humans female breasts are a strong attraction for the male of the species. Shankaracharya said:

नारी स्तनभर नाभीदेशं दृष्ट्वा मा गा मोहावेशं

एतन् मंसवसादि विकारं मनसिहिचिन्तय वारंवारं

“Do not get excited seeing the breasts or other parts of a woman’s body. Remind yourself again and again that they are only a formation of flesh and fat.”

But the sight is irresistible this advice notwithstanding

  In India though women wear figure hugging blouses, the breasts are covered with a loose upper cloth. In the South young girls wear a skirt called “pavadai”.  But when they grow up and the breasts become prominent they are covered with a loose upper cloth. The sari has got a pallu. Women were wearing stitched cloths in North India. But now they are popular all over India. But the upper part of the body is covered with a dupatta. In European and other Western countries a “pallu” or a “dupatta” is not worn. But the upper garment will be loose fitting and the contours of the breasts will not be so prominent.


In India now the dupatta is done away with. The sight of young girls with prominent contours of the breasts is a common sight. The male should restrain himself. But at least occasionally one may get overcome. Inviting breasts are no excuse to react, just as exposing one’s wealth cannot be an excuse, for another, for theft or robbery. In any case we cannot expect every young man to keep a copy of the  Bhaja Govindam in his pocket and read that sloka every now and then. It would be better if we, I mean our women folk, are on guard.


 2 Replies

naveenraj jain (proprietor)     16 October 2014

Debates on this subject has already invited lot of flak from all quarters. The impact of such discussions is seen on educated people. Few derive pleasure and few understand the effect of such atrocities. But crimes are many times commited by uneducated kind.

V. VASUDEVAN (LEGAL COUNSEL)     18 October 2014

Although the article is written with a welfare motive,   I am unable to accept that dress alone can provoke. Yes it is the nature's phenomenon that men are attracted by women and the breasts are one of the catalyst. In most of the violent incidents reported it is not the dress and it is the vulnerability of locale. In fact the incidence of violence of more in rural and remote villages where women where traditional dress and in the most prominent case of Vishaka, the reason for rape was altogether different.

Also the role of women in the ancient times were completely different and hence Sage Shankaracharyas sayings has to be understood in its substance and not verbatim. Women are every where in our life and more so in our working environment. Hence it is for men to nurture the culture where desires does not dominate our actions. 

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