Today, cases of rape, molestation, abuse, harassment are ever increasing. One only has to switch on the news to be flooded with reports of such unfortunate incidents. Last year’s Nirbhaya case is still fresh in our minds. As these condemnable incidents keep on happening, our politicians and leaders continue to make appalling statements about women. In an age when we should be moving towards woman emancipation, our country seems to be taking a step backwards. While analysts and debaters suggest ample solutions from corporal punishment to decreasing juvenile age, the real problem lies in the mentality of people. How the society sees women lies at the crux of this problem, which also manifests in the form of foeticides, infanticide, child marriage and other such acts of cruelty. In an otherwise bleak scenario, one man is trying to make a difference. This Good Samaritan believes that every girl, every daughter, every sister, every mother deserves love and respect.
Our Good Samaritan, Sunil Desai is a former U.S Marine who has started The Bindi Project, a non-profit organization committed to spreading the message of love for women and girls in India. Along with the other co-founders, he has set up this organization to improve the lives of females and abolish any form of gender-based discrimination and violence. Having strong Indian roots through his father, Sunil was shocked to discover the terrible crimes done against women in his homeland, the decreasing girl to boy ratio. He decided to find the root of these problems, the psychology and mentality behind such gender-centric social norms. Taking inspiration from his own young daughter, he decided to launch The Bindi Project, an NGO that fosters love and respect for women and girls in India by engaging men and boys through educational media.
Identifying ignorance as one of the major causes behind female infanticide, sex-selection and other forms of gender discrimination, the Bindi Project uses positive examples and role models to change how men perceive women. It seeks to highlight men who respect women, propagating their views and ideologies so as to inspire other men and boys. Desai believes that men need to be engaged by men. Seeing other men respect and value women is the best kind of therapy, the most efficient way to bring about a change in attitude. While security and other precautions need to be put in place for the safety of women, the issue needs to be tackled at its roots, which is the mentality of men that perpetrate violence. Once we can get through to such elements of society, everything else will fall into place.
Thus The Bindi Project organizes men and boys in communities to spread the message of love. Whether it is just taking a pledge to honour and protect your sisters, wives, daughters- each step goes a long way in creating a brighter future for Indian women. At its most grass root level, the NGO spreads awareness through seminars, setting examples of honourable conscientious men, and provides a platform for voicing their stories. It holds fundraising activities and spreads its message through public and social media.
Such noble missions are the call of the hour and a beacon of hope in an otherwise dark and threatening society. It is high time something is done about the state of women in this country. Seeing the efforts of such organisations is truly inspiring and a wake-up call for the rest of us to do our part in moulding a better tomorrow. Begin by pledging your support to The Bindi Project today.