There has been a huge debate on whether a dress code should be imposed for women, in schools and colleges, particularly the colleges, including arts and science colleges.

In fact, the Anna University, Chennai, has imposed one such dress code, which does not allow girls to come in jeans, or wear any sleeveless tops and so on. There have been many other colleges in India, where a similar dress code is very much imposed.

This dress code was supposed to limit eve teasing, or lead to drastic fall in ragging, and any form of violence against women. 

Yet, there has not been any major improvement in the crime rates against women, even when the so-called dress code is in operation.

In reality, such artificial attempts to regulate human behavior of men, is bound to fail. 

Only constant communication, a big emphasis on moral education in schools and colleges can indeed help and will lead to any sort of reduction in crimes against women in general.

Mumbai as an example

Those who are sold on the dress code for women, should visit Mumbai and see for themselves, what is going on.  This is one city where, there is no dress code for women even in schools or colleges.  In fact, I had visited a number of schools for official purposes, and found that most teachers themselves wear sleeveless blouses with saris.  None of the male teachers created any problem, and it was actually seen as a very natural dress.

In fact, most women in Mumbai, including those who had migrated from the South of India, and have made it their home, wear the same dress -- the sleeveless blouses with saris, at home, in offices and for many social occasions.  Most husbands of such women, actually encourage their wives to wear such dresses, as they are part of a very broad-minded society, where the inter-mingling of both men and women, in a very healthy manner, takes place very easily.

Crimes against women, are among the lowest in Mumbai, even though it is India's busiest city, and is very modern in terms of urban life.  There are no taboos, and it is not possible for anyone to create any trouble to women, at any point in time.

Women wear mini skirts, jeans and any other form of so-called "Western wear".in addition to the sleeveless blouses.  So, when the society accepts any dress as being part of a culture, there is no problem at all.  Healthy and responsible relationships at office are noticed, but there is a tremendous amount of social control in every walk of life.

The curious case of New Delhi

Why is New Delhi so bad, and is the crime Capital of India?  There are many views, but the most famous one is that the crimes are done by actually the semi-literate and illiterate youth from other States.  There are statistics to prove this point. The educated do not indulge in any crime.

So,  the immediate conclusion is that the violence is not common to all localities and all social groups.  It is restricted to certain groups of men, who do not seem to be inclined to follow normal codes of decent behavior.  In fact, like Mumbai, woman in New Delhi are also most modern, and wear all the so-called Western dresses.

As a rule, violence does not happen, only due to the dress.  It is all part of a very difficult and different social upbringing.  In fact, irregular income and bad habits like alcoholism are also responsible for the sad state of affairs.  

Two minor girls were raped at Pollachi, a small town, near Coimbatore, in Tamil Nadu, recently.  It turned out that the man who committed the crime, had consumed alcohol, and had visited the home housing the children, many a time, before the incident.

Education of all people can indeed lead to lesser crimes.  The crime rates in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, for example, are far less, when compared to the Hindi belt States, where illiteracy and very bad social environments apparently lead to crimes against women.

If we are able to develop positive thinking and provide fairly good jobs to men at all times, we can indeed bring down crimes against women.

Merely restricting women from wearing specific dresses will not be any solution at any point in time.


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