I travel a lot and most of the time by night buses. But do I feel insecure while traveling in Himachal? Never. I find traveling alone quite safe. I talk to strangers en route and have made many friends during such journeys. I take all this for granted and never think about it much. But when people ask me how safe it is to travel alone during night times in Himachal, I wonder at the stupidity of the question as we have come to take certain things for granted and respecting women is one such thing.
This feeling was substantiated at a place much far off from my home state. I had gone to
Bangalore to attend a seminar on “Sexual Harassment at work places”. The organizer of the course, Dr. Rana, in his inaugural address talked, in general, about the occurrence of such crimes against women and the states where the occurrence was very high.Delhi topped the list and some other states, too, were not lagging behind in crime against women. I sat listening to the well documented reports. Dr. Rana asked all the participants to applaud the state that was very respectful towards women and guess the name of the state—Himachal!
I was really elated as in the entire group of 35 participants from all over the country I was the only one to represent Himachal. I stood up and thanked him. He further explained that the people still valued morality and simplicity of life made Himachal still honour its women. I shared with the group some good things about Himachal and how safe it is for women. It is so safe. People respect you and help you out of their way. You can stay in the home of any stranger for a night if that is the only way out to you and you will be safe with your honour and money. Can anyone think of such a life anywhere else?
Back home from
Bangalore, I had three days to attend Swami Ramdev’s Yogsadhana camp that was in progress. Swami Ramdev was all praise for the people of Himachal. He admired the way people dressed up, the way they spoke and conducted themselves. He acknowledged that though he had traveled all overt he country and had interacted with many a people, he had not found such simplicity at any other place.So much so that he said jokingly that even the police in Himachal seem to be so polite and simple “seedhe-saade” as they don’t have to deal with hard criminals. Thank you Swami Ji.
Now two such remarks for Himachal and its people, coming from two entirely different sources cannot just be a coincidence. These have substantiated my conviction that it is the quality of life that maters and not the quantity that you have in your life. I am proud to be a Himachali!