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Don't ignore positives.

Dear Mr Barton, the average Indian is man enough to take it on the chin and take action to address the issue of India coming last in a gender equality study of G20 countries, 'A damning study', (GDN, June 17).

Instead of self-flagellation and the tokenisms that you seem to enjoy, like celebrating Mother's Day and Father's Day by visiting parents in old age homes and giving them gifts, we stay with our parents if we are in the same town and they are as much a part of our lives as we are of them.

The question is not where we stand, but how far we've come. We know where that is and we do not need you to guide us, seeing what a mess your society is in.

Yes, there is lot to be done. The sheer diversity of the country, its poverty and illiteracy ensure that the bad wipes out the good in these surveys.

But the positives cannot be ignored.

Also, if you had taken the pains to read the whole report, instead of running to file your distasteful letter the moment you saw something you could twist, you would have read the following extract.

"Virtually every aspect of a woman's life in Saudi Arabia is controlled by men.

"They cannot drive or enter the Olympics. They're generally forbidden from leaving home, travelling outside the country, working, studying, marrying, filing a court case or seeking medical care without being accompanied by or receiving the written consent of a male guardian.

"In India, women, to a great extent, have many of these freedoms and some people may be surprised by the fact it polled worse than Saudi Arabia.

"However, Saudi Arabia's wealth means schooling and healthcare for women are of a good quality, while practices like infanticide, child marriage, wife-beating and trafficking are commonplace in India and maternal mortality rates are extremely high."

Saying that these things are "commonplace" shows the depth of this survey.

These are practised in backward society and not all of India is backward.

In fact, there was a thriving matriarchal society in India when you guys had not even heard of education.

So like I told Ms Murphy, keep your prejudices to yourself and should you want to argue, please read your sources carefully.

Samir Yeshwant Hajarnis

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jun 21, 2012
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