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The battle of sexes

Dec 7, 2012, DHNS: 19:57 IST
Chivalry is a rare quality — especially in BMTC buses. Although a separate section of seats is reserved for women, it’s quite common to see men encroaching on this area as well.

Many men don’t think twice before occupying a woman’s seat in a bus. Metrolife speaks to a few Bangaloreans who travel frequently by bus, to find out whether this problem is very common.

Sushma, an engineering student, says, “I have experienced this problem many times. When I see a man sitting on a woman’s seat, I ask him to get up. It’s true that often, they do get up — but I think it should be the conductors’ duty to ensure this doesn’t happen in the first place. Instead, they turn a blind eye to such issues. Conductors should be instructed to take care of such issues in the bus.”

Arundhathi, another engineering student, opines that when she does fight for a
seat with a male passenger, she draws stares from her co-travellers.

She says, “When I see men sitting on women’s seat, my first instinct is to ask him to get up; sometimes, they do if I ask them to. But very often, they do not. And on such occasions, I am obligated to fight. When I fight, there are generally many men and women who glare at me. I feel very uncomfortable in such situations and therefore, I avoid asking any man to get up.”

Geetha, a beautician, adds, “I often find men sitting on women’s seat. But I do not do anything about it. Qualities such as chivalry should come from within. If a man could be so insensitive as to not get up and give a seat to woman, then I believe talking to him would be waste of energy. However, I do feel that it should be the conductor’s responsibility to ensure that such things do not happen inside the bus.”

Some Bangaloreans point out that women aren’t always comfortable arguing with men in public and so often, they let such instances pass. Shivani Thakur, a management student, says, “Since childhood, girls have always been taught to adjust according to men and therefore, we fear to raise our voices. These are the factors that usually stop women from asking for something that rightfully belongs to them. Nevertheless,
I have asked men to get up, and 60 per cent of the time, they have got up and given
me the seat.”

C Nagaraj, chief traffic manager, BMTC, says, “Virtues such as gentleness and politeness are something that should be innate. Nobody can teach one to behave in a certain fashion. Nonetheless, we have instructed the bus conductors to speak on behalf of women to make sure that no man sits on the ladies’ seats. But, we do not have any system wherein such men could be fined.”

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