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Spare women the stare,men in uniform get a lesson in courtesy

Delhi can be made a safer place for women,but who will save them from the stares of onlookers on the streets? And if she is a foreigner...

Written by Geeta Gupta | New Delhi |
June 14, 2009 2:20:16 am

Delhi can be made a safer place for women,but who will save them from the stares of onlookers on the streets? And if she is a foreigner,even uniformed men ogle. To check this behaviour of the men in uniform,a session was recently held for Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel.

In the class conducted by the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC),the pupils could not deny that the pupils of their eyes widen on seeing women from foreign countries. Being told this is a display of crude behaviour,the batch was given a few lessons in courtesy and manners. The one-day session was part of an ongoing training programme undertaken by the ITDC.

Ahead of the Commonwealth Games,the government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that foreigners,especially women,are not harassed.

Newsline attended the session on ‘Sensitivity towards Western women’. Trainer Payal Batra,deputy general manager at the Ashok Institute of Hospitality and Tourism Management,said the module was added on special request,as CISF personnel had been found lacking such sensitivity.

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Batra stressed on the importance of tourists before the class of trainees,aged between 20 and 50.

The students were taught that their body language should suggest they are watchdogs of the law and ever willing to help guests; that they should smile and be polite under all circumstances. And they should greet the guests at their places of posting — be it a Metro station or the airport — and at the same time be vigilant of their surroundings.

It was impressed upon the CISF personnel that the image of India had taken a dent with shameful incidents in the recent past. Examples were cited of the Scarlett murder case in Goa,and the rape and murder of Dawn Emilie Griggs,an Australian woman,in Delhi. The trainees expressed distaste at the incidents and accepted that it was their duty to make tourists feel safe and welcome.

Batra talked about cultural differences and said the Western culture allowed its women to do certain things that were not accepted in India. “But our culture has never taught us to tease women. If a woman is seen smoking or wearing revealing clothes,it does not mean you can tease her. You have no right to ogle at any woman,” she said.

Women personnel were pulled up too. “Better concentrate on your job of securing the premises than take a peep at the various lipsticks,creams,jewellery and other stuff in a woman’s bag,” they were told.

The training session is part of a series of steps being taken by the tourism ministry in its Atithi Devo Bhava campaign. Batra punned on the word Devo,which means deity,and said Devo,literally,meant the ‘one who gives’,implying that the tourists are the ‘givers’. Batra said: “Always remember to thank the guest. With foreign tourists coming into India,we get foreign exchange. This helps in building infrastructure,which in turn generates employment. In turn,we only have to give them good service,so that they remember India as a country of polite people and return here. Respect the tourist,be courteous and always keep smiling.”

There was a huge round of applause towards the end of the class,to collectively thank all the trainees on behalf of Delhi,for making every citizen feel safe.

There were seven other sessions through two days. The sessions lasted 90 minutes each. The CISF batch was given lessons on the importance of personal hygiene too. Besides,they were taught a few basic courteous phrases in English.

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