International Women’s Day


Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty, we are Free at last!!!

On March 08th, 2017, we celebrate another International Women’s Day. The usual round of seminars, talks and hullabaloo will draw our attention towards the ‘breaking of the glass ceiling/ plight/ atrocities/ conditions and various other issues related to Women.

I’ve been addressing (and speaking) on issues related to Women Safety and the Situation Control measures that each women can take. There would be instances when you’re in an unfavourable position; how do you come out of it unscathed? How do you retain initiative? How do you handle the post-incident trauma? Has the situation improved over the last decade? Does one need to learn martial arts to deal with such hooligans?

I repeat some tenets of WOSAF (Women Safety) and SITCON (Situation Control):

  • YOUr strength emanates from YOUr attitude. Don’t display any Fear.
  • Offence is the only form of Defence (this is what I’ve learnt in my 25 years in the uniform). Here the perpetrators of the heinous crimes are seeking power. Its imposition of their will. Meek submission does not keep you safe.
  • Women are gifted with sixth sense. This innate ability has been honed over ages of protecting the family in the cave. This has wired their peripheral vision to near 180 degrees. They can sense danger. Be alert and trust your senses. If something doesn’t seem right; chances are they are NOT.
  • BUT for your sixth sense to perform there are certain criteria; UNPLUG and be aware of your surroundings. YOU cannot be listening to music or be on the mobile phone in a public area. YOU’ve to be looking around, present a picture of assurance (no nonsense attitude) and stride with confidence.
  • It’s only in reel life a man/women can stand up to 8-10 goons aka Shenshah! In real life escape and run is a good idea. The route out and route in should be planned in advance. Thus avoiding back lanes, unlit areas, lonely parks enroute and avoid bars/ pubs/ hooch shops in the locality.
  • ICE (In Case of Emergency) numbers must be on your speed dial. Have some additional emergency numbers too. There are a number of apps available in the open market these days for your smart phone.
  • Be aware of the laws; especially against ‘Self-Defence’. For the working women, knowledge of Vishaka Guidelines is imperative. Acid attack survivors and their rights.

If at all there would be one, just one advice I would give, it would be parents teach your sons better. The government initiative “Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao” is laudable BUT I would rather have it read: “Beta Padhao, Beti Bachao”.

WOSAF (WOmen SAFety)

Couple holding hands having sex inside a car

Better safe than sorry.

In recent occurrences of woman molestation by the driver(s) of taxi services. Certain facts came to fore. It is imperative that we share these among our friends. The onus of being safe is ours. How do I take precautions that such incidents are minimised.

One. Most of the time you are unsure of their police verification and hence their credentials. In some cases, their social background, their experiences in their families all lead up to such incidents. So be wary whenever you are in such paid taxi services. You don’t know what kind of day he has had – moreso, at unusual hours.

Two. Invariably, it was found that the child lock in the cab/ car/ van was activated. Now it is important to know how does it work.

Child safety locks are built into the rear doors, to prevent rear seat passengers from opening the doors during transit. They provide the driver with a simple, safe & secure method to prevent unauthorized exit from the car. Although called a child lock it is equally effective for adult passengers.

The lock is typically engaged via a small switch on the edge of the door that is only accessible when the door is open. Once the door is closed, control of the mechanical type child locks is completely inaccessible to the passenger. When the child lock is engaged, the interior handle is rendered useless. In this state the passenger simply cannot open the door and are effectively locked in. The door can only be opened by someone lifting the outside handle, either a second person or by the passenger opening the window and reaching the outside handle.

What should I do? The first thing before you board the cab/ taxi/ van is to check, whether the child lock switch is ON or OFF. You would like to slide it into OFF position prior to shutting the door. Better safe than sorry.

Three. The next thing to do onboarding (especially at odd hours) is to share the details of the cab to your destination OR fone-o-friend, in the language the driver understands, that is hindi. “Yes, Neha, I’ve just boarded the cab. The number is (you got an SMS) OR just read out from the windscreen; DL 02 …… Yup, I should reach by … “Bhaiyya, Malviya Nagar tak kitna time lagega?” by 1.30 am. He knows that someone is waiting at the destination for you. Should you not reach in time, alarm bells will be sounded. Better safe than sorry.

Be Aware . Be Alert . Be Safe .

Women Atrocities


Women Issues – a Taboo Topic

Feminism in its noun form is the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of equality of the sexes. It is a range of political movements, ideologies and social movements that share a common goal – to define, establish and achieve political, economic, personal and social rights for women that are equal to those of men. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.

In the increased instances of atrocities against women, one major factor which stands out is the level of education amongst the victims. It is not to say that the educated are NOT harassed but the instances reduce drastically. More often than not, when uneducated, the chances are the atrocities have gone unnoticed and unreported. Cases of police refusing to write down a complaint are galore. Complaining and cribbing is NOT the solution. We, as a society, have to take up cudgels and make sure that the ‘Right to Education’ is truly implemented in letter and spirit.

Importance of Women education

It is imperative that the women be educated for various reasons and its importance is briefly summarized below:

1. Economic development and prosperity: Education will empower women to come forward and contribute towards the development and prosperity of the country.

2. Economic empowerment: So long as women remain backward and economically dependent on men, the helpless condition is prone to exploitation. Economic empowerment and independence will only come through proper education.

3. Improved life: Education helps a woman to live a good life. She can claim her identity as an individual. She can read and learn about her rights. Her rights would not get trodden down. The life/condition of women would improve.

4. Improved health: Educated girls and women are aware of the importance of health and hygiene. Through health education, they are empowered to lead a healthy lifestyle. Educated mothers can take better care of both herself and her baby.

5. Dignity and honour: Educated women are now looked upon with dignity and honour. They become a source of inspiration for millions of young girls who make them their role-models.

6. Justice: Educated women are more informed of their rights for justice. It would eventually lead to decline in instances of violence and atrocities against women such as dowry, forced-prostitution, child-marriage, female foeticide, etc.


7. Choice to choose a profession of her choice: Educated women can prove be highly successful in the fields of life. A girl-child should get equal opportunity for education, so that, she can plan to become a successful doctors, engineers, nurses, air-hostesses, cook, or choose a profession of her choice.

8. Alleviate poverty: Women education is a pre-requisite to alleviate poverty. Women need to take equal burden of the massive task of eliminating poverty. This would demand massive contribution from educated women. There cannot be much social and economic changes unless girls and women are given their rights for education.

Until the middle of nineteenth century, girls and women were educated only for traditional household works. Now, the society is witnessing changes in the role-status of women. There is greater emphasis on education girls and women in the same way as we educate boys and men. The modern-day parents want to fulfill the aspiration of their children without gender parity.

The overall position of women in society definitely will improve with better education and a general conscious effort on our part.

Our Collective Conscience in Auto mode

child swissmanadmitsabusing100children

In the recent past a number of incidents of ‘Atrocities against Women’ has been reported by the media but the vox populi seems to have numbed. Our collective conscience seems to have gone on an Auto mode. No more the candle light marches, seen after the ‘Nirbhaya’ episode. No more raising slogans. No more student agitation. It seems to have been accepted as part of the scenery. Just passes by as you pass by life.

A law student killed in gruesome manner, very akin to Nirbhaya, in Kerala. A young girl tortured and murdered in Ahmedabad. A girl raped twice over by the same assailants. A small girl raped and made to wait at the Police Station the whole day before the complaint could be lodged (the tests need to be performed within 24 hours). Where is the fury? The rage? The Justice Verma Committee came up with several recommendations. He chiefly blamed failure of governance. Despite the Act, passed with great fervour, it doesn’t seem to have helped much.

Stalking and voyeurism are offences punishable by seven years in jail. There is not a single case of anyone put behind bars. Stalking continues. Voyeurs continue to spy. The first place to go after any incident is the Police Station. It is here that the law has to transcend from the exalted books to action. And yet it is here that we fail miserably.

The proposed Bill of Rights for Women, which would entitle women to a life of dignity and security and ensure that she has the right to complete sexual autonomy including with respect to her relationships is hardly even talked about. Fact is, as a society, somewhere we have abdicated our sense of responsibility. We are looking for some ‘Mr India’, who’ll come and sweep away all our ills. We are therefore NOT taking the onus; passing the buck and NOT standing up and are NOT being counted.

The Delhi rage should’ve pushed us for stricter and faster reforms and their implementation. But sadly we missed the bus. Public anger did not translate into action and the fury did not manifest as a law. The misogynists and criminals rampantly harass women in several ways and sadly the onus is put on the women. That she drew the ire of the assailant, she dressed skimpily, or somehow it was all her mistake.

It’ll take time to change mindsets. The law should be a deterrent. But it is a provocating thought that should get us going. A few years down the line, “it’ll be my daughter walking down the street. If the street is unsafe today, will it be safe for her tomorrow?”

If the answer is an univocal NO, then ask yourself, what are you doing about it?


What saved my life? It can save your’s too!

Adm Insp 05.10 (17)

The above photograph is telling of what ensures the men in uniform, under life threatening situations, perform day after day in extreme treacherous conditions, facing bullets, undergoing tremendous hardships of terrain and work conditions and survive!

You’ll acquiesce that it is not one factor that leads to success and necessarily a combination of factors that lead to the success of a team. Individual achievements aside, it is the team that has to perform. So what makes us tick? What are the factors that lead to success? And most importantly, can any of these help me survive in the world outside the uniform?

Let me begin with the one most glaring fact of the photograph above. You see a ‘buddy pair’ operating in unison looking after each other. The system of buddy pairs is an age old system prevalent in the Army and has been responsible for saving many a lives and ensuring success.

Wikipedia describes it as, “The buddy system is a procedure in which two people, the “buddies”, operate together as a single unit so that they are able to monitor and help each other. As per Merriam-Webster, the first known use of the phrase “buddy system” goes as far back as 1942. Webster goes on to define the buddy system as “an arrangement in which two individuals are paired (as for mutual safety in a hazardous situation).” The buddy system is basically working together in pairs in a large group or alone. Both the individuals have to do the job. The job could be to ensure that the work is finished safely or the skill/learning is transferred effectively from one individual to the other.

How does it work in field? How does it deliver result under such conditions? What are the factors which ensure success? Can I adopt it here to protect myself?

The buddies cover each other’s back. They look at their area of responsibility, the first buddy looks from 9’0 to 12’0 clock direction (ninety degrees) and the other buddy looks after from 12’0 clock to 3’0 clock direction. Thus the pair cannot be surprised by any lurking danger/ enemy. Thus the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts“. The buddies feed off each other’s strength, they know each other intimately (they are paired checking out their compatibility/ village/ affinity), and operate together. They revel in each other’s success and cover for each other’s shortcomings, if any. They train together and work in unison like a well oiled machine. Well, you get the idea!!!

I always recommend adoption of the buddy system in your day to day life too! It is the best tool to ensure Women Safety and fight Child Sexual Abuse. Move around, operate and work in pairs. Now, take your mind back to all the incidents of say, child abuse in the schools. The predator would find a secluded place (toilet/ gymnasium/ parking lot) and molest the innocent victim. If only the teacher/ parent/ guardian followed the age old practice of a buddy system. Take your mind to the school at 11 a.m when all the classes are on and all the teachers are in the classrooms. Megha wants to visit the toilet. Alone she is a potential victim. Now, when Megha has to visit the toilet, the teacher must send her buddy Neha along. The two are formidable. The predator is deterred. Should he still think of executing his nefarious plans, Neha can scream, alternatively, Neha can run and seek help. And the possibilities are manifolds. The drastic drop in such activities in schools where I’ve propounded the buddy system has shown very positive results. This could be applied for the car pool, the sports field and you think of any situation, it always works!!

As Megha grows up, this could also be implemented in the work place, party scene – or any other situation. One could have different sets of partners in crime but the buddy system always works.

Now you know, what saved my life. After 25 years in the uniform, I can confidently say and credit my survival to my buddy. This blog is to eulogize my buddy, but for him the days in the uniform would surely would’ve have been numbered.



The recent incidents of atrocities against Women has further strengthened my resolve to take this fight into enemy territory. Let us all, consciously, do something, initiate steps, and positively support the Battle to make our planet a safer place to live for our women folk. She is someone’s mother, wife, sister, daughter and therefore, it’s our bounden duty to take care of them.

I was defending the frontiers of our country for nearly 25 years! Now, in this new avataar as a trainer, I urge you all to come together to fight this scourge and make this country a lovable place for them. A land where women are worshiped.

The uniform has taught me: “Offence is the best form of Defence” and how do we translate this to take care of myself. Addressing issues like sexual assault, date rape, violent relationships, sexual harassment of women at workplace (including the Vishaka Guidelines), acid attacks and what is the role of men! This is capped by Situation Control measures.

I’m conducting another session on ‘Women Safety’ tomorrow wherein I bring my lessons from the uniform, my UAC (unarmed combat) training to use. I impart basic techniques to come out as winner from situations, which you shouldn’t have been in the first place. How do you control the situation? How do you retain initiative? The SITCON (situation control) measures will empower you to take control.  How do I engage a bunch of goons? How do I tackle the road side romeo? The potential purse snatcher? Or the perpetrators of heinous crimes.

ICCR, Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Kolkata – 700 071.

Saturday: 3.30 – 6.30 p.m.



In my 25 years in the Army, it was always drilled into us ‘Offence is the Best form of Defence’. Now, when the army takes up defensive position, it is in fact a firm base for launching an offensive. This offensive mindset is a prerequisite for any operations.

This is the mindset that all the potential victims must always possess. This can be imbibed with regular reiteration. The offensive mindset will save your life and save others’ lives too. If the sexual predator has targeted you, it is unlikely that he will leave you for your ‘good behaviour’. These people invariably are the easiest to bully. They avoid fights as it draws attention. They avoid any altercation. They avoid any kind of ‘time-wasting’. They are looking to take you to another location.

Knowing how he is thinking, gives you ample opportunities to be offensive.

Be direct, explosive and surprise him. Don’t just give a smack. Penetrate! Blast through your target. HARD. FAST. REPEATEDLY. Wield your weapons with the savage intent of a prehistoric human: SMASH the face with your elbow. Crack the ears. Use your hips to drive gut-busting knee strikes. Kick back like a MULE. Grind with your knuckles. Grab fist fulls of hair and slam down! Hammer the nose, the testicles. Bite. Stomp. Gouge. Whip your fingers at the eyes. Take charge! You get the idea. Its YOU vs the predator … YOU gotta survive!

Remember, sharp objects is to pierce and blunt objects to smash. It would be advisable to know which parts to pierce and which are good places to smash!!! I’m sure you’ll figure that out.

Remember, its you or him!!! Go for it atta girl.

Be Aware . Be Alert . Be Safe .


WOSAF Tip # 84

Distracted Woman-texting-while-walkingBe Alert . Be Aware . Be Safe .

Police profiled the rape victims after interacting with serial rapists. How do they “select” their victim? 10 tips … Its shared for awareness.

#1 Hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid, or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. Grab and drag. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair.

#2 Clothing. They will look for women who’s clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around to cut clothing and on overalls the straps can be easily cut.

#3. Distracted Women. They look for women on their cell phone, searching through their purse or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard and can be easily overpowered.

#4 Time & Place. Most likely time is early morning, between 5 and 8:30 a.m. The number one place women are abducted from/attacked at is grocery store parking lots/ office parking lots/garages/ public restrooms.

#5 Modus Operendi. They grab and quickly move her to a second location where they don’t have to worry about getting caught. Only 2% said they carried weapons because rape carries a 3-5 year sentence but rape with a weapon is 15-20 years. If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn’t worth it because it will be time-consuming.

#6 Weapons. They avoid any victim carrying an umbrella, walking stick or objects which can be used as a weapon. Their aim is to quickly grab and move. They avoid any fight or resistance. Keys or key chains are not deterrent as they don’t provide the necessary distance. They can be overpowered before it can be effectively used.

The idea is to convince the ‘bad guys’ you are not worth the effort. You try tricks, you’ll be made to pay. I take ‘no-nonsense’. Once this message gets across they avoid such victims.

Be Aware . Be Alert . Be Safe .


Women Safety (WOSAF) .. # 83


Being Followed – stalked?

One. The most common complaint that I get from girls/ladies/women during conduct of my WOSAF (Women Safety) workshop is, “so, what do we do?” Really? The first and foremost thing that we MUST do while outside is: the Number ONE thing – Get off your phone, remove the headset. You are neutralizing the most powerful systems inbuilt in you to sense danger. One can smell danger. One can feel danger. Your Amygdala! The almond shaped mass of grey matter in front of your temporal lobe of the cerebrum, is part of the limbic system. It is involved in processing and expressing emotions, instincts and survival. When your body gears up for flight, fight or freeze mode, your entire brain stops and is controlled by your amygdala!The moment you switch on the head phones, you are short circuiting the basic survival process. Your senses get numbed and your awareness of your surrounding gets impaired. Your ears are part of this ‘sensing danger’ process. Let is be. You may train for listening techniques to sharpen your instincts. But while in public, remove those plugs.

Two. Be aware of your surroundings. If you are new to the place, it would be worthwhile to check out with whomsoever you are staying with (hotel, relatives, friends) about the neighbourhood. Know in general the ATMs in your route to work/college/school/or wherever you are going – especially if it involves walking. ATMs have a 24/7 guard and could be of assistance, if required. The security camera can assist get the bad guys. Know the location of the police station, any pubs/bars/liquor dens in your route.You would know the roads/lanes to avoid after certain time. Know which street lights are non-functional in your lane. Raise a complaint.

Three. Be physically fit and mentally agile. As a routine be physically fit. It is not about being fat or thin. It is a fitness regime. Walks, runs, sits-ups, push-ups, yoga, walking up the stairs or any form or exercise which will keep you physically fit. It is an imperative. Being mentally agile involves your being quick on the thinking, buoyant, sharp, athletic. This will help you keep your wits about you during a time of crises. Knowing some self defence techniques helps but is not mandatory. A number of times I’ve been queried, whether WOSAF helps? Well, does knowing swimming prevents you from drowning? Your chances of survival increases .. similarly with WOSAF. Your chances of coming out unscathed from such situations increases.

Four. It helps if your loved ones know where you are or about your whereabouts. This is not about your privacy being intruded – we are talking about your very survival here! It is always advisable to let your friend/family know where you are going tonight and how would you return. With cabs available on a phone call away, driving after drinking is never a good option. But the issues with a cab need to be addressed before hand. Better safe and sure than regret later. While in the cab speak (in the language the driver understands) to your friend/ family about the approximate time it would take to reach, your present location and the number of the cab.

Be Alert . Be Aware . Be Safe .


WOSAF Tip # 82


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Situational Awareness is the key to Women Safety. A lot of us think that, while walking, being on the phone is OK .. sorry, its not OK!! It distracts you and since you are distracted, your sensory organs (to smell danger, gut feel), is not working.

The security arrangements and privacy issues in a number of the social media sites are suspect. Sharing your address, bank details and any personal details is inviting trouble. Why should your address be known to the bad guys? Share details with caution.

When in a new place, don’t walk around with the map in hand; its a dead giveaway. Remember the route or take the public transport. When asking for directions and someone offers to show you the way by having you follow them, do not go. Just ask for them to point you in the right direction. Often, predators just want to get you to a place less crowded where your screams can’t be heard.

It is imperative that your actions in public places be discreet. The louder you are, more attention you will get, which is only making you a potential target. Look around, look confident, don’t scan the handbag for keys, and be aware of your surroundings. Drooping shoulders, forlorn and dejected look are symptoms as potential victims. Be aware. Looking around sends a message, that I can see you. If there is a police lineup, I can recognize you.

The safety of ours is our prime concern. The bad guys are looking for opportunities. We should not provide them one.

Be Alert .  Be Aware . Be Safe .