Pandithar Shivkumar Perumal is a man of letters, and he is striving for change. Dismayed by increasing atrocities against women in the country and to demand establishment of tough regulations to punish culprits, Perumal, an accountant with the Infosys BPO in Hinjewadi, has been sending postcards to the President’s office every day since April 20.
Speaking to MiD DAY, Perumal said he decided to take the step after the horrific December 16, 2012 Delhi gang rape, ashe wanted to express his annoyance towards existing laws, which he felt weren’t stringent enough to deter future offenders.
“I am a son, a brother, a husband and a father. As an average human being, it is painful to witness the suffering of countless women, against whom crimes are committed in our country daily. What can be more brutal than the rape of a three-year-old girl, or a 60-year-old woman? All this amid the outrage against the Delhi gang-rape incident.
It shows that offenders are not afraid of committing such hideous crimes, because they are not getting the kind of punishment they deserve. I’ve been sending one postcard to President Pranab Mukherjee’s office every day for the last seven months. This is my way of demanding stringent laws and punishment for those who assault women,” he said.
A resident of Tingre Nagar in Vishrantwadi, 38-year-old Perumal is optimistic about his efforts bearing fruit in the future. “Though I have not got any response from the President’s office so far, I will continue sending postcards on behalf of my family, till the time they are safe from any such crimes. As an ordinary citizen, I am concerned about my wife and daughter’s safety. I get worried the moment they step out of the house. I want the scenario to change, which will happen only after the implementation of stringent laws,” he said. Commenting on Perumal’s initiative, Shiv Sena MLA Neelam Gohre said, “This is a welcome move on a personal level. Such individual and collective expression is very important, and we should encourage it. As a further step, what our society requires is active participation. I would like people like Perumal to join women’s help centres, like Stree Adhar Kendra, and work as volunteers. Today, we need to protect women who approach the police or the courts to demand justice after being assaulted. We hope to see more citizens becoming aware about social justice and involve themselves actively to demand the same from the government.”
President’s office oblivious
When contacted, Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson Venu Rajamony said, “I am not aware of this matter and am currently not in Delhi. I need to check with the office to find out if we have been receiving any such postcards.” He asked this reporter to contact him on Monday, when he would be back in office.
This is a welcome step by this individual. But such initiatives must be taken on a bigger scale. The intensity of crimes against women has increased lately. We used to feel much safer in earlier days. No lone man can change today’s scenario. We need a combined effort from all quarters.
-- Aarti Halbe, medical counsellor
I don’t think any such endeavour will alter the current state of affairs. What change can one person bring, which did not happen through collective efforts, like candlelight marches? Mentality of people needs to be transformed to prevent crimes against women, and this will take ages.
-- Sneha Kulkarni, law student
I think we will need to put right the outlook of people first. Only then we can expect reforms in society. But it’s a mammoth task. I doubt if the President will even notice such postcards arriving at his office.
-- Anuja Bhondwe, PR professional