Friday, June 12, 2009

Helmets for Women in India

Helmets are mandatory for two-wheeler riders in India. In most of India, an adult passenger on a two-wheeler also has to wear a helmet. However, in most cities, women are exempt from this rule, whether they are riding alone or as a passenger. It is a strange exemption that I have witnessed only in India, and there seem to be widely differing justifications for this rule.

Here are some of them:
  • Sikh women claim religious sensitives prevent them from wearing helmets, as they can only wear turbans (which hardly any of them do). As a driving license does not list the religion of the woman, all women can claim exemption under this. Sikh women today seem to be peculiarly opportunistic in following the Sikh code of conduct, as they generally cut their hair, wear elastic underwear, pluck their eyebrows, don't use "Kaur" in their full names, but when it comes to wearing a helmet, they seem to be remarkably devout.

  • Women think they look manly with a metal helmet, and therefore do not want to wear a helmet, since they may want to catch the eye of a suitable groom while vrooming.

  • Women in India maintain elaborate hairstyles with lots of pins and jooda and a helmet would not be "suitable" nor fit properly over such a head.

  • Women sometimes carry a child in their lap or in their arms while riding pillion and if they wear a helmet, cannot take care of the child, nor be able to kiss it properly if it starts crying.

  • Helmets are expensive and one household can only afford one helmet, which should be bought as per the head size of the man and worn by him exclusively. If the man dies, the woman will be left destitute, whereas if the woman dies, no hard feelings and the man can remarry.


Anonymous said...

Only one thing to beat your sense of humour is your sense of humour.

Anonymous said...

ah ah ah
women, rebels of society, freedom fighters or guardians of traditions and beauty. Verry Fanny