Walking To Change The World
Femina|July 9, 2018

Srishti Bakshi walked from Kanyakumari to Srinagar to start a conversation about women’s safety and empowerment in India, finds Nikita Sawant

Nikita Sawant

As a teenager, Srishti Bakshi dreamt of someday becoming the CEO of a company. When she moved to Hong Kong for work, she was well on her way to achieving her dream. A few years later, however, she took an unexpected U-turn. Coming from an army background, India was always close to Bakshi’s heart. It was a harsh wakeup call when she realised that the country she so loved didn’t hold much consequence for outsiders.

“When I was living in Hong Kong, I got the opportunity to meet people from various parts of the world. Over casual dinner conversations with friends and colleagues, I was reminded time and again that I came from a place that these people would not choose as a holiday destination. A typical conversation would go like, ‘Wow, you’re from India, how nice.’ My automatic reaction to this would be, ‘Why don’t you visit? If you want to plan a trip, I could help you.’ And that would be met with an incredulous, ‘Oh, India would be the last country I would travel to.’ The discussion would always veer towards how unsafe India was for women,” she recalls.

Bakshi found herself feeling distressed about India being mentioned in such a light. Then two years ago, she read about the Bulandshahr case, where a mother and her teenage daughter were gang-raped in front of the father and brother. She says, “I felt like the entire system had failed me. When I spoke to people back home, they told me nothing would change or to not talk to them about it as it upset them. I realised that people weren’t recognising it as a social crisis. That’s when I decided to do something about it, to bring energy to the same discussion in a different way.”

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