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Inspiring Indians

Naari Shakti: Training women to counter terror, Israeli-style

By Ramya Pradeep | FEB 2017

On the midnight of December 31, 2016, when thousands of people had gathered at the famous M G Road of Bengaluru to welcome the New Year, rumours of mass molestation spread like wildfire. In the next couple of days, anger erupted across the country and a barrage of posts flooded the social sites.

Bengaluru was shamed again, twice within a week, after reports of molestation came from Kamanahalli and KG Halli areas too. Though the police failed to find any clues in the M G Road incident, and the KG Halli case turned out to be a fake one, damage had already been done! Bengaluru had lost its safe-city tag in the first week of 2017.

Netizens started comparing the situation in Bengaluru to that of Delhi and local residents started fearing for the safety of their girl child like never before.

But when the entire world was busy slamming the incident on the Web, here was a man in Bengaluru, who was silently working on his mission to protect and empower women.

Meet Chakradhari Rowe, who feels every woman should be strong enough both physically and mentally to combat any sort of challenges and fears in life. He trains several individual women and groups of women on how to tackle any criminal attempt on them.

He, however, does not rely too much on kung fu, karate or other martial arts and says that most of the battles are won in the mind.

“If women are psychologically strong, the risk of their getting robbed of their dignity becomes slim,” he says. The ‘ironman’ of Bengaluru teach women several gestures which they could use as deterrence in the first place.

If these don’t work, he advises women to wear the attitude of ‘forget me not’ than ‘touch me not’. His dream is to build a generation that is both mentally and physically strong.

“We live in the troubled times and it is critical, especially for women, to prepare themselves for any emergency. It was with this intention in mind that we started a group called Armour India, which teaches women to stay alert and safe 24X7,” says Rowe.

He got his mind sharpened in Israel, which is known all over the world for its defence strategies. With a very different outlook towards life, thought process and strong determination, he is an epitome of a passionate man.

Rowe claims he is the first man from India to have completed ISA training successfully from some of the sharpest minds of the Israeli defence force. He was trained in close protection and counter-terrorism which is considered to be one of the toughest and most intensive training regimes in the world.

The physical and psychological rigours of the training were intense, which prepared him to face the worst in the battlefield. Training in VIP protection, counter-terrorism, planning security and profiling crime scenes has given him strong resilience and mental power which he aims to put to better use.

Skip Armour, a tactical skill development arm of Skip-India, was started to spread awareness of tactical reasoning, security etc. Its motto was to strengthen people, which will in turn strengthen national security.

Armoured Spirit is a wing of Skip Armour, which gives personal security training to women. Rowe and his small team of volunteers train women on how to deal with and deter the criminals psychologically.

“Reactions and debates flow after every sexual assault or molestation incident but people forget it in a few days. The solution to the crimes against women is, however, very simple and mostly lies in the mind. Simple acts of deterrence and use of common sense and intuition can help you come out unscathed from the worst of situations,” Rowe says.

“Your enemy is weaker than you most of the time. Alertness and faith in oneself are critical,” he adds. He also cautions against too much reliability on gadgets or pepper spray for self-protection.

“If pepper is used in a wrong direction of the wind, the user herself may turn a victim of it. It can even prove fatal,” he adds. He also wants all women to be aware of IPC 100, which allows them to kill somebody in self-defence.

About rising crimes against women, Rowe says: “Society needs to teach women to fight, rather than suffer. Once the women learn to fight back and defend themselves, there shall be a significant dip in crimes against women.” His four-hour training programme teaches the participants strategies and ways to develop alertness and fighting capabilities, which can come handy in times of distress.

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