The Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Sunday said that not just women, men too were “victims.” He was speaking in the context of violence against women and children, for which he blamed “moral degradation” of society.

Addressing a press conference at the launch of “Volunteer for a Better India — Give One Hour to the Nation,” an initiative of his organisation, the spiritual guru argued that women were not the only victims. “We came across groups of men who have been victimised, for instance a group of victimised husbands. We also need to address their concerns.”

Apart from moral degradation, alcohol was one of the reasons for violence in society, he said. Referring to the outrage sparked by the Delhi gang rape, he argued that the government could not be blamed all the time.

“We also need to take some responsibility. It is the apathy of the good people which has brought us to this state. Anger is important till the time it wakes up the conscience of the nation and society, but if it goes overboard then it leads to anarchy and chaos. So anger needs to be directed in a positive way.”

“At present Dalits are not feeling safe, neither are Brahmins, besides women, children and senior citizens. There are several reasons responsible for this kind of situation, including the weak law and order situation,” he said.

Appealing to every section to come forward to build a “violence-free” society, he said: “Let the youth and citizens come forward and pledge ‘one hour to the nation’ and volunteer for a better India in order to address crucial social issues through a spirit of volunteerism.”

Women’s safety, voice against corruption, declining child sex ratio, child rights, HIV and AIDS, Millennium Development Goals, village entrepreneurial opportunities, adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights, drugs and alcohol, environment, education, senior citizens and good governance are the issues which The Art of Living plans to engage the country through this initiative.

On the occasion, a legal-aid helpline, which will provide free legal awareness, advice and mediation services, was also launched. The doctors of the Delhi Medical Association have pledged to dedicate two Sundays a year for free consultation under the program Do ravivar desh ke naam.

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