An actor is working to raise awareness of women’s rights by going on 365 different dates.
Dubbed ‘India’s Dating King’, Sunder Ramu started his campaign after becoming increasingly concerned about the attitudes towards women and their safety within Indian society.
Through his dates, Sunder planned to change perceptions through starting a conversation about equal rights.
‘I was getting a little depressed looking at all the things going wrong. And there are so many issues. Things are reaching such a state that even Superman can’t fix it all,’ Sunder explains.
‘If you can’t be respectful and caring towards your own kind, you won’t even think about the melting ice caps or the disappearing Amazons. So I decided to pick up this social issue and try and see how we can fix it.’
‘And also try and let people know that fixing social problems doesn’t need to be time consuming, financially straining or boring.’
‘There’s so much violence against women that has been reported. I’m sure it’s always been there but because of the reporting it is in your face all of the time.’
But despite planning to go out to dinner with 365 different women, Sunder is quick to dispel the idea that he is a lothario.
‘It’s not 365 dates. It’s actually 365 meal dates. But it’s been now looked upon as dates, which is fine by me because I want people to break down the taboo of dating.’
‘The idea was to go out and try and see all the inequalities towards women. And try and see how we can fix at least a few.’
‘We look at dating as a Western concept and I want to break the taboo surrounding this term. Men should understand and respect a woman’s decision. If a woman declines your offer, you should take it in your stride and not think that she is attacking your ego or how dare she refuse.’
‘She has her rights and can make her own choices. But it’s more than that. It is not like all Indian men are rapists and not like all women need saving. It’s not man versus women. It’s people against these issues of violence and safety and inequality.’
Since January 2015, Sunder has been out for dinner with 300 different women – ranging from a stranger who works as a rubbish collector to his own 105-year-old grandmother. He now hopes to enjoy his remaining 65 dates outside of India in order to address the issue from a global perspective.
To ensure the women feel as safe as possible, Sunder lets them decide the time and place for the meeting. The dates are also expected to pay for the meal, with Sunder donating a matching amount to charity.
Not only has the project allowed Sunder to meet a range of women from all walks of life, he is also thrilled to have drawn attention to the problems surrounding women’s safety within India.
He says, ‘the number of people that I have met, the conversations I have had and the insights I have got from all these women, I now know for a fact that we have a voice.’
‘We still have a long way to go, but it has begun. I never expected it to go this viral or get this much attention. It was mainly to try and find answers and see what we can do. And personally it has been a fabulous journey. Everybody wants to help. Everybody wants to make things better.’
Keep up the good work, Sunder! Watch the video above to see our kind-hearted Casanova in action.