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Preity Zinta: Women’s Safety

Learn English with Preity Zinta’s speech. Join us for an insightful conversation with the talented and fearless Preity Zinta as she talks about her latest venture – Kavach Safety, a holistic solution for women’s safety in India. In this candid discussion, Preity shares her journey, the challenges faced in creating awareness for women’s safety, and the importance of having a progressive mindset. Discover how Kavach Safety works, the role of technology in ensuring the safety of women, and the significance of supporting one another in the fight against crime. Don’t miss out on this empowering conversation that highlights the strength and determination of modern women living life on their own terms.

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 Preity Zinta | Quote

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“Believe in yourself, and the world will believe in you.” Preity Zinta

 Preity Zinta | FULL TRANSCRIPT:

Preity Zinta: What is the cost of your safety? So is it a cup of coffee? Is it a really nice high end lipstick? Or is it a lifetime of regret?

Host: Preity Zinta does not need any introduction, but I wanted to sort of, you know, share with you a few things which actually resonate with me when it comes to Preity Zinta. First of all, I want to talk about a couple of words which in my opinion describe her better than anything else. I think one, she’s a very courageous woman, so I think courage is one word which comes to my mind when I… when I think of her and something you will hear today would be perhaps related to that. She’s done a lot of unconventional films, she’s very unconventional. And what reminds me most about her is she is very endearing.

The films which she’s done are Kya Kehna, Sangharsh, Lakshya, Mission Kashmir, Kal Ho Naa Ho. As you will notice, many of them very unconventional, very bold roles in most of them. I think the other thing which many of you may know about her is she’s not only an actress, she’s also an entrepreneur and a co-owner of a cricket team. And finally, she is what really stands out in the last 20 odd years when we know her as a public persona, she’s a valiant human being who testified against Mumbai underworld when most men of Bollywood refused to do so. So she is indeed man amongst all the people in Bollywood and this is one thing we really admire you for. So presenting to you, Preity Zinta, modern woman who lives life on her own terms. Very warm welcome and thank you for being here.

Preity Zinta: Wow, thank you so much. Whoever wrote that for you, I think I should pay them for it. That was amazing. Thank you so much. It’s wonderful to be here today and I’m here to talk about women’s safety, women’s issues. Women’s safety is not just a problem in India, it’s actually a global issue. But what are we doing for it? How can we be part of it? It’s a conversation, it’s an ongoing conversation. Why I’m talking about it here in this forum is even in 2017, if women say we want to compete, be equal to men, you can’t compete and be equal to men because the minute you want to follow your dreams and leave your house, your parents tell you, don’t go out, it’s not safe. And you can go and work till six o’clock, but if you want to work post six o’clock, then it’s best you don’t do it and let someone else do it.

So the point is, if you don’t have an equal platform and you don’t have equal opportunity, how do you strive for that excellence and strive to do well in life? So we have come out with something called Kavach Safety and I think you as a father, so the one thing I asked Mr watts right before entering was like, do you have any daughters? Because if you have daughters, you kind of will understand what I’m saying much more than if you didn’t. And he said, yes, I had two. I have two. So I had this big grin on my face and I was like, okay. And before we go into the other serious aspects of it, I just want to say something on a light hearted note, that behind every successful man, there is a woman. Behind every unsuccessful man, there are two women. But behind every successful woman is a progressive man. It’s either her father, it’s her brother, it’s her husband. So but he’s always progressive. So… should we start?

Host: Yeah, yeah, sure. So I think first of all, congratulations for launching Kavach Safety. I think it’s a fantastic idea. How’s the journey been and what is the… what are the first set of people you want to sort of, you know, address amongst women as well? Is there an age group you are targeting first with Kavach, Preity? Or is it for everybody? What is it?

Preity Zinta: It is for everybody. But most of all, it’s… You see, if you look at sexual crime, and you see the reports and stuff, it’s mostly younger women. And of course, women going out of their homes. So our first set of people are definitely students, women that work. So going back to my journey, when I first started with this project, and I started… So because I invested in a cricket team, so people now come to me and say, hey, let’s invest in a business together. So I said, okay, you know, when we think of something interesting, we’ll do it. One fine day I woke up and I said, okay, you know, this is something I want to work on. And then I started approaching people and saying, let’s do something on women’s safety.

And the first thing everybody told me was, why don’t you become a social worker? And I was like, okay, but why does this have to be social work? Why can’t it be… Then the next thing I was like… And the next thing I heard was, women’s safety? Well, women will be safe if they don’t go out at night. So I mean, seriously, it was a joke, but it somehow was really sad that we don’t even… And then the worst I heard was, you’re worried about women’s safety, people don’t have water to drink and food. So no one really cared about women’s safety. And that’s the reason… And this was five years earlier, and that’s the reason I’m here today. So…

Host: So what is the… Would you like to tell us a little bit more about the app, actually? What are the features and how does it sort of work?

Preity Zinta: Well, Kavach is actually a total and holistic solution to women’s safety. It is privatizing emergency response at the press of a button, but it’s backed with high-end technology and forensic support. So to put it simply, if anything ever went wrong, you could subscribe to this app or you have a physical device. A lot of people prefer an app and not a device, but basically, if you press the button, somebody is going to come and… look out for you. Not just somebody come and look out for you, it will also help in collecting audio forensic evidence. So the only way you can bring down crime is… If anything ever happened to a woman, the best way to protect her is obviously physically go protect her and then take her to the hospital. But how does that prevent crime? It doesn’t really prevent crime. Crime can only be prevented if the rate of conviction goes up. And the only way rate of convictions can go up is if you can collect evidence. And if it’s of forensic nature, which is audio forensic evidence, it is easier to work with it in court. So it works…

Host: So do you download this app or how does it sort of work? Do you have to pay for it and how does it sort of…

Preity Zinta: Yes, okay. So it… Yes, you have to pay for it. It’s a subscription of 300 rupees. So what happens is when you subscribe… Yeah, you have to download it. You go to our website. We’ll give you a particular number. You download it. Once you download it, we ask you for three things. One is your emergency contacts. If anything ever happened to you, who do we call? Two is your medical history. So if you are diabetic, you have high blood pressure, you have anything. Your medical history. Your blood group and everything, yeah. And third is your voice sample. So I would probably say, hi, my name is Preity. My Kavach number is 1-2-3-4-5, whatever.

When something goes wrong, you press the button. Immediately you can hold it down on your phone and it discreetly sends a message to an emergency operations centre, which is not a call centre. It is a private emergency operations centre. It’s not the police. And as soon as they find out there’s a problem, they will, within their screen, they will immediately, it geotags you, so they know exactly where you are. If you’re walking, you’re running, you’re moving, you’re hiding, A, they know that. And B, as soon as you activate the app, it immediately becomes an audio recorder. So it records everything that’s happening in and around you and gets stored in a cloud, which can then be accessed by a forensic unit, because the way a fingerprint is very unique to you, so is your voice. As soon as the emergency operations centre realises that you’re in trouble, the first call goes to the police, which gets recorded, because legally you have to call the police.

We don’t wait for the police to pick up the phone or do anything. As soon as the ring goes, it’s recorded, they will immediately send a private response back to you. And the private response will be anything from two people to five people. Let’s say there are five, so there are three men, two women. The men would be from ex-army, ex-special forces backgrounds. The women will be ex-army medical backgrounds. They will find you how an Ola cab or an Uber will find you, right? They’ll find you. They come with body cameras and mics, so that if we reach before the police, it’s well established that we have not contaminated the crime scene or fiddled with any evidence. They will come and they’ll help you record your police statement, hold your hand through your FIR. They’ll help you through, I mean, take you to the hospital if something is really bad. But all the beginning of it gets covered by insurance, so that if something does happen to you, you don’t have to then go into the whole process of giving a bill, finding out how this is and stuff like that, and from victim advocacy.

So even things like victim advocacy and stuff, that’s also covered by insurance. So in some ways, it’s not just helping a woman, but it’s helping a woman with a heart. And at the same time, it’s pro-victim, anti-perpetrator. So if… you are involved in a crime, you cannot run and you cannot hide.

Host: That’s super, super. I think it’s a very good idea. I heard you say, talk about armed forces and special protection group. So any reason you’ve chosen that and not… There are quite a few specialized people as well in this area now who do exactly this piece, actually. So from a security… Security is becoming a full-fledged business, and there are a lot of people who are into security, very specialized, not…

Preity Zinta: Yes, but if you look at the security business, most of it are ex-army, ex-special forces. So it’s like, they’ve done this all their lives. They are very… They’ve done it under different circumstances. So my partner in this is a gentleman called Anthony Morehouse. He’s Australian, and he is an ex-special forces commander. He used to… So he did this for high net worth individuals across the globe, in 155 different countries, for over a million people, they do emergency response. It’s obviously more expensive and done for high net worth individuals.

So we’ve brought that down and we are focusing on the women. And yes, my own infrastructure and network in India is very good with the ex-army. My brother’s in the army, my dad was in the army, my friends are all there. So it’s easier to tap that. And also the fact that they have a very strong discipline and a code of conduct. So that’s why.

Host: One quick question. You know, this… What if the area does not have bandwidth or Wi-Fi? So is there an option? Because I’m seeing particularly in India at the moment, it’s getting better by the day, as you know.

Preity Zinta: Yes, yes.

Host: But there are pockets where the signal is not strong or not there and so on and so forth. So how does that work?

Preity Zinta: So what happens is, let’s say there’s no network here. And then there’s a gap here and there’s a network there, right? So as soon as you drop it here, it’ll have the last location and it’ll immediately pick it up there. So it is the way technology is done. So this is one thing which I’m not the tech person, to be honest. But this is something I kept questioning, because I was like, I don’t understand it. But it has a way of working by the way they work it around technology. And it kind of… It tags it. And somehow it works. It will skip it, unless you’re going completely into the forest, then that, I’m sorry, is not going to work. So, I mean, everything has its limitations. Still, India, I mean, even a phone, I mean, if the phone is not working, or if your phone’s battery is dead, then what do you do?

Host: So is the app currently localized or sort of geotargeted for India? Or is it available everywhere in the world?

Preity Zinta: No, it’s for India. We are starting a test pilot in Pune with 50,000 women. And in those 50,000, 45,000 are going to be students from universities, women working in offices and IT companies. And 5,000 of those women are going to be… We’re doing it for free. And those women are going to be all from families of paramilitary forces, army, police, CIRPF, BSF. And only for one reason, that, you know, if the men, the brothers, the fathers from all these families go to protect our country, I think we can look after their women. So we are actually, what we’re doing is, in this, a lot of my active friends and everybody have been very helpful. And we are opening up a crowdfunding zone where people can contribute from a rupee to a hundred rupees to whatever. And it’s just a very small way for us to say thank you to all those families, because they have tough lives.

Host: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. So I think it’s something which one would look forward to, and it’s a very welcome step. It’s really a good idea.

Preity Zinta: Well, thank you. I think our biggest problem… our biggest issue or problem that we’re going to face is everyone thinks it’s never going to happen to me. It’s going to happen to someone else. And you just, every single day, you might not need something like this. But that one day that you need is the day that you really need to think about. So when we went to students, and some students were like, yes, this is very important. And some students were like, oh, you know, 300 bucks. I don’t know. So I asked this girl, what is the cost of your safety? So is it a cup of coffee? Is it a really nice high end lipstick? Or is it a lifetime of regret? Like, so do you also think that like, it’s never going to happen to me? Or is it?

Host: No, no, and there’s no question. And I think the pricing personally, if you ask me at about, you know, four to $5 or 300 Indian rupees is very, very, very reasonable. I think this is a life saving app. It’s an app which is very different, and therefore should have takers in my opinion as we go forward.

Preity Zinta: Well, I hope so. So when all of you come across if you’re not living in India, please… if you’re not living in India right now, since it’s Pune centred, I can’t say buy one for yourself. But please, if you if you do care, then do donate to someone in need. Because I think it’s time we actually take women’s safety seriously. And not just talk about it when something bad happens and make it a dinner conversation, but actually be part in making a difference for it.

Host: Yeah, thank you so much. And as you boil the ocean once again, and make sure that you know, there is something that… this is indeed a great product. You know, thank you and congratulations for thinking of it, or for making it happen.

Preity Zinta: And all the very best for a fantastic. Thank you. Thank you.

Preity Zinta