`We the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a moralistic Talibanisque goonda Republic, and to thrash all citizens who dare to party and have fun ….’
This is the 2012 version of the Preamble to the Constitution of India that is being rewritten on the streets – from Guwahati to Mangalore. Ushering in a new India where scantily-clad women will not be tolerated and will be shamed in full camera glare to send a message across to the Indian women who dare to bare and choose to live life as they like. `Be a woman at your own risk in testosterone-powered India’.
Just days after an inebriated girl was dragged out of a pub in Guwahati and molested by a group of youngsters in the darkness of the evening, India has been Mangalor-ed. In an encore of January 2009, when Pramod Muthalik’s Sri Ram Sene activists attacked men and women at a pub in the coastal city, self-styled activists of Hindu Janajagrana Vedike barged into a private resort near Mangalore on Saturday evening and assaulted the young men and women there. Their contention was that a rave party was on and they wanted to obstruct it. As evidence, alcohol bottles and a music system were shown. The girls ran from one room to another, to escape the youth who tried to mask their lust with anger. They virtually converted the `birthday party’ (according to the youngsters) into a `rape’ party, with the `activists’ having a field day, touching, groping, slapping the girls, emboldened by the power of being the mob.
How dare they use the `Hindu’ or any other religious tag to mask their naked rage and attempt at moral-policing? Manhandle and terrorise youngsters with the intention of telling the world that whoever they think is a morally loose character, indulges in a drinking binge or dresses in what they see as sexually provocative, shall be punished. Not just with a hard slap across the face if you protest and a kick by self-righteous men to numb you into submission but with cameras chasing you, and half a dozen hands pulling you by the hair to expose your face to the world as a shamed creature who deserves nothing better than to be treated like this.
As a parent or someone worried about how youngsters are choosing to define `entertainment’, you may not approve of such `birthday’ parties. I am wary too. But this has to do with social attitudes as well. Forget these lumpen elements, even a Trinamool Congress MLA in West Bengal Chiranjeet declared in his wisdom that short skirts are the reason for an increase in the cases of harassment against women in his constituency in North 24 Parganas district. His argument being, short dresses instigate young men.
The attack was clearly pre-meditated, planned. You only need to check out the 10-minute footage put out on Daijiworld.com. The portal declared the footage is not shot by them. Even assuming that is the case, the fact that these 25 goons went in armed with not one, but two cameras to shoot the attack at length, not only establishes their audacity but also the absence of fear that they could subsequently face police treatment.
Not a single one of those self-anointed upkeepers of everyone else’s moral values seemed to think he may be on the wrong side of the law or worried about being exposed himself on camera. They were happy to go about their business quite nonchalantly doing the exposure for the benefit of the roving cameras that had been commissioned for the purpose. I wonder what gives them that gall of a confidence. Eight of them have subsequently been arrested but will they be meted out sufficient punishment to deter them and others from trying similar bravado in the future?
The footage was also sourced by Kannada regional channels, all of them airing it.
The media is under attack for showing footage of such a `crime’. No responsible media can be a party to such hooliganism that they go in and shoot the attack and give such goons the oxygen of publicity. But it could well be that these publicity-loving gangs organised the shoot themselves and distributed the footage to the media. In which case, by showing the miscreants, one could argue, the media footage would help identify the self-declared moral-upkeepers of the nation so that they are sent where they ought to be – behind bars.
The media cannot claim to be just a spectator in this show. It could always be argued that by showing such acts repeatedly, a certain band of people could feel motivated to display their machismo in a similar fasion. Blackout is not an option. That would be akin to a cat shutting her eyes while polishing off the milk, hoping no one will notice. Undeniably media is a powerful weapon that can orchestrate a nation into a collective sense of outrage to spell out that this we shall not tolerate in our country and force the state to act against the guilty and showcase that to the world so that no other Muthalik-like enthusiast will dare to think that he can tell the woman across the street what he thinks is right for her.
(Pics courtesy : daijiworld.com)