Jan 25, 2009

Mere paas "decency" hai...

"Freedom is that instant between when someone tells you to do something and when you decide how to respond."

Freedom is the right to live as we wish. This right, however, died a painful death on Saturday, when 'activists' of a self-styled pro-Hindutva moral brigade which calls itself the Sri Rama Sene barged into a pub in the coastal city of Mangalore and assaulted (physically and sexually) a group of young girls. Oh yes, they had a 'reason' for their impotent behaviour too, as most impotent men always do. According to these 'morally uptight' local Talibanis, the girls were "violating traditional Indian norms".

A deranged mob of about 40 'men' forcibly entered the pub, claiming 'unethical' activities were on inside, and that some of the public had complained. They then viciously attacked the hapless girls and also outraged their modesty. The young men accompanying the girls to the pub on the busy Balmatta Road were also assaulted when they tried to protect their friends, as also were the staff who'd collectively risen to help.

Claiming responsibility for the attack, state deputy convenor of the Sene Prasad Attavar said that it was a spontaneous reaction against women, who flouted 'traditional' Indian norms of 'decency'. He said these girls were Hindus who dared to get close to Muslim men.

Sadly, Karnataka - a state that once had a strong image of peace and tolerance - seems to be heading in a very different direction now.

Source: TOI, NDTV, IBN

Okay, here's what I gather from this incident. "Indian Tradition and Culture" is a manuscript written by a bunch of goons and hooligans. The manuscript itself is a list of dos and don'ts that these morality-preachers collate and dispense at will. They decide what comprises morality and decency according to what they deem fit, and it only pertains to the females of the nation. It definitely advocates the use of violence and sexual perversion - liberally and frequently.

This piece of literary genius does not include (or rather overlooks) such mundane things as terrorism or dishonesty or crime in general. It only stresses on matters of utmost importance to India today - namely, what women should and should not do/ wear/ eat/ drink, where they should and should not go/ look, how they should sit/ stand/ talk/ pee/ shit/ barf, whether they should live/ see/ breathe without permission from the authors of the afore-mentioned script, how they should always provide for the sexual repression and frustration of these esteemed authors, and the like. As for men, well, some of them wrote the manuscript, didn't they?

All I can say is that Manu, the acclaimed author of the Kohinoor of Indian literature, Manusmriti, smiles in content and indulgence at his faithful protégés. After all, did he not say that a woman is an embodiment of the worst desires - hatred, deceit, jealousy and bad character - and so should never be given freedom? The saviours of India surely know where to fuel their regressive mindsets from!

"Day and night women must be kept in dependence by males (of their families), and, if they attach themselves to sexual enjoyments, they must be kept under one's control."

Edited to add:

I just had to publish this comment from some anonymous 'moral' fellow who's too much a coward to display his/ her name while commenting - "one thing i want to know is how do we control a person who is beyond decency limits & who will draw the line? since the government & NCW have failed in this, common man has no other way but to resort to such wild behaviour. I saw the TV. what sri ram sena said is correct, these people usually take drugs & behave badly & dress badly also. NCW should be held responsible for this." This person should be lynched for insulting the common man by saying they'd believe in what the Sena did! And there's more to cover his/ her posterior - "I do not support sri ram sena either. They need to resolve this issue by peaceful protest Like wearing a black mask & sitting for dharna infornt of bad people & bad places. They should not hit people." Yeah, right!

Edited again to add:

Here's what the founder of Sri Rama Sene, Pramod Mutalik, has to say after Saturday's appalling incident - "We oppose this. Women have to be protected as the law has failed. Parents are worried about their wards going astray in materialistic pursuits. We are the custodians of Indian culture." Like hell you are! And like hell the parents gave YOU the authority to 'protect' their daughters! And, surprisingly, he says "there is no need to raise such a hue and cry about the incident". Sure, there's no such need; Manu made that clear eons ago!


@lankr1ta said...

You know, Surbhi, the tactics employed by ANYONE in the religious right, be they Hindus, Muslims or Christians, in the name of doing the "right" thing and protecting glorious womanhood( which translates in their language to being baby machines ruled by men) is always the same.
a. first is an outrage against dress or behavior- clearly women who show skin ask for it- definitions of skin vary- the Talibanis would think ankles is a lot of skin- makeup too is there
b. the next is an outrage against free choices- contraception, men friends, abortion- all to control women's bodies
c. then is the "upholding of honor" national, regional religious
d. and all is enforced by goons who would not know "tradition" if it bit them in the ass.
Replace the religious/ national organization with another and it is a universal tale of misogyny and anti-progressivism. THe modus operandi remains the same.
Wha ti find funny even is that these same groups laugh at the antics of other religious groups and call them extreme, when it is just a different context but the same behavior.

Bhartiya nari-tva or whatever, however is a more dangerous disease. Because it has a lot of very seemingly "normal" people too in its grip. Most Indians I know who profess great patriotism- patriotism of the sort that looks at ANY criticism of their nation as wrong and evil( even if it be criticism to improve) hold these very ancient views on how women should behave.
It hink it stems form a personal mediocrity which makes people want o align to oppress someone more wretched than themselves. And women are not quite free from this either. The times I have heard "they are loose" about young girls from older women. THye just perpetuate the patriarchy

shail said...

How it enrages me when I read of such incidents. And believe me, when sucg incidents are discussed men (and some women) will defend the hooligans!! This, Whatever - 'Sena' thinks nothing of attacking and outraging the modesty of women. And yet they have the gall to speak of culture and tradition!! Actually speaking, what's the difference between those who extol Manusmriti and the Taliban??!!!

Chikki said...

I wish our government had the balls to declare these organisations as 'terrorist organisation' and to ban their activities. And why not, aren't they creating terror in the minds of people too?

Let me remind you the meerut incident when such hooligans entered a park and started bullying couples, and who were the hooligans? Our police force. What a national shame. Such cases should be taken up by world media, only then will the government wake up to save its face.

Sometimes, you just want to give up all your hopes on India.This is one such moment for me. I am not feeling patriotic on 26th Jan, but i cant help it now.

Indian Home Maker said...

This really made me feel hopeless (for once)....
These activities are CRIMINAL activities but are going unpunished because the criminals belong to some political organisation...

(feeling too dejected to even comment)

Solilo said...

How just the other day we were discussing about manusmriti on IHM's blog and now we see this.

Such fanatics openly roam around harassing women and nothing is done. No movement to ban such outfits, no feminist rallies, no women leaders voice their concern and take a right step to punish such goons.

How long are we going to tolerate such MCPs pretending as saviors of tradition and culture?

Surbhi said...

Tradition won't bite these people in their asses - they've got their heads stuffed in there.
And of course, they'll never teach 'decency' to men who pee and spit on roads (and most of the time spit on other men and women, knowingly or otherwise)!

Surbhi said...

You are so right! And after 48 hours, the government is still trying to decide whether to show their ugly face or let the incident die down like so many others.

Surbhi said...

How I identify with what you're feeling. For the first time since I remember, I did not watch the Republic Day parade. I don't feel patriotic, I feel ashamed.
And you can also add the many incidents when counterparts of these militants forced any girl and guy seen together to marry each other.

Surbhi said...

I understand! But its so damn frustrating that these criminals (like all others) are let off simply because they are politically connected. SO WHAT?

Surbhi said...

It makes me scream that being associated with a political party gives you a license to carry out whatever perversions and atrocities you want to. So why can't the Women's Cell bodies join political parties too? Oh, I forgot, Manusmriti doesn't mention Women's Cells.

Yaamyn said...

Tell me if I'm wrong, But I think the more peace loving of us can actually try DO SOMETHING about it than just express our outrage.

This is definitely not something NEW. It has happened before. Many times.

Yesterday, there was a protest call by Women's organizations in Bangalore.

I imagine they must have gathered at some point, made some noise, distributed pamphlets and dispersed.

I was thinking. Couldn't they call a mass protest, gherao the minister's offices and DEMAND that the said 'ram sene' to be Banned, and every last one of the culprits to be arrested, denied bail and prosecuted harshly.

You know, keep the pressure up and to make this an example for the next Hindutva mob who think they are God's law enforcement?

Surbhi said...

Hey, thanks so much for visiting m blog! I'm a regular at yours.
As much as I hate to say this, and wish it was not true, I believe our so-called Women's Cells are as corrupt and as money-minded as the next politician. I doubt they'll do anything for the section of society they represent, if there's nothing in it for them (monetarily).
What we can do is to exercise our rights as citizens of this nation and not let the BJP come to power anywhere (general elections are round the corner). I am no fan of Congress, which is evil without a doubt. But the BJP (and especially its associates) just terrify me.
The BJP and its various allies think their idea of 'Hindutva' and 'tradition' and 'culture' and all such crap is working (or will work), seeing as they are uneducated and unemployed and uncouth and no nothing about either of their so-called ideologies. A defeat will serve as the proverbial kick in the ass to them, enough to get their heads out of there and to see what's happening.
And in the meantime, I hope the media runs this story everyday. And we (citizens) should hold protest rallies at significant points in cities and towns all over India to demand a ban on these 'senas' by pressurising the government (State and Centre). Something on the lines of the rallies held after 26/11. And let's make it permissible to hurl abuses at these 'moral custodians' in these rallies. Let the anger we feel take us over. Like the legendary Bhagat Singh said, "Behron ko sunaane ke liye dhamake ki zarorat hoti hai." So let's do that dhamaka!

Tarun Goel said...

Came to see you after you exploded in IHM.
I couldn't read anything. The pic
you have put is breathtaking :(

Surbhi said...

Welcome to my blog. I truly appreciate your support.
About the explosion, I think it helps to be angry. We Indians (and I am no exception) are too laidback, I feel; our 'chalta hai' attitude is the easiest way to wriggle out of every problem that stares us in the face, plus it works all the time. The least we can do is at least raise a collective voice against all that is unfair or unjust to any section of humanity.