Sunday, 29 July 2012

For The Love of The Freedom That Doesn't Exist


It was a regular evening. The roads were wet and slippery from the rain that had just stopped pouring. A slight drizzle that followed didn’t hamper the life here in Bangalore. Weekends are the time that people ‘live’ a life here. I was sitting by my window, replaying in my mind the course of my day. My car driving sessions, scaring away dogs, annoying my instructor with sudden brakes and unwanted clutch releases. My music player was all mushy – Paani Da Rang. The TV in my drawing room was blaring some cricket commentary, nothing unusual with a cricket obsessed teenage guy who wants to become a cricketer. My lil brother.

Sudden Entry: My dad.

His obsession: News channels. The channels that telecast ‘Breaking News’ every second of the day. A dog climbed onto the tree? BREAKING NEWS!!! Some forgotten politician had a baby? FLASH NEWS!!! The baby was from an extramaritial affair? A week worth of fodder.

And very obviously, I have always hated these news channels. The regional ones that never give a damn about actual news. The ones that make animated movies out of brutal murders and telecast them at prime time.

But last evening, the words that poured out of the reporter’s news caught my attention. Amidst the blaring music, I could hear the words – ‘young girls’ , ‘young boys’ , ‘Mangalore’ , ‘An organisation for the upholding of religion’ , ‘moral police’ , ‘thrash’, ‘raid’, ‘bash’, ‘wine’. And I went downstairs, to stare at the mighty hated regional news channel.

A few girls in western attire, spaghetti and tube tops, open hair, were being trashed by men. In Mangalore, a resort, Morning Mist Home Stay, was being raided by a group of men claimed to be ‘moral police’. The girls were being hit on the nose, dragged by hair and slapped.  Another girl tried shutting herself into a room and a ‘moral cop’ sensed it, pulled her away from there with one hand in her hair and other hand rudely gripping at her waist. As he pulled her away from that room, he ran his hand on her naked back. Tube tops are ‘very exposive’. One guy who was topless got dragged from upstairs (I presume from the room there). He was slapped while his hair was held in a tight fist. There was a commotion. The different news channels were competiting for better footage.  The girls left there hair open, tried covering their faces with all the hair, to protect themselves from the thrashing and the glare of media. They sat in close hunches and turned behind with scared eyes, to see what was happening. 



The men continued slanging. They called those girls names – bitches, whores, sluts, prostitutes. The guys weren’t spared too – sons of bitches, bastards, mother fuckers.

Groping in the name of 'protection'


I sat there on the stairs, dumbfounded. A million thoughts in my mind, yet a mind numbling sense of shock. Aghast, is what it is called.

This is not the first time such an event has happened in Mangalore. A couple of years ago, in 2009, a similar ‘raid’ took place in Amnesia, a pub, also located in Mangalore. The same story. Men thrashing women for being ‘skimpily clad’ and wearing ‘provocative’ dresses. In this incident at the resort, its been claimed that there were 9 guys and 5 girls. They were there to celebrate a birthday party. The ‘moral police’ claimed that there was a Rev Party – drinks, drugs and intoxication. After thorough searching until wee hours (the ‘raid’ happened at 7 PM), there were no drugs found. Beer bottles and food, that’s all. The authorities have supposedly arrested 14 of the ‘moral police’ and are investigating the issue.
3 months from now, this incident will be long forgotten. The next time something like this happens somewhere, it will be recalled. Just like the Amnesia pub incident got recalled.


This is our country, India. The birth place of the best of the kings and intellectuals. Chandragupta Vikramaaditya. Sir M Vishwaraiah. Rabindranath Tagore. Mahatma Gandhi. The man who wanted a country where a woman can walk around fearless at mid night. The country that gave the Arthashastra. The country where woman are considered as The Power.

|| Yatra Naaryasthu poojyanthe

Ramanethe thatra devathaha ||


Which means,”Where women are treated with dignity and Womanhood is worshipped, there Roam the GODS”

The irony.

The country where once women were given equal status in every walk of life. From yagnas to education.The country that got invaded by different cultures and yet preserves its ‘rich heritage’.

The country where once upon a time, women walked around naked, with no fear or no need to cover up their ‘modesties’. The men then, had the sensibilities not to treat women like sex toys.

We gave the world, The Kamasutra. The sculptures and the temple carvings here show the natural process of making love. Its not considered 'taboo' and hidden. You see, the more you hide, more the curiosity.





And today, here we are, after 64 years on Independence, thrashing women for wearing ‘provocative’ and ‘indecent’ dresses. We are asked to cover ourselves ‘up’ and ‘down’, just to make sure the super sensitive libidos of The Men do not get excited. We are asked to wear ‘covering’ dresses to keep ourselves ‘safe’. Even today, moms warn us about the limit of hem lines and the depth of front necks of our pretty dresses. Even in the company of ‘strong men’, women aren’t safe today.

Everytime we talk and rise a cry about the safety of women – the rapists, the molesters and the stalkers, we forget the moral police. The so called ‘protectors of religion and tradition’ that govern every walk of our life. Celebration of Valentine’s Day? Ban it. Why? It ain’t our culture. The celebration of love isn’t allowed in this country. The couples ‘displaying’ love get attacked, and are thrashed. They make the girls tie raakhis to their boyfreinds. And what does Raakhi stand for? The divine brother-sister relationship. Aren’t they corrupting it by forcefully making a girl tie a raakhi to her boyfriend? You can piss here in public, but can’t kiss. Ha!

The very basic question that has always been left unanswered – who in the world gave these people the right to do moral policing? Who are they to tell us what to do and what not to do? I know what this question will be answered with. The Religion says it.Yes. Utter the R word and it will silence everybody, for nobody should ever go against one’s religion. The religion says so, so do it. Really? Which religion has asked you to thrash unarmed women? Which religion asks you to attack women? If your religion is telling you that women are ‘weaker’ than men, then on what logic does it allow you to manhandle them?  

What gives you the right to decide what women should wear? The Indian Constitution declares every person above the age of 18 as an adult. The rule wasn’t made because 18 is a lucky number. It was made after much thoughts about the level of mental maturity and understanding. I don’t mean to say that every person 18 and older is capable of the perfect decisions. But every person has a right to freedom.As long as they are not violating any laws, they have all the rights to continue what ever the hell do are doing.

What we need is undiluted legal freedom. To do what we want in the limits of our honorable Constitution, to lead a care free life amidst the wicked men. A strong criminal code to punish the accused so extreme that before anybody else even gets a thought of repeating such incidents, should get a shiver through the spine. A movement where women unite for a single cause. Intensive slut walks on every day basis. Wait, that might actually not lower the libidos.

The Guwahati incident, the incidents in Mangalore, the eve-teasing that happens on daily basis, that stalker who follows your scooty everywhere, the bunch of guys that whistle on your way home, the need of guy friends when going through ‘risky’ places, that need to be ‘dropped home’ after a late night party. Oh wait. Late night parties can’t be held. Atleast here. You see, they consider it a Rev Party and raid it.

We get shell shocked and update rant-y Facebook statuses. The organisations and NGOs for women’s rights shriek a cry and swear justice to the victim. Then we stereotype all men as bastards and call them ‘stone hearted’. We forget the percentage of good hearted, decent men that actually protect a damsel from distress.

Newspapers conduct polls and ask for readers’ opnions. Frustrated citizens write long letters asking for beheading of the offenders. And then, after 3 months, we forget it all.

This very post will be forgotten. In the Archives of time, it will be gone. And when some other day some shit like this happens, I’ll type down another post, link back to this and hope, all over again.

PS: I have taken the pictures from firstpost.com. They don't belong to me. If you feel this is right, please share it. I have never asked you guys to promote any of my posts, but this post needs it. Thank you. 

---Namita


37 comments:

  1. We Indians are cultural bastards...we neither follows ours nor the western,time to time we have forgotten the good teaches and moved on to those self motivated and unrealistic teachings which people claim religion, India had no religion 'hinduthva' is a religion its a sophisticated way of leading a life in peace harmony and co-existence.

    As you said we once had the richness beyond gold silver and stones.... we had intellectual superiority,We were the first to worship and follow woman deity.

    Respecting a person only when they obey your views and follow them is not called respect..

    IF they want to question the dignity and purity of a women,let them start with their mother....

    Claiming that "dresses are provocative",well can they assure that women in saree/burka will not be raped or be a victim of mental and sexual abuse..??

    I studied in a small school where girls and boys where never treated differently....we sat together played together and learnt together...
    one the first day on my college is see that boys and girls are made to site on 2 opposite side..
    lucky enough i had my schooling done well...

    If you separate them when their minds are growing, how will they understand eachother? how can they ever treat them good?.

    the list of things grows on....the blame game continues...but problem stays unsolved...

    SO WHAT IS THE SOLUTION???
    US!! we neeed to provide the next genrating what ours lacked.... they learn from us... show them to respect everyone rich,poor, men,women, old,young...do not preach them....follows those ideology and let them see you and adapt it....

    Respect individuals for what they are...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so very much for the solution. I honestly couldn't think of any when I penned this down. A good awareness and probably the next generation will think straight. Thanks again, that was a very powerful comment :)

      Delete
  2. well written ..Hats off dear.. i was thought of stabbing those idiots when i saw that in the news.. Hindu gods never told us not to celebrate nor to fight.. but these middlemen idiots are taking advantage of it..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Divine Blush. Absolutely, no god/relegion has asked anybody to do this.

      Delete
  3. when I read such news and compare it with people around me who are so safe wearing whatever they want, it provides such a contrasting world...we are existing n two different planes...one where everything is so secure around us and one where everything done by others is termed wrong!!! no one gave anyone the right of moralizing but some people take it as their duty and that's where the danger comes from...isn't it wrong to slap or drag a woman even if she is a prostitute. who knows what made her that??? I'm pretty sure that life isn't so luxurious that people go into it willingly. then answer to everything boils down to one word - SOCIETY. if it allows, everything is good. if it doesn't, everything is bad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Swati, this is a new view point to me, absolutely right you are! The elements of good and bad are so easily changed according to individual beliefs, which end up in a confused and misguided society. Thank you very much for the valuable feedback :)

      Delete
  4. i loved ur article....so much...I read each word...

    its very difficult to change these people and their minds. I think they are themselves....corrupted souls...thats why they think all others are same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Smita, yes, it indeed is. Mindless morons.

      Delete
  5. This is a very powerful article Namita! I'm terribly shocked by what happened. This kind of stuff happens around here ( Belgium) too you know. Only this week a newschannel aired a documentary about sexism in Brussels. It was just a lady walking down the street wearing a dress and she got called all sorts of nasty names. The worst thing was that it was a documentary of more than an hour and everything was recorded in 1 afternoon! It's just horrid and something must be done, not only in Belgium or in India, but everywhere. I think the cause of all this trouble is inadequate education about sex and the fear of female sexuality and power. Some men just don't want to see a women in charge of her life, and that's just plain sad. I think you make a good point about not all men being like that, it's something that shouldn't be forgotten.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG REALLY??!! I always thought such things happen the most in developing countries with rigid mindsets! That is a real shocker now! The mindsets of men have been built in such a strong filthy way, I actually blame the parents.

      IKR?! Not all men are bastards. There are good ones around.

      Hope.

      Delete
  6. We r always cursing the govt./society/or sm1 else...posting a FB status and getting some likes, when such incidents happen, but then again we don't think twice to bitch about how one girl is skimpily dressed/made up at so n so place...it's time we understand that it's not upon others to change the society but it's upon us to change our thinking, our behaviour, for the betterment of ourselves and the society as a whole and not let it go as just one more incident. It isn't exactly difficult and like Charity, it also begins at home. I am not saying that one should start wearing short skirts for it, but revolt if some1 makes it sound something *dirty*!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. P.S. Loved ur thoughts and how u have presented it here Namita.

      Delete
    2. EXACTLY! Unless and until we change, and force the good change on others, nothing will turn for better. The thinking, the making of the mindsets should be clean, to avoid the *dirty*. Young minds need to be tutored in the right way.

      Thank you Pooja :)

      Delete
  7. ur words touched my heart. dont how shud i express my feelings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am a glad it stroke a chord with you Vanu. All I hope is for a lil change, which will eventually lead to a better world.

      Delete
  8. omg! This is so bad.. who are these moral police and whats happening!!!!!! I feel really hurt reading this and too shocked for words.

    from Sri Lanka

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These moral police are self aclaimed intellectuals who think they fuckin' own the world. There is no body to ask them to shut up, you see the R word gets placed and people get emotional. Sad state of affairs. Trust me, this is one of the many events that go forgotten. And there are millions that don't even get noticed.

      Delete
  9. You've written a very touching article Namita...

    ReplyDelete
  10. I guess no one has the right to decide , what we all do in our lives !! Everyone are mature enough to understand whats good for them , and what not...
    Sadly, men think they have power over everything in this world, Horrible !! They forget these girls are also women like their mums anfd sis.. do they dare do this to their moms and sisters ?? I bet not !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I second that! If only their mothers/daughters/sisters are involved, it becomes a 'crime'. The twisted midsets deserve a shot in a wrong place to be corrected.

      Delete
  11. what a beautiful and sensible post. Too bad we cant say the same about some of the people in our country. WE live in a country that is shrouded in mysticism and divinity but sadly the divinity extends only to the gods and not to its people. This country is on the path to degradation :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh well it has got to be brought back to correctness right? Trust me, all we need is a revolution. A strong one to shake such mongrels. Thank you Sudhaa :)

      Delete
  12. very well written namita..i do agree with u..

    ReplyDelete
  13. I was flipping the channels the other night when I came across this bit of news from Mangalore. Since then, I had been thinking to write a post on this when I came across your post. You have mentioned the exact points which I had in mind to write.

    We don’t know what our culture is, neither do we have any idea about our religions. But we seem to have mixed them up. And amazingly, the cultural level is measured in how the girls dress themselves. It doesn’t apply to boys. It is alright to be forced to marry a stranger. But it is sacrilege to be just friends with someone from the opposite sex. You were absolutely right about “the more you hide, more the curiosity”, but I guess we’ve long passed the stage of undoing that fairly quickly. Thanks to the religious middle-men who have exerted their influence for a bit too long and too much.

    And you were right on about the ‘Rakhi’ thing. It is preposterous. We have so completely opposite senses of behavior. I mean, we as a society don’t care about pissing in public, but just cannot tolerate kissing in public !

    I say, even if they were doing drugs in that party (which they weren’t actually) it should be the duty of the police to interrogate and if found true, to take action. But no one has the right to take the law in their hands in the name of moral policing. And how do those goons display their manliness ?? By slapping, beating and molesting girls !!!

    The real reason behind this incident, the one in Guwahati and the one in the Mangalore pub is not about morality, dresses or culture.

    These guys, who perpetrate these crimes, are those who have grown up watching women being ill-treated everywhere around them. Even in their homes. They were never taught how to interact with females. They grew up in frustration watching boys and girls from backgrounds of better sensibilities interacting in a way they couldn’t. Since they never knew how to even talk to a girl, they take out their frustration by touching, molesting, beating and slapping girls at the slightest of opportunity. And yes, they have the excuse of morality, culture and religion which no one can object on.

    I’m absolutely certain these creatures have no existence as an individual. They hunt in groups. Always. And they put on an added shield of a religious name to their group.

    These creatures are the uncivilized anti-social elements which should be singled out and discarded from any civilized society.

    Do read my post on something similar.

    http://mindzpeak.blogspot.com/2012/07/evolution-of-gender-discrimination.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thatz a wonderful opinion Shobit, thank you very much. I absolutely agree with you. The environment one grows up in impacts one's life tremendously. Even today, domestic violence is not a huge deals. The drunk husbands, the arrogant ones trash their wives black and blue and after they go tired, these poor wives untie their shoes and take them to bed. Elders ask couples to settle such disputes among themselves. The hapless wives end up undergoing the torture as a daily phenomenon. Obviously, this affects the kids who assume that it is the way world runs. They grow up, and the vicious cycle continues.

      Education and awareness, plus a stringent criminal code for such goons is the hope.

      Sure, I'll read the article :)

      Delete
  14. OMG.. this is really terrifying! Who are these moral police?? The government authorised team? Even if so, they have no rights to threat those girls in such way! Shame on them! Pity those girls :(
    This post is really powerful and well written! Bravo babe!

    XOXO!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Government authorised? May be! Money, power and fear makes one spineless. Its a casual phenomenon here.
      Thank you Fida :)

      Delete
  15. Loved how you put your thoughts into words. We all live in a society where we are taught "It's better to be careful (Dress properly), than regret later". I don't think we can bring in a change overnight and the real teaching of respecting a woman should start from one's home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perfecto Opal! Like pooja said, Charity begins at home! Lets hope the coming generations behave sane. Disgust is the word my friend.

      Delete
  16. Ya I saw that too..they even took their gold chains and wallets..total worth Rs. 2 lakhs..its really bad..and is it more so prominent in India ? If yes, then why so..at one hand we talk all about how westernised we are and how secular we are n all..and on the other hand..still the same shit going on.. ! Dunno when would all this come to an end..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh ya? I don't know about that Bhumika! All I hear in current news is that the accused are being arrested and investigation is going on. Hypocritical jerks I tell you. The course of the beliefs get changed with the situations and the people involved. With no set of guiding principles, such disgraceful incidents are bound to happen.

      Delete
  17. The last time I told someone that I am ashamed to be an Indian, they got angry with me. I don't think being an indian is something to be proud about. Take a minute and hang your heads in shame for being born in this country.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I wouldn't actually get too harsh sweetie, I understand the frustration (obviously being a very part of it), but every thing has two sides, the good and the bad. May be we should try our bests to create awareness and reduce such shameful acts. I know its real upsetting and demoralizing, but the best we can do is to atleast find a practical solution :)

      Delete
  18. a very well written post . . .
    moral police eh ??? whats immoral in hanging around with friends, drinking, having nightout or infact, even having sex !!!! what part of constitution makes them illegal !!! i wish these girls were not blinded with embarrassment, and had the courage to challenge this in human rights court. But sadly there is too much hypocrite morality in our society and these girls would be abashed by the family, and they'll have to keep quiet, through this and other such many acts throughout their life that mock their fundamental rights !!! this is morality in our culture isnt it !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They wouldn't have dared to talk back Doc, brutal mongrels those men were. And the guys covering the shoot didn't feel the need to protect the youngsters, hurts. Like Jayanth said, we are cultural bastards.
      Thank you.

      Delete

Leave comments, let me know you were here :)
PS: Please refrain from leaving links behind, I shall click on your user name when I want to visit your site :)