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Sunday, February 1, 2009

What Exactly Is Indian Morality? Do we really need moral policing?

Since the terror attacks happened in Mumbai in November last year, there has been a lot of hue and cry and mass hysteria of different shades in the political circles of India.

It all started with politicians of all parties trying to score a brownie point with the voters in their respective constituencies making the appropriate (and some not so appropriate) noises. But slowly and surely the focus of the political parties has shifted from the "patriotic" fervor to more local agendas. Of course, the elections are near and so the race to keep their seats and or make new alliances have grabbed the attention of all the politicians.

The last few months saw some great big "issues" breaking out on the news channels, with equally scandalous value. Staring with the corporate IT company Satyam fraud coming to light and the possibility of political parties having a hand in it, followed by other issues like the Mangalore incident where some women were molested by "self proclaimed" keepers of Indian morality - The Sri Ram Sena. In the meantime, the MNS workers also continued with their hooliganism in Mumbai by attacking a five star hotel and damaging their property, and the Rajasthan chief minister Mr. Gehlot making bold statements about "pub culture" and "mall culture" which according to him is not Indian culture.

The news channels somehow managed to get an interview with the president of the Sri Ram Sena Mr. Muthalik who at first denied all involvement of his men in the incident and then just minutes later said that it was an action taken to teach the women a lesson? Later on the news channels even managed to bring out an old tape of his speech that he apparently gave soon after the Malegaon blasts in which he is seen to be praising Sadhvi Pragya, the other accused in the crime. SHOCKING! Now politicians are openly giving speeches about what they have done or make bold statements that are detrimental to the interest of the country and even getting away with it. Is this what "democracy"is all about?

Now, seeing all these developments is a big disappointment and also is scary to the future of India. Do we really need moral policing in India? Who are these self proclaimed groups to decide what constitutes Indian culture and what doesn't? Their main contention is that women are visiting pubs in the company of male friends and taking liquor and drugs, and roaming around in malls holding hands! I mean, hey, wake up guys which era do you live in? Women have come a long way in India through a long struggle to achieve the kind of independence that they now enjoy. So, is this just a way of trying to suppress the women and pushing them right back to their homes all over again?

What exactly is Indian culture? Nobody objected to these pubs or liquor shops as long as men were their only patrons, and it is these very men who were creating and being a nuisance to the society and a threat to their women. Is it OK for the men to ill treat their women, rape, molest and abuse them as they wish? If you see the Bollywood movies of the last decade or so, the roles of the women have been deteriorated to just "ïtem girls" with them having to wear revealing clothes and dance to tunes of "item songs"that are nothing but modernized version of the earlier "cabarets". Is this Indian Culture?

Nowadays, all the women who aspire to enter the film industry have to first become "item girls". Hey, who wants to see them "acting"? It is the men who are at present dominating the Indian film industry, not that they are all very good "actors" themselves. The politicians are going overboard with everything this year and breaking all boundaries of what is acceptable.

Today I saw an advertisement in the newspaper by the ruling Congress party which urges everyone to join hands to stop child labor in India, specially in Dhabas and other such places where they are employed. Now, I am not advocating that it is OK for a child to work. No, ideally, NO child should be in such a situation where he/she is forced to work and lose out on their childhood. But, is it fair to stop those very poor children from working who REALLY need the money to sustain themselves and their families? Not that they are earning enough. But, every penny counts. What is the government doing to make sure that every child is fed and clothed and educated properly? On the other hand, the kids (rich background or middle class) are allowed to work in TV, Films, advertisemsnts and earn much more than these other poor children who are probably being exploited. If there is a law that stops kids from working, then stop ALL the kids, rich or poor!

India cannot progress with such moral policing going on. Women need to be encouraged to stand on their own feet and not suppressed again. Instead the government should ban all these (Saas Bahu) soap operas that are being shown on TV on all channels that are deteriorating to women and their status.

I am afraid that the politicians are trying to get the "Taliban" regime into India in the pretext of religion, Hindu and Muslim! It is shocking and NOT ACCEPTABLE to the women of India. Women of India need to unite and raise their voice against this injustice and not let the politicians get an upper hand....


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