Last evening while looking up my twitter feed, I came across a tweet that said, a one minor girl was molested by 20 people in Guwahati. Further, a link to the online portal of a prominent news paper, which allegedly contained a link to the actual video of the entire act was embedded in the tweet! What kind of people where those, who had the time to film the entire act, and then upload it on to YouTube but could not stop the obscenity?
All this happened on Tuesday night when the girl, a class XI student was returning from a nightclub after attending a birthday party. She was stopped by a few local goons who started groping her. Soon several people who were just bystanders joined in and in the end around 20 people took part in the moral policing of the girl! The police came after half an hour to rescue the girl ! A person who claims to be a reporter filmed the entire scene on his camera which for an ordinary mobile camera has exceptional clarity and lighting. He then proceeded to upload the clip on the popular video sharing site YouTube, where it immediately went viral and came to the notice of the national media!
During the height of the oppressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and even to this day in many pockets of that country and neighbouring Pakistan, women were not allowed to wear lipstick and the flick “Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame” focused on the resulting obsession six-year-old Afghan young girls had with red lipstick, drawing it when they could in an obscene way all over their faces, since it was banned from lives. When they got caught by a group of men with a lipstick, they were stoned (and I don’t mean they were smoking joints.)
In India, whether it’s the police (usually backed by the state government) or extreme rights groups (encouraged by the state government), and yes even some women’s and students’ groups – they want to interfere in the private lives of people. They are anti the so-called mall, park and pub “culture”, as if this is some sort of culture and not simply places where people go to relax and enjoy. They form mobs and attack and intimidate citizens enjoying themselves and relaxing on beaches, in parks and in pubs. They disrupt fashion shows and movies, and want dancing to be banned. And guess what, they read obscenity even into the most innocuous kisses, like that of Shabana Azmi’s kissing Nelson Mandela (2004) and Richard Gere kissing Shilpa Shetty (2007).
I do not advocate westernistion or what is popularly termed globalisation, yes I am one of those conservatives, who thinks India‘s generation next needs to retain its own traditions and culture. But what I do not understand is, which Indian tradition calls for the repression of women? What is modernsiation threatening? Isn’t Indian culture something ‘higher’ like art, literature, architecture, religion, mythology….? Pub culture does not affect that, does it?