On January 25, 2009, nearly 40 men of the Hindu hardliner group Shri Ram Sena assaulted teenagers in Amnesia (a Mangalore Pub). They barged into the pub and chased and thrashed the people there. Eight girls were injured in this incident. The group claimed that the boys and girls there were dancing in an ‘obscene manner’.
Since then, newspapers have been filled with columns on this incident; politicians cannot stop condemning the act. But what has really been done by the centre or even the state government on the matter? The recent incident, just days after what happened at Mangalore, where the daughter of an MLA was abducted and thrashed on resisting, because she happened to be travelling with a Muslim boy, just about answers the above question. What is amusing and at the same time highly annoying, is the fact that these hooligans claim to be the guardians of Indian culture. The very claim of ‘moral policing’ by these people sounds preposterous.
Do these hoodlums even know the meaning of culture? Culture consists of dynamic and ever – evolving social practices and ideas. It is not bound by rigid and stagnant beliefs of a selected few. It evolves with time. Decades ago, Sati and dowry were the norm of Indian culture. But today, we are voicing opinions against them. Even if there is a section of society that does not identify with the so called ‘pub culture’, they are free not to be a part of it. But NO ONE has the right to go about thrashing young women because of their personal decision to socialize and impose their cultural ideas on them.
Are these men so insecure that the only way that they can find to express their opinions is by resorting to beating and thrashing women? Don’t they realize that through such acts of violence, they may succeed in scaring people away from pubs, but eventually they will return? They cannot stand outside these pubs forever. It is only if people are actually made to realize what is right and wrong that they will voluntarily say ‘no’.(Not that there is anything wrong with women going to pubs – it is an individual decision.)
If the activists of Shri Ram Sena had an issue with alcoholism and drinking, it would have been understandable. But why do they only have a problem with women drinking? Why is it always the women in our society who seem to be going out of hand or in our chief minister’s words, ‘adventurous’?
This act is a slap on the face of democracy. These people seem to be appalled by the presence and growth of pub culture in India. I am just curious as to whether they are perfectly at ease with female foeticide and child marriage? Is this what Indian culture is all about? Don’t women have a right to choose their romantic and sexual preferences – I think they do and it is nobody’s business to intervene.
Despite such deplorable conduct by a bunch of fanatics, it is encouraging to see the way the media and various social groups have protested against the attack and have helped in providing the apt channel for the outflow of the sentiments of the youth all over India.