Moral Policing in India – a Reflection

Hey, you know! … Soli Didi and Bandhan Jiju had come today to our hostel!

Wow!! Really! how sweet :).you know.., four years back on this day, Bandhan Jiju had proposed Soli Didi in front of our hostel gate.

Really! so romantic..

Quite interesting! These were some of the conversations between two valentine day girls which I overheard on my way from the department to my hostel in the tum-tum.While the tum-tum had reached our hostel, both the girls were busy calling their valentines, and I was on my way to my room. I was just wondering and thinking about the scene of Bandhan Jiju proposing Soli Didi in the broad day light in front of the hostel gate. Thank God!, it was four years back, the moral policing team was not that active. Had it been the case today, he would not have dared to propose in front of the hostel gate.

Last month, I was on a two days trip to Khopoli and some near by places with my family and friends. On the night when I reached Khopoli, I came across with the Mangalore pub beating story on TV. I could not believe my own eyes, where are we? and in which century? How can people beat young girls in the name of moral policing? Living in a liberal or in a Taliban world? When Taliban was doing such kind of moral policing in Pakistan and Afghanistan, we the people in India had raised our voice and named those incidents as barbaric, violation of human rights, hooliganism…; then, what happens today in the form of Mangalore attack? Not that people did not protest such kind of hooliganism, but looks like the level of protest is confined to media only! Is media the only rescuer in such kind of incidents? Are the common people merely mute spectators?

Immediately after that incident, Chief minister of Karnataka had made statements that their government will take strong measures against such kind of incidents. BJP president had to rush to Bangalore too and it became a war between the political parties in the Media glare. Political rivalries were important to the so called law keepers of our society. The event was used by the parties to get their own equations straight. Quite interestingly, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan also joined in the fray, making statements that he too will not allow pub culture in his state. Even the Union Health Minister wants that. Yes, stop that pub culture. But, start from your family and let the ministers and the high ranking officers stop going to the pubs. The pubs are not that accessible to the middle class people, forget about the lower strata. They can’t even afford to avail this. In cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore most of pubs are status symbols. People of high class, rich back ground (only) come for fun. Liquor and other kind of drugs are very common among the pub goers. Most of the black money business and underworld dealings happen through these pubs. Do these so called politicians and law keepers dare to stop these high-end pubs? No. This is because, they are mostly into it. Then the question arises: what is wrong with the common man going to a pub? and why do you police them?

If you analyze closely then you can see that neither pub culture nor moral policing are the root causes of these incidents. These are just the side effects of the disturbed family life of modern India. When the young force does not get the culture and family value at the family level, then these kind of incidents are bound to happen. When both the parents are busy in money making and parties, how do they expect their children to learn social life and their cultures? The joint family system has gone and so is the family bonding. Parents do not have time for their kids and mostly think of giving pocket money instead of quality time, and the kids have enough pocket money to get into such kind of activities. In most of the cases the differences in the family life and the disturbances in every day life results in further disturbances in social relations.

In India, male members of the families used to be the only bread earners. Time has changed and so has the equation. Female members are earning and some times even more than their male counter parts. Instead of staying back at home all the time, they (female members) too have started moving and enjoying in the new world. Young girls instead of spending time in house-hold work are spending time in other activities, at par with young boys, be in study or sports or entertainment. This is good and is a positive move of the society. Over and above, every one thinks that (s)he is free and independent. Yes, every one is independent, but that independence too has some responsibilities. Responsibility to behave and to act cautiously. You earn, that does not mean you will involve yourselves in un-lawful activities. True education, family cultures and the social get together are required to shape the youth (either sex), not the way it is happening now.

In the fast changing world, we too have to cope up with our needs. Educational institutions need to teach moral value and the basic sex education (it is still a big debate in India). The curriculum have to be changed as per need, not as per the political compulsions. Let the young boys and girls enjoy and live as per their interest. Don’t force them, rather help them to choose their way of life. Help them to opt for a healthy life with moral values and culture. This requires basic restructuring of the family life and the education system. In most of the colleges in South India, boys even can’t talk to girls during college time. If the moral police of the college finds students of other sex talking to each other, they are heavily punished and some times debarred from the college. Some time back VC of a reputed university (Anna University) of Chennai had made an order which stopped young girls wearing jeans and T-Shirts saying that it distracts studies. Will Chudidars help in bringing concentration in studies? I doubt. Enforcing dress code is not the solution, rather a problem. Let the young mass learn what to wear and what not! Yes, I agree that minis and micros should not be allowed in educational institutes. Then so is the Nikkars and Burmundas 🙂 Those too distract 🙂 …

Saying that most of the problem can be sorted out at the family level, I do not discount the society. We are social beings and we should abide to the social practices. If some thing goes wrong (which is very subjective), then that can be rectified in Gandhigiri manner, not through moral policing. The society has right to object, but not through vandalism and hooliganism. There is a system (judiciary and police department) in place and let that takes care of the law-and-order and the obscenity, if any. It is true that Police department does not do any such moral policing in general (in certain cases, yes, they do moral policing and is a subject of discussion), but then the law in India is enough to stop some one doing obscenity in public. Let the system in place takes care in a law-full manner, not the way Sainiks and Senas act. Who gave them the power and right to stop the people and create problem in the society? Look at this video which a citizen journalist has recorded when the so called messiah of the local people had stopped and threatened some of cyclists in Bangalore. Do these people understand any thing? I doubt! It’s not the only incident. South Indian actress Khusboo and Tennis Star Sania Mirza too were attacked in public (and even cases were registered against them in courts), just because they spoke about safe sex. Not only the political parties and some so called moral police of the society made this an issue, but also they resorted to violence until the Court intervened. Even the health minister succumbed to political compulsions.

Moral policing at present in India is unbearable. Every one thinks, that he/she is the guardian of the society and has the right to humiliate people in public in the name of moral policing. In the recent past, there were reports of a young girl who committed suicide in Mangalore because of the Moral Policing. In cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Mangalore, Bangalore, Jaipur, Kolkata, either the Senas or the Sainiks have been terrorizing the youth in the name of moral policing. If they see a young boy and girl together in a mall, or in a college, they simply beat them and humiliate them in public, and most of the times even without knowing their relationship. The moral policing has gone so far, even young siblings can’t roam and go together; they beat brothers and sisters too. On days like Valentine’s day, New Year’s day, X-MAS, Diwali or Holi one even can’t think of going out with his sister or fiancée or even with his wife, forget about spending some time in a park or beach. Reason, moral policing in place. What they say… stop celebrating Valentine’s day in India. Why? It is not Indian culture? Which Indian culture are they talking about? Wife-beating, raping in public places, killing female fetus in womb, rash driving in the late night killing common man, or beating mercilessly people of other state in the name of desivad? Is that Indian culture? If they are really concerned about India and its future, let them do some thing against poverty and corruption. Farmers in Vidarbh, Kalahandi, Baster, Chhatarpur, Murshidabad, Baran and Tea estates of Assam need their support, not the young mass at Mumbai or Kolkata.

Saying all these things and opposing the acts of moral policing, I do not support vulgarism or indecent behavior at the public places in the name freedom or independence. But, let the system in place (law) acts, not the moral police. Let us act in a different way and start rebuilding the society from family levels — no structure is strong without a strong foundation.

Aamjunta be watchful against moral policing. Your and your family’s life might be in danger….

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24 Responses

  1. Nice article Dada. The last point you raised is very important. These people need to do some work where it is really required. But they will not as that needs commitment and will not have any media coverage. Also, the media is to be blamed for repeatedly showing videos of such incidents that make common man fear about it.

    Sandeep

  2. Excellent article 🙂

  3. Excellent one. I agree with you that our police dept should act and take the law-and-order in its own hand. But, does that happen always? They are some times the official hooligans and uniformed gundas. Hardly they act on public apathy!

    If you look at the system very closely, then some time you will wonder, how come the elected govt does not react/act to such kind of vandalisms? Not that they do not want to act/react!, they ignore… result: division in the vote bank of the parties, which is a positive sign for their party.

    Thanks.

  4. A very rigorous article…. I don’t know why every society thinks of taking its revenge on women? Love doesn’t need and cannot be forced by any moral police of the world….

    Lust and love are two different things — I hope the younger generation too understands that. Too much of PDE is indecent but beating, threatening, hooliganism in the so called “moral police” how far is that decent? I personally know girls who have been pursued by some crazy “lovers” from these very moral-police forces and their lives became a hell.

    Btw, I like that Soli didi-Bandhan jiju story…very cute! 🙂

  5. Hi Dada,

    For long had been pushing this very deed of writing comments for long, but this article was simply irresistible.

    Mostly the SRS, MNS, SS , BD, VHP are the prime culprits. But it also comes to a fact that the people who indulge in moral policing are also youths, who have been propagandized towards an incorrect set of wat you can call social ethics. I have been in M’bai since childhood, these youths of today start of their so called Dharma-Rakshan and then turn out to be Corporators, MLA’s of tomorrow. It just bogs down to this analogy that by being a part of some political outfit youths want to earn respect /adulation /achievement in their respective dal’s.

    This article just flashed back the old memories when I was in 2nd Yr Engg, returning from our Dept-Tech-Symposium which happened to end a couple days before Feb-14. We were a big gang (25-30 odd) with 8-10 girls dressed decently (Salwars, Jeans, Trousers: as it was the las day demanding a formal attire). It was fairly late 10pm when we got into a CST bound local from Belapur. At Vashi there was a union of 10 guys middle aged (25-35) who got into the train, think they were SS guys, not for sure but started rebuking – remarking at the girls and then started shouting for the culture degradation etc, matters got worse when they manhandled one of my friend who was happily joking -laughing with a junior. They simply thought that there were just 10-12 ppl with 8 being girls and could easily take the guys to ransom. That was when our whole crowd came along and they were aghast at our sheer numbers with other college guys also coming to the party. That was when a friend of mine called his uncle in Sataara, and he asked one of the guys to speak to his uncle. Last I recall is that the entire gang folded their hands and were asking us to forgive them for what they did.

    That’s where I come to: If the youths who were bet had some political hand , SRS might have not laid their hands on them.

    The only way to stop moral policing is by bringing these rascals to brook. This can only happen if we as AAM-JUNTA put our hands in hands against moral-policing as we did for the Jessica Lal case.

  6. Dada,

    Great Blog. Rightly said.

    Only when the parents fail to control the activities of their ward, these moral police take over. The fundamental cause lies in the progressive failure of family system in India. Most children rarely listen to parents on any moral grounds. Parents have brought up children like this, part of the blame to be taken by them as well.

    Such activities are the curtain raisers of more dangers ahead.

  7. Shanmuga, I can agree with you on the upbringing part and also on the failure of the family system to some extent.
    But those are just not the reasons for a moral policy makers to take over. These acts can be justified to an extent if their true intent was to preserve the culture. What do you say of MNS, ShivSena who themselves had destroyed the Shivaji museum in Poona 4-5 years back. So these guys are with a dirty political intent, what happened when Raj Thakeray split from SS, began his MNS, that year he said he supports the Valentine cause etec etc… why was that, because he was no more a part of SS and was giving it back to SS.
    I would want to know, if these guys (Politicians) can go to pubs and can have call-girls but this not coming to the notice of the public eye. why I as a common man, say an Indian citizen not go to pubs and hang out with my friends…

    This is the same as the Gov comes out with all these pro grammes for People to quit smoking and ban on smoking in public places, but would not even dare to order a ban on Manufacturing of cigarettes.

  8. Lets not forget the influence we are under, by the western media!! 13 year olds are fathering kids there , and all the government can do there is to make a hue and cry about it. But they are kids and parents need to take care of kids, but the goondas of today think they can control and knock sence into adults, Do they really think that the urban and for that matter the sub urban india are a bunch of brainless individuals who cannot think for themselves. I can understand where a society was illiterate, but that society too had its own value sets and the quintessential”izzat ka sawal” still daunts many in the current society whether illiterate or literate. Therein being enough reason to think a million times before taking steps in any direction. So i really dont understand the logic behind a talibanisation within India. The malegaon blast individuals were in favour of a talibanised state, but as is still fresh in my mind from the partition, is the fact that it is the vested interests of a few that leads to the flow of innocent blood.
    It remains to be seen whether we fall for the trick again. The elections are near and the choice is ours to make.

  9. I completely agree with you Hari. These politicians themselves do not follow the rules they impose on others. Similar scenario applies to Dravidian parties in tamilnadu. Karunanidhi names his son as Stalin but asks people to use pure tamil names for children. Their acts against Hindi is simply sick. The way they now handle LTTE issue is another example. These politicians just use such sensitive issues to gain publicity. Hope aam junta realise the true color of such politicians.

  10. I agree mostly with Hariharan and Shanmuga.
    @eddieskitchen: Do you believe the coming election will solve the moral policing problem? I doubt.

    Moral policing is not the handy-work of SS, SRS, MNS, BD..only. The congress and the NCP (and the other parties too) too are part of it. In fact they are doing the most heinous crime as their govt in Maharastra did not act on MNS and SS on moral policing and other gundagardis. Do they have any answer to that? All are corrupted, irrespective of the parties 😦 The politicians are very clever, they just change their party when they don’t get ticket from their old party. See, how Kalyan Singh/Bangarappa/Natwar Singh/Bhujabal/Rane… did in the past! Fooling people in the name of secularism (pseudo) and garibi hatao… yes, they do garibi hatao.. but in their homes 🙂

    And terrorism: Still could not understand how come the Malegaon blast become Hindu Terrorism, and the Mumbai blast does not have any religion… They just add religion to any thing they want, just to get votes. Pathetic people.

    There is a complete change required, not any ad-hoc changes…

    Good work aamjunta. keep writing.

  11. Thanks Sandeep, Parsuram, Hari, Shanmuga, Eddy, Anne, Anny, youngindian and all the readers for sharing your thoughts.

    It is just the start of a big fight against moral policing and hooliganism in India.

    I hope some thing positive will come out in the future and moral policing will be policed. That requires aamjunta’s pressure on the govt and resistance to such kind of dadagiri. We have to remember that the show must go on irrespective of hindrances and fights. Thanks again.

  12. Good Article. Just think – if you want to be known nationally, take an unjust cause. Society will start debate, politicians shall look out for you & you have a brand new career:)

  13. Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

    ______________________________

  14. Thanks Anaggh and Mike. I feel creating awareness among the mass and making the mass more accountable is more important at this moment. We need a thorough change in our political system. Some stop gap arrangements can’t solve the problems. Lets see, what the next election brings for us.

  15. hello dada,

    Excellent article
    you have assign most of many individual cerebration. You have rightly said that most of the problem can be sorted out at the family level, I do not discount the society. We are social beings and we should abide to the social practices. If some thing goes wrong then that can be rectified in Gandhigiri manner, not through moral policing. The society has right to object, but not through vandalism and hooliganism.
    i throughly agree with you that no structure is strong without a strong foundation,let us start rebuilding the society from FAMILYLEVEL,to add Value to build better society, problemfree so( minus)
    moral police society.

  16. nice articles and interesting discussions 🙂 , but who cares? does the govt cares to these articles? lo, another dress code in UP 😦

    http://getahead.rediff.com/slide-show/2009/jun/24/slide-show-1-college-girls-in-kanpur-react-against-jeans-ban.htm

    Poor Gals 😦

  17. Thanks for sharing ideas and writing this article. Looking forward to more of your stuff. Hopefully you continually update your homepage often since you have found a loyal visitor .

  18. Shame! Shame! How does Sri Ram Sena chief justify and does not react to the porn-gate minister scandals?

    We will react and if get a chance, will punish them in Iranian style (they were watching Iranian porn as one of them said).

    aam junta and readers – what are your views?

  19. Thought provoking article indeed. Thanks. Through this article I would like to ask the readers and the political outfits like MNS, Ram Sena, VHP and Bajrang Dal the following few questions. Hope they read my points and act accordingly.

    Why do they have double standard — the common man and the politicians? They should punish the porn-gate ministers and MLAs of the state in public. But that does not happen. They are SILENT.

    Most of the ministers and MLAs of Karnataka BJP have more than 1 wife (most of them have mistress…). What action has been taken so far?

    How do they allow selling of liquor in public and how do they justify their TAMASHA with drinks?

    How do they justify the action of BSY in scams?

    They should clean their homes and hands first, before even thinking of doing any thing else.

  20. You said it- “In most of the cases the differences in the family life and the disturbances in every day life results in further disturbances in social relations.” This is why & where people must develop a responsible & cautious stand. But most importantly, the society needs to be empathetic towards such affected people..help them. Do undue moral-policing & the very society goes a few steps back !

  21. Thanks Ryka. Yes, you are right.. everything starts from family and we all need be responsible for our activities. No need of moral policing then..

  22. A different context… but I just need to say this- some heavy dose of moral policing is required for people like Suraj Singh Thakur and Shafiqur Rahman Burq !!!

  23. 🙂 So what happened to Bandhan jiju?

    Excellent article.

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