And this is how we spent Republic Day

I face a lot of flak when I say I don’t like Mumbai. Well, thats not entirely true. I like Bombay. I like visiting and partying there. But I prefer my life and the luxuries of Delhi. Which is fair enough. Some of us prefer living in the hills. Some of us want to move to the US and others want to chill out on the beaches of Goa. But this is not about me – it’s about this post I bumped into.

A blogger writes about wanting to reclaim Bombay and everything that it stands for. Read it here. I so loved what she said. And it spoke to me. I loved Bombay when I lived there almost 10 years ago. But over the years the Shiv Sena and the anti-rest of the country movement it spearheads, put me off. I like living in Delhi because no one can throw me out. And because no one wants to erase years of history and insist on it being called Dilli – yet.

So read this post, and bring back Bombay. Please.

While talking about those self appointed guardians of Indian culture who want to erase the foreign name (I wonder if they came wearing dhotis and kurtas) – we’d like Karnataka back too, please. After the churches being attacked and burnt, it’s now secular places too.

A pub in Mangalore is attacked and the women are physically pushed out, because they were  – and here I quote the Ram Sena activists – “involving themselves in immoral activities, including consuming alcohol, dressing indecently, and mixing with youths of other faith”. Yes, you got that right – it wasn’t raided by the police for illegal activities. It was raided by self appointed moral police for perfectly legal activities that they deemed immoral.

Whew. What does one say to such people? Or of such people? It’s a sad day when you can’t sit down for a drink because you’re a woman and the men with you are not from other ‘faiths.’ I don’t know where to begin objecting. Would be it okay if it were men mixing with men of other faith and having a friendly drink? Is it just women who are not allowed to mix with people of other faith? Would it be okay to mix with men of other faith if there is no alcohol involved? In that case, are they saying women shouldn’t be drinking? Is it the clothing they objected to? In that case would it be okay if instead of jeans the women came to the bar in sarees? Were the Ram Sena activists dressed in dhoti kurtas? Am I asking silly questions?

Do forgive me. The mind boggles – women can’t have a drink at a pub because some hitherto unknown group called the Ram Sena says so? Who died and made them moral police?  The more we try to progress, the more chances there are of some rabid dogs hanging on to our hems and pulling us down, nipping at our ankles.

The thing is, we can ignore them, like we do the Shiv Sena. Call them a regressive bunch of hooligans who are doing this to get the national spotlight. Or we can ask why the government is doing nothing about it. Why they aren’t being locked up for disturbing the law and order at a place that is licenced to sell liquor (I hope!) to adults who have every right to sit there and pay for their liquor and enjoy it over some good conversation? Why are they being allowed to roam around scot free and give pompous, self righteous interviews on national television? Ram Sena founder P Muthalik said that his men were protecting people against immoral activities – of course. Because as adults we don’t know what is best for us, but some louts who barge into pubs and pull women by the hair, call them prostitutes and throw them out of the pub know better?

When will we tell the moral police that you cannot go around breaking shops on Valentine’s day, telling actresses what length their skirts should be, breaking temples, burning churches and trains, pulling apart couples in parks and telling people they can’t have a peaceful drink???  Are they jealous? Is the real problem that they don’t seem to meet any women who are willing to sit and have a drink with them? Will someone tell them that caveman tactics don’t work and they can’t drag women around by the hair simply because they chose to have a drink with someone more refined, genteel and educated than them?

Mangalore is outraged they say. Alright then Mangalore, show us how outraged you are. Why don’t the citizens of Mangalore do a peaceful dharna somewhere until all 40 of those men are put into jail? Sitting far away in front of our TV screens and PCs we don’t care, but we must. What if that were you, in your town? You know that day isn’t far off, right?

This is about more than just this occasion. It’s about little explosions taking place around our country while we miss the signs. Growing intolerance of people who make choices different to ours. Our growing tolerance for violence as a response to everything. Don’t like the way those people eat? Beat them up. Don’t like them meeting in parks? Beat them up. Don’t like the way girls from your community mix with guys from the other? Beat them up. Don’t like the way they worship? Beat them up. Don’t like the way they dress? Beat them up.

What about liquor baron Mallya doing something about this? He has the money and means. And it’s about liquor! Where are all the powerful people in this country and what are they doing?

59 years of being a republic today, and we’re still wasting time over changing Bombay’s name and telling women that their place is in the kitchen. And it won’t stop until we learn  – violence is not the answer. It’s never justified. Not when you’re burning trains. Not when you’re beating up women in a pub. Shame on us.

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33 thoughts on “And this is how we spent Republic Day

  1. Ram Sena, who? I’m surprised by the multitude of chota-chota politicians springing up. Tomorrow, just watch this Muthalik or whatever this assh— is will run for elections or form a goonda team and explode a bomb. He needs to be nipped in the bud. He wants publicity? The Mangaloreans should give him that. The self-implied “taliban” and all his caboodle of goons should be tied near the fish market and every women should be offered 100 Rs to hit him with her sandals with live coverage. I personally will contribute 1000 Rs for a start. Mommy start a fund!

  2. This is the fear that I was talking about, when I wrote about service. At the heart of the problem seems to be utter resentment and jealousy. Nothing else explains it so perfectly.

    My friends and I were out tonight, partying, and driving around. We were in wedding finery (sarees) and yet I bet those bastards would have called it immoral.

  3. When i was in Bangalore last year, all that was in the news papers day in day out was about changing ‘Bangalore’ to ‘Bengaluru’, closing all pubs at 9pm or something like that, about Ash n Abhi’s wedding n some celebrity gossips…instead of worrying about how that city was going to save itself from the terrorists or how to improvise their way of life, or doing something about the noise n traffic pollutions .. n so many other things!

    there were even joke smses being circulated about buying the Karnataka government cos it was for sale (it was d time when some dummy politician wanted d government n another politician stepped down after a day or 2… i never really understood Karnataka politics because of all the rubbish that was happening all the time)

    about putting women in kitchens… it still happens even in Chennai. i was watching a debate last nite which happened somewhere last month. one team was supporting modern girls n d opposition team was for being traditional. when i heard a man from d traditional team talking, i just wished i could hit some sense into that thick head of his n give him a piece of my mind!

    no matter how much of effort is taken to modernized the ppl n d country, there still r a bunch of donkeys who insists on living in the 17th century!

  4. I’m quoting from the ndtv article that you have linked to: “The hooligans chased the girls out, attacked men who tried to protect them, there are also reports that the girls were molested.”

    Great! So it’s wrong for them to “consume alcohol” and mix with men of “other faith”, but it isn’t wrong to pull their hair, attack and molest them? Waah! Twisted logic.

  5. I read about the Pub episode and I`m still in disbelief. Or maybe not. Hasnt this moral policing become a fad of sorts? A few months back someone was burning shops for selling v-day cards. On an oblique note, someone wasnt allowed into a pub for wearing a salwar suit!
    What`s with all this sanctimoniousness? Will going on strikes/dharnas as you mentioned, help? I have my doubts really. But then silently enduring will pbly encourage more and more such acts.

  6. Believe me, I knew you will write about this, the minute I saw the news flash. And I was looking forward to reading you too.

    I am scared…because a friend of ours actually said , “serves those b!tc#e$ right”. And I think its all plain jealousy. Just that.

  7. I just dont understand who the fuc* gives them rights to touch unknown gals…so what if they drink? arent the men drinkning as well? why are they not targeted?

    bastards…and cowards…did u hear what that lunatic of a founder of this Rama Sena had to say?

  8. It is truly disgusting. It is amazing how everything is ‘chalta hai’ here. And by and by we are controlled by forces that are intolerant, and think violence is the answer to all conflicts. these people are criminals. period. First and foremost they have to be treated like criminals. They are not the police, they are not the administration, they are not the government, and the government agencies also do not have the right to curtail behaviour that is legal.

    About the ‘chalta hai’ attitude, i will forward you a mail I wrote to the commissioner of Police in Hyderabad, and CC’d it to letters to the editor of The Hindu. No response. It was about an incident, a violent incident that happened before our eyes, and we dialled number 100. My mail will tell you what happened.

    Keep writing MM, and please also take care of your health.

  9. chauvinism naked n aggressive is the basis of this all. dont know which mother brought up such men who just cant take it women r equal citizens -equal rights equal responsibilities – wht’s so damn difficult to understand in this basic equation? we just need more women who arent ashamed to claim their right to sunshine in every walk of life……..i hope these goons if married to some unfortunate women will produce a bunch of girls who will throw cow dung on their retarded fathers’ faces n live life in full style in pursuit of own dreams!

  10. And the worst part is some women politicians condemn it and the end. We have a woman President too..a dumb spectator.

    None of the big parties secular/non-secular cares as long as it doesn’t affect them.

    As commenter No.6 wrote in future will different generations be allowed to mingle?

  11. i wish the girls would have just turmned around and kicked their nuts! i mean why the hell can these people just run amok and do whatever they please just because they have violence on their side!

    sena goes and breaks a known 5 star hotel, someone else sends notice to a shopkeeper in mumbai to take ourt karachi from its name!

    yes, the growing intolerance is very very scary… and i seriously hope the next gen will see what crap all this is while we try to fight it now…

    its all just ahteful! and yes violence cannot win!

  12. Totally unconnected comment, MM. Dying of boredom at work, I tried your url, out of the blue…and wonders of wonders, after some 6 months of no blogs, my company has suddenly opened it back up.. I dunno if its a short term thing, so making good use of it.
    I am sitting in a daze at work – my Tamil, Christian dad met my Punjabi boyfriend of 4 years, on Sunday, to tell him just why he thinks our marriage will not happen.
    Faith and religion and the need to uphold it at any cost. Children and what will happen of their religion.. M and my dad are the most wonderful men I know, and to see them, have this conversation has left me with more than just a broken heart.. and just then I saw ur post on the Christian/ Punjabi wedding.
    M’s amazing family is rallying behind us, hoping my dad budges… But the sad part is, we can both see why this is so hard for my dad..and this morning, when M left for Delhi (yeah, its long distance too!), my world fell apart…
    Wonder why I am ranting on…maybe cos I always sort of identified with you and the OA, and somewhere, hoped we’d hv such a marriage too… we havent given up on hope yet.. but its mighty tough at the moment…
    Sorry for rambling on….

    Me: hugs. I’ll mail you…

  13. I was in Mangalore when the incident took place. And more than being angered, the locals (at least the ones I came across) were afraid of crossing these self-glorified moral police. These goondas have caused such fear that restaurant, hotel and pub management are willing to inconvenience themselves and customers rather than cross their paths. Mangaloreans are a peaceful lot, but they’ve got to understand that silence sometimes can be misconstrued as a sign of acceptance.

  14. oooh, i’d love to see these sena guys at a gay pub.
    men are allowed to drink alcohol
    men are fully clothed
    men are not talking to women
    men are more or less the same faith
    lol, bring it on already!

  15. What is next MM? goons breaking into your house, and beating you up because you watching the “wrong films” or reading the “wrong books” or dressed the “wrong way”.
    I never felt safe when I lived alone in Delhi, and now I shudder to think what all could have happened to me.

  16. hey hey… did you guys hear about the latest joke doing the rounds? Yeah the superheroes, the Ram Sena guys were just trying to protect ‘innocent’ Hindu girls from ‘Jihadi Romeos’, who lure these girls and convice them to elope with the Jihadis and then convert them into Muslims and make them their slaves…

    OMG, couldnt they come up with better reasons? How could they possible!

    Me: 🙂 oh a troll called Suma just called me anti-hindu on this post. I hit delete. I dont have time to either let them malign me or the moderate, sensible, tolerant majority of Hindus by assuming you guys are okay with this. sometimes people dont realise how badly they’re affecting their own community’s image. the stupidity is mind boggling.

  17. Maybe we should remind the “Ram Sena” that not so long ago the culture of our land would not even let some people access public water because they were dalits. Or that they would not let men choose their own profession because what you did was bound to your caste. So the entire Ram Sena should actually be farming ( not with tractors, that is not culturally right ), or making clay pots with wooden wheels whether they like it or not. Why all these half-way measures? They should embrace the “culture” whole heartedly na? Starting from discarding pants and wearing lungis.

    Not so long ago, ours was a land where women priests would sit at yagnas along with men, where even prostitutes were respected and included in society, where people wrote a whole book on sex, mathematics, science and philosophy progressed. Where caste was based on what you did and not where you were born.We have definitely only regressed from our Vedic period. That is where we should be drawing our culture from.

    Me: argh. am so annoyed with myself. Hit delete on a comment by a troll called Suma, because she decided this was an anti-hindu stance. It was just annoyance and now I cant summon it back. damn. oh well – i hope she is seeing your comments.

  18. Yesterday, around this time, I thought I saw a plate with noodles here…

    Was I day dreaming at office?

    Or somebody ate it?

    Me: somebody ate it. :p

    *burp*

  19. Thanks for clearing/cleaning it up.
    I was all set to see my doctor
    🙂

    Me: 🙂 sorry to have messed with your head. I planned to put it out and then it seemed like too many mushy OA posts. so it will be back in a day or so.

  20. Ok, this is the last comment from me (for today).. why do you want to control/check what is in your heart? This is your place, put what *you* want to put and stop worrying about image/look of it.

    Dekho beti, yeh jindagi bahut choti hei.. jo man mein aaya kare, wohi kiya karo.. (as long as it does’nt hurts anyone)

    Me: LOL! meri zindagi mein itna kuch chalta hai ki din mein char post toh aaram se nikal jayein. so I dont prevent myself from posting anything – I just re-organize. nothing here is in chronological order.

    aur dekho beta – yeh zindagi bahut chhoti hai. jab man kare, comment kiya karo. isme koi rok tok nahi hai :p

  21. Oh come on MM… why did you hit delete on Suma… we could have had some fun atleast… the only purpose of existence of trolls is entertainment! 😛

    Me: LOL! I dont know why I did that yaar. Just tired of this divisive nonsense. the whole world, well anyone with an iota of sense at least, is condemning the attacks. madam sumasays decides to tell me i am anti-hindu. i didnt want to get into a war of words. i hit delete. then i realised it was the perfect example of how ram sena type people exist here too. she’s one of them.

  22. I guess it is time for girls to take care of themselves instead of waiting for the government to do something about it. It is important that we do it ourselves, growing long nails, carrying pepper sprays, safety pins and learning a few kicks to safeguard oneself. No point in waiting for somebody to come and change the situation.

  23. And today finally they arrested the head of the Ravan Sena (why pull poor maligned Ram into everything?), but for some other offence- not related to this M’lore incident at all…

    Me: True. why do they malign the Gods by giving their groups Gods names? as if to say they got divine sanction to behave like animals.

  24. Had been to a place near to mangalore on weekend and was out with my brother in a remote place at around 9pm. Suddenly there were 7-8 ppl heavily drunk asking lots of questions who? why? from where all that.we knew someone from that place so gave the details and came back. dont know what wud have happened if not,it was so scary.

  25. Lord save us from these culture vultures!Who want to take us back to pre-historic ages in the name of Indian culture! Isn’t culture supposed to evolve with time? Are traditions and culture meant to be forced down people’s throats while someone holds a gun to their heads!!!

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