Mangalore sees another incident of moral policing. The very first information that I received regarding the July 28 attacks was on a news channel which said something on the lines of a ‘rave’ party being interrupted by a bunch of men, where the young crowd was beaten up. I do not remember the channel that I was watching because the absolutely horrific video of the attacks blinded me with rage. I was watching the video on television telecasted probably at least a few hours after the incident happened, yet I could say that the victims of the attack showed no signs of being drugged, well that’s the first thing you do when you are in a rave party, right? A perfect example of the media twisting the information.
After the initial outrage died out a number of questions came into my mind. On watching the video carefully you would find that a bunch of men entered a completely calm house and then suddenly all the action started, I don’t think a ‘rave party’ has calm atmosphere. Secondly, there were barely any one seen in the first few seconds except the girl running in and trying to close the doors, apart from the attackers, again I reiterate my point a rave party, forget a rave party, a normal party has active people for it to be a ‘party’. Then comes the incessant beatings and absolute manhandling of the girls, who were not only beaten but molested and touched very, very inappropriately by the men: when they claimed to protect them from the ‘bad’ things that could happen to them. For heaven’s sake nothing, absolutely nothing justifies the slaps and the kicks in such a situation- whether they were having a rave party or whether they were in any kind of a danger from the people that they went with. The police, perfect timing of arrival, when the damage was done and above all else they showed absolute disinterest in using any kind of force against the attackers, nothing at all. Interesting, right? The camera and the detailed shooting of the whole episode gives clear indication that the whole episode was well planned and staged- for what purpose beats me.
The million dollar question: who gives the right to take such actions of policing by members of any organisation or group? Apart from the police which has the legal right to act and raid places but only in the case of any illegal activity, no one in this country has the right to ‘interfere’ in anybody’s business- leads to another question, is the legal machinery functioning at all in Karnataka?
This is not the first time an incident like this has come to light in Mangalore or from any other part of India. Whenever such episodes of ‘moral policing’ occurs, the usual circle starts- the incident is reported, the media harps on its various aspects for the next three maximum four days, a few strong words written or said against it and within ten days it disappears from the public memory; whether the culprits are caught and punished no one bothers to find out even that. Makes me question as whether this will ever end? If yes, then how? Let's consider a scenario where the police is efficient and legal system is flawless, will such incidences cease to occur? I think not. In the ideal case, the police might arrive on the right time or even before any disaster strikes and the punishment are spelt out quickly and appropriately. But will it ever STOP?
The answer lies in analysing the complex social structure that we are living in today. A number of psychological factors comes into play, starting from the mindset stemming from the patriarchal society to the arrogance that comes from any kind of political influence or connection. On one side there were a bunch of young girls, seemingly present out of their own free will and on the other side were a bunch of men, point to be noted ‘men’. On one side there were young people hailing from reasonable wealth, the fact that they were in a resort is a clear indication, and on the other side loud, rowdy men. On one side there was a youth very much modern and on the other side a youth which according to me is confused- they committed an act for which the law has given them no permission in the name of protection of the Indian traditions and values; no culture, tradition, religion would validates beating up humans, more than that a woman.
It reflects and brings out a lot of problems lying unattended in our country. The problem of ignorance which indeed stems from little or no education, the problem of unemployment which makes a certain section of the young population fall prey to some form of incentive by a more powerful entity to fulfill its own purpose, the problem of male ego which stems from our long drawn patriarchal society which says that any act of ‘men’ will find some justification in some form or the other, the problem of discrimination of the weaker entity and last but not the least the problem of deep rooted corruption and malpractices in our system which makes the occurrence of such incidences easy and frequent.
For such incidents to absolutely STOP, the ‘mindset’ has to go through a major overhaul. An efficient legal system will certainly aid in reducing the number but not the complete elimination because the problem stems from the deep rooted psychological setup. No police, no court will be able to stop such atrocities in the name of guarding the culture and protecting our traditions, until the time that we start treating both the sexes equally, until the time the women are respected and not considered a subject for domination, until we start respecting every individual's behaviour, thought process, choice, personal space and lifestyle and until we as a society are more aware, more sensitive and more involved.