September 19, 2007

In the Land of Shakuntala and Kannagi

Immoral Police of India

IBNLive reports:

A shocking incident of cops turning to moral policing in Uttar Pradesh. A girl was paraded on the streets of Muzaffarnagar after police find her with a male friend in a city hotel.
Dual Khalil

What's going on in the land of Shakuntala? Since when did it become a crime for two lovers to meet in private? If parading this girl in full public view all the way to the police station, for some trumped up crime such as "breach of peace", is not a gross violation of her fundamental rights, I don't know what is. That this is happening in the country that bears the name of the child born of love to Dushyanta and Shakuntala is beyond me. My heart goes out for this girl, who has virtually been gang-raped by everyone on that street, who silently watched the cops parade her. The fate of this Indian girl will not be materially different from the fate that befell Dua Khalil, will it?

Did the UP Police do this to show that they are one up on the moral police in Tamil Nadu? Cops in Chennai, ordered by the new city police chief, Nanchil Kumaran, raided the Marina Beach on Monday, to catch men and women engaging in "indecent behavior". According to the report in the Indian Express,

On Monday, as several young couples relaxed on the picturesque Marina sands, some men seen lying on the laps of their girlfriends or merely sitting close to each other, a team of city police, swooped down and picked them up for “indecent behavior in public”. The police went as far as to complain to the parents of the 22 couples, who were seen crying and trying to hide their faces with their dupattas in the police station. Many just ran away before they were caught.

Since when did sitting with your shoulders touching your lover's or laying your head on your lover's lap, qualify for indecent behavior? Perhaps, they do in the land of Kannagi, that supremely misogynistic symbol of Tamil culture, and a favorite icon of Mr. Rational, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Muthuvel Karunanidhi. Were the couples arrested under the watchful eyes of the newly installed statue of hers in Marina?

Talking of Mr. Karunanidhi, what did this fellow, who claims to be the champion of rationality, have to say about criticism of the fictional character of Kannagi in the Tamil play Silappathikaram? In 2006, a columnist, who goes by the name Gnani, wrote a piece for a Tamil magazine, Ananda Vikatan, where he questioned the relevance of Kannagi as a role model for today's wives. He also chastised Kannagi for burning down the entire city of Madurai as retribution for the misjudgement of the king. Mr. Karunanidhi responded sharply, and warned that Gnani was playing with fire by insulting Kannagi, and hurting Tamils' sentiments. Taking a cue from their leader, his party thugs went on a rampage, burning copies of the magazine in front of the Ananda Vikatan office.

Who is this Kannagi, Mr. Karunanidhi, and in which college did she take her classes in pyrotechnics?

  1. Thats the problem with most of the laws in our country its too vague and allows way too much room from different interpretations. I guess people who framed these laws did so intentionally. So it ends up like this where who ever deciding to implement it can interpret it the way he likes. "indecent" is such a relative term.

  2. Hey RF, thought I would check your blog out. :)
    Well, about this subject, I think the malaise runs deep in our society. The kind of retrograde attitudes of people are to be heard to be believed!

  3. Indian society, by and large, is still in the grips of a medieval pseudo-puritanism. It is, in some ways, like the American voting public's dealings with politicians in matters of 'moral' oral or aboral conduct.
    It is no small mercy that we are technologically backwards in many ways. Imagine if our philophobic police had tasers!!

  4. kuttan:
    I am not sure if the law is the problem here. Most laws have room for interpretation. I think the problem here is one of law enforcement agencies acting to serve the whims of politicians, and not in the interest of the public.

    As a moderate Pastafarian, I say, Ramen!

    Ouch :-@


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