Over the last many months, I have had this growing feeling in the back of my mind that there is a growing trend of moral policing in India, and most evidently in my state, Tamil Nadu. This article today ticked me off. Let me present the exhibits first on why I think such.
Exhibit A: A South Indian Actress Khushboo makes some remarks on pre-marital sex to a magazine. While you may or may not agree with what she is saying, she is definitely entitled to that opinion and she has a right to say it. She was labeled a 'anti-social' and her remarks were labeled 'against public order'. She apologised over and over again. She was sued in many courts and is still facing those lawsuits. Suhasini, a fellow actress also endured lawsuits for defending Khushboo.
Exhibit B: Private citizens who were married to each other were seen kissing each other inside a bar inside the Park Hotel Chennai where they were staying. Photographers from an evening newspaper 'sneaked' into the hotel and to the bar and snapped their pictures and published them in their newspapers. Following that publication, police, instead of going after the newspaper for invading the privacy of those photographed, the Hotel's licence was revoked and arrested the hotel manager and the bar's manager under Section 294 of IPC (Obscene Acts and Songs to the Annoyance of Others in any Public Place). How they defined a bar inside a hotel as a public place is beyond me.
Exhibit C: Students, particularly girl students, of the prestigious Anna University, Chennai are not allowed to wear jeans to college and the chancellor imposed other dress code regulations. Ofcourse, students were furious but they couldn't do much.
Exhibit D: Any indian movie released now-a-days has to satisfy certain political groups - otherwise they would end up boycotting (read: rioting) the movie and the halls playing those movies.
Exhibit E: This is what made me write this post. Apparently now you need permission from the government for a movie so that they can make sure that you dont demean the government or the armed forces.
If you see who's behind most if not all of these incidents it always ends up at these extremist organisations -- such as DPI, PMK, RSS & VHP which play a major role in Indian political system. PMK is even part of the central government.
And it's not that this has just started. It has been going on for years but recently it has been turned way up. I am not even going to start putting down my arguments as to why this is wrong, and where is this leading us to, and what it will eventually result in. All I ask is this:
If we, as Indians, police our society's morality -- telling them what they can or cannot wear, what they can or cannot say -- particularly women, how are we different from those kingdoms (like say, Saudi Arabia, Iraq), where they do similar moral policing?
I rest my case.