Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Where is my freedom?
The Mangalore pub incident starts with the difficult proposition of being given a name at first. What should the media or civil society call it? Is it eve teasing, violence against women, or a fight against drugs and immorality along with a fight to save Indian cultural ethos? (The Shri Ram Sena argument) I would clearly call it violence against women, which resonates into all parts of India. It is a warning to all women to fall into line or risk being punished. (It is another matter that the punishment is meted out by unofficial armies. Coming to think of it India is building itself into a horde of unofficial groups).
It is interesting that violence against women happens in various spheres of Indian life. A father uses violence against his daughter, a brother against his sister, a husband against his wife, and then collective violence is let out against women in the shadow of war, communal clashes, and culture purification. All the talk about ‘all Indians are my brothers and sisters’ prove to be humbug and the word sister itself is open to further introspection.
The movie ‘Slum Dog Millionaire’ has come in for some slack because it shows a particular side of India. It has unsettled some because they feel India is not just it’s slums. Although India is not just it’s slums, the truth remains that this is the real India. Just like the Mangalore pub attack is the truth that stares at India. It may unsettle many in India as they would not like this to be publicised but this is what we are.
So then we need to get to the concept of freedom in India. It is the same concept which got us the freedom to build ourselves into a republic. It is the freedom which is constitutionally promised to every citizen of this country, man or woman, belonging to whichever caste, religion or class. It is the freedom to do what one wants to as long as it does not infringe upon the freedom of another person.