Usha
I received mails from some young friends urging me to join the protest against Sri Rama Sene chief Muthalik on Valentine’s day by sending him pink underwear.
Before people begin to paint me with the same brush as Muthalik let me openly declare that Muthalik and his ilk irritate me. If there was a campaign to tie him to a tree and throw pink marbles at him I’d be happy to participate with gusto. Or participate in a march to have him declared a known goonda and disturber of peace and have him arrested under some act similar to the TADA.
But send him my precious lingerie? No way. Actually I do not own any in pink but if I did I assume they’d be lovely with laces and all, and why on earth would I send it to Muthalik? Even the thought makes me sick.What is the point anyway?

I have a better idea. He calls himself the leader of the Shri Ram Sene and as far as I remember the most famous Sene of Shri Ram, the one that he led to defeat Ravana, consisted entirely of Vanaras or monkeys. Now that explains it all, doesn’t it? So let us send them pink ribbons for their tails or lots of bananas. Peanuts? Pink Monkey caps may be? Send him pink dupattas with detailed notes on how he can use them to hang himself.

Why isn’t that guy being taken into preventive custody after he has public announced his intentions to disrupt peace on Valentine’s day?
How come our police and administration become so meticulous about observance of rules when it comes to such people who have backings of political parties. My maid’s son is routinely taken for investigation and kept in the police station for a few days whenever there is a theft in their area. Reason: he has a previous record of petty theft. There are times when he is kept there for days and beaten up for no crime of his. The police inspector does not seem to remember the rules in these cases but with people like Muthalik, law is followed to the last letter.
WHY? Here is a guy who beats up women, makes threatening noises about causing trouble to private celebrations, pokes his nose into people’s private affairs and he is not considered a candidate for a few days of lock up and some police hospitality? WHY?
If nothing he should be locked up for defaming Rama’s name – what gives him the right to indulge in his goondagiri and use Rama’s name to justify it all. Valmiki’s Rama was a hero who hesitated to use force even against evil demons like Tataka because she was a woman and a true warrior was not supposed to use his force against a woman. And here in his name this joker goes and beats up women. Where are the other custodians of Rama now – the Dals, Parishads and Hindutva champions-? And why aren’t they raising their voice against this defamation of their God?

There are two reasons why such people get away with their interference with the liberties of other people. They are backed by powerful lobbies whom the party in power is scared to antagonise. And their victims’ cause is not considered important enough, worthy of protection. Women’s freedom and rights have never been considered serious enough by people entrusted with enforcing law.. Complaints of eve-teasing , molestation, sexual abuse, wife-beating are low priority – not worth the same kind of attention as political crimes, dacoities, murders and now terrorism. How many women even know that they have legal rights? And if you do try taking such a case to the police station, most of the time the woman is told to go home and behave herself and not infuriate the men of the house. Or tempt them. When the perpetrators know that their victims enjoy such low levels of protection, naturally they indulge in these acts with impunity.

When people talk of women's rights in this country, it is more in the tone of trying to assimilate the weaker sections in the mainstream rather than with the kind of outrage that a human rights issue is accorded. There is that patronising attitude as if concessions are being granted, as if it is an act of generosity. That people like Muthalik walk free on the other side of prison bars and enjoy media limelight is a manifestation of a larger problem with our society and governance. Unless we have laws that deal with those elements firmly and the law enforcers exhibit a willingness to enforce our constitutional rights in spirit and in letter, these problems will exist even after we run out of pink chaddis in the world.
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28 Responses
  1. I don't think having more laws will solve it, we already have more than required laws. It is in our thinking the change should come. Only when we forget the gender of people and treat everyone equally these incidents will not happen.


  2. Maddie Says:

    Muthalik has done this under the name of "Indian Culture" but the problem runs deeper. It has to do with controlling women. Why should only women be beaten up for going to pubs. Shouldn't the same rule be applied to men as well. Hasn't our Indian culture got more to do with art, architecture, music, dance, history and even mythology. How then is going to pubs hindering our culture. If this is the case, then men should start wearing dhotis as well, stop smoking and drinking coz it is a western trend. What the hell, we should stop using commodes and toilet papers!!


  3. oorjas Says:

    ya by the pink chaddi campaign we might think we r making a difference but the real solution will be police involvement and him being arrested for encouraging the abuse of women..

    and using Ram's name or any name for such an act is intolerable.

    please accept my humble present 'your award' - on my blog..


  4. Mahadevan Says:

    Pink ribbons for his Vanara Sena sounds sensible. His Sriram is being worshipped as a Maryadah Purusha because he held women in high esteem and in his name, Muthalik and his Sene maul and mutilate women.


  5. Akila Says:

    hey am gonna buy some pink chaddis on munni and ur behalf and send it... pink, lacy, thong kinds...hehehhee


    beautifully thought out post!


  6. DC Says:

    very well said. i too was kind of amused by this pink underwear protest... it is tenably meant as an insult of highest order to Muthalik and his men.

    Isn't it deplorable that this sena (as they call themselves) chose the name of such a virtuous God? The name and the activities of this organization - such an oxymoron!


  7. I agree.
    Specially with , 'When people talk of women's rights in this country, ... There is that patronizing attitude as if concessions are being granted, as if it is an act of generosity.'
    Makes me mad.


  8. Pramod Says:

    You make good points, but laws are not the solution. I guess the attitude of people has to change for things to get better. It will take a generation or two....


  9. Hip Grandma Says:

    well said.But then this is hardly reaching those who need to hear it.i also have aquaintances who regularly get locked up to oblige the local police on condition that they're not disturbed when they actually rob an unsuspecting victim of a precious piece of jewelry or a money purse with the month's salary.one such person was allotted a flat below ours and the entire family reeked of country liquour and the day they cooked something special we'd understand the reason for their celebration.


  10. Praveen Says:

    A sister of my friend has also started a rose campaign!

    And check this out

    Some Victoria's Secret for Mr Muthalik?


  11. Jira Says:

    I am just appalled at the audacity with which these gundas threaten to disrupt peace on Val day. Val day or not, they don't have any right to do something like that. I hope the police don't stand by and watch if these gundas start bshing shops and people. Democracy is just being exploited in India, and for the wrong reasons.

    You are right on the money when u say they are vanaras :) I hope the monkeys don't take it as as insult!


  12. Valmiki’s Rama was a hero who hesitated to use force even against evil demons like Tataka because she was a woman...

    Usha, I disagree with according Rama a hero status for this. Actually, this sort of a thing is a sexist trap. I can understand if someone refused to use violence against an innocent or an unarmed - man or woman - but why not against "an evil demon", just because she's a woman? If that's not acting like an MCP, I don't know what is!

    Well, regarding all this nonsense about Pubs & Valentine, you know well what my views are, but I think sending a pink chaddhar is a fine idea:) You don't have to give up any of your prized possessions. Just mail these fellows a dirty & worn-out one that you are about to trash.

    More seriously, how about parents organizing Valentine parties at home for their boys and girls? Or, if you have an adult daughter, why not take her out to a pub on Valentine's Day (if she didn't have a date already)? You don't have to drink alcohol, if you didn't like to, but the presence at the pub will be good enough.

    The point is that parents have as much of a responsibility, if not more, to defend the rights of their children.


  13. p.s.
    I must add: and in the process, educate the children about what their fundamental rights are, and why you thought it was important to defend them.


  14. You are giving him too much credit by call him Monkey. I think Monkeys are cute little intelligent beings that can do things that you show them to do.


  15. Usha Says:

    Satish: didn't reco more laws but the will to implement them strictly despite one's own personal biases.I agree about change in thinking.

    Maddie:It is only when people do not have anything meaningful to fight for that they latch on to these causes. These are just attention -grabbing stunts of these upstarts.

    Oorjas:Thank you. will check.

    Mahadevan::)

    Akila: Just you wait, I will tell Muthalik that you are not doing seva to your MIL!!
    Why waste such lovely garments by sending them to him - heard about casting pearls before...

    DC:I don't like to meet sensationalism with sensationalism. But of course each unto herself - what they consider best but raise vice in protest for sure.

    IHM: Makes my blood boil too every time.

    pramod: Laws are one solution too especially in the lower classes.

    Hipgran: There is a firm nexus between policemen and goondas - so close that sometimes they forget their identities.

    praveen:Hahahah.

    Jira: The State dministration has promised to protect citizens who want to celebrate - let us see.

    The RF: I didn't call him a hero for that. I used the word hero to say he may not have been a God but he was still the hero of the epic.
    I agree that parents have to educate children on their rights - but how many parents know them? Civics i9s the most neglected subject in the curriculum as it is not included in the final grades!

    Dinesh: hehehe. But have you noticed that monkeys are so restless and they try to tease when they are bored? Just like this sene?


  16. maami Says:

    If the downtrodden, disadvantaged, voiceless sister in the hinterland of the nation is subjected to brutalities of caste and gender divides, it is alarming to note that the urban economically independent woman is equally vulnerable and is subjected to assaults of the same brute force and Manuvadi mind sets that seek to keep more than one half of the country under it's neandrethal control at home, office and outside.

    The ugly images of the young women being thrashed outside the pubs will take a long time to fade.
    It could have been you, me, our daughter, a sister...

    Oh yeah I'm in it, ready to ball and fling a pink jetti on Mr.M's mug!


  17. Artnavy Says:

    am headed for blore on V day!!

    yay to the pink dupatta and monkey cap idea


  18. Couldn't agree with you more! Here's my take on it - http://mysticmargarita.blogspot.com/2009/02/sisterhood-of-traveling-pink-panties.html - would love to hear your opinion on it.


  19. ramya Says:

    I read a statement by some man in newspaper telling that "why should girls go to pubs. are they going t serve their future husbans with chappatis or drinks" (it was a better statement with more stupidity..but i cant recollect it.)Muthalik is molesting and thrashing women in name of Indian culture. Makes me think..is it Indian culture in which the burden of culture and tradition is placed on women while men can go kill and molest women?!

    a red lingerie with hearts will be better to embarrass him more than pink one with lace, especially on valentines day!


  20. diya Says:

    Asusual, very precisely put, I have put across the same point in my posts but they sound like ramblings. There should be a concerted effort to put these people behind bars at once otherwise they will keep on thinking that they are persuing a noble cause. The issue MUST be explained to them- they have NO RIGHT to define our culture for us. Culture essentially is a product of liberal give and take amongst peoples and culture CAN NEVER BE one rigid thing unchanging for eternity. The essence of culture is give and take and so it evolves. We are all the product of the many cultures that have come into this country and we have borrowed from others even before we subjects of the British. This is true specially of the South of this country which has always been the hub of trade and settlements by foreign traders since the very ancient of times. So what Muthalik knows as "Hindu Culture" may be completely different from what is in practice. Secondly it is the question of women's fundamental rights and women's freedom as understood by law which this fellows declarations and threats are completely against. Leave alone valentine's day, whom she talks to and whom she mixes with is entirely the concern of the woman NO One has a right to define her limits for her in free India. It seems that women have to now launch a second freedom movement to free themselves from the tyranny of the regressive Indian Male!


  21. Anonymous Says:

    Hi Usha,

    A slightly unrelated question - I was reading a BBC online artice on Shah Rukh Khan hosting the millionaire show (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/6288569.stm) and it said "Usha Vaidyanathan said he should take up presenting full time: "He is definitely better dressed than Amitabh Bachchan. I think he should give up acting.""

    I was very excited to see your name and wanted to find out if it was you? If it is, very cool, indeed!! You're in the big leagues now. You def. deserve to be there. :)

    Cheers,
    Vivin


  22. workhard Says:

    Hello,
    i was reading your post, and your right, gundaas like these should be safely kept away behind bars..They are prone to causing more chaos in the near future

    Work from home


  23. prem Says:

    well said!


  24. These type of people not only contaminate the peaceful society but leave an adverse effect on the growing generatio as well.


    Work From Home Online




  25. Janaki Says:

    Beautifully written post.You made some great points and lessons to people through this post.


  26. Newstrens Says:

    I went through the comments and one comment from Maddie really made me to post here. As she or he told "Why should only women be beaten up for going to pubs. Shouldn't the same rule be applied to men as well".I just wanted to say that if there would be the same principles and same norms would be applied on both the genders, the humanity will have to find a new identity. Please step back from western cultures.

    If you have to follow, follow their skills, intelligence.