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.