Yesterday on Twitter my friend balu @chupchap posted a link to an interview with a rabble rousing person in India of pub attack fame and urged me to read it.
Past experience had told me that it would be ravings & rantings and hence I told Balu I will not read it and expend any time on it . Also do people like this - who in normal life I’d say need intervention – need more publicity?
At the same time I was pulled in another direction that said media needs to expose people like this for who they are and what they stand for and do or don't do.
Such interviews and exposes also brings into focus and contrast what other parties- political, religious or administrative and people have to say and how they deal with such issues.
For instance, who an Indian marries is decided by him/her/family/law. Normally, in that order. Not a self professed vigilantte who has a ‘sena’. Hence any other views are – or should be - completely useless in this country.
What is important however, in the Mangalore pub incident and other such cases attacks on girls in Bangalore, are the views of the other people in the society (families of affected people or who wish to talk); community (voters and people who live in the city) ; state officials (administration like law keepers, police, municipal authorities, justice etc) and, if it affects any legislations then, politicians.
Here is my view;
A. Show people for what they are with interviews and exposes.
B. Do not lose focus. Highlight the REAL issues. Detailed interviews with other people involved are also required.
1 .The issues of families and girls involved. For instance, in this interview the chap says that the mother of the girl, a Mrs Shetty was ‘grateful’ that he daughter was ‘saved’. I’d love to see media do more interviews with her and families like her. The log kya kahenge, Biradari mein hamri izzat issues. What is izzat, what is biradari, how much is it important, how does it affect you, why do you support people like sene, etc.
We know that in certain countries ruled by religious paries, excommunication can take extreme measures. Hence the fear to comply. But in India?
At one end of the spectrum, we have families who encourage their daughters from mofussil towns to distant cities to participate in dance and MTV reality shows on television as they see it as an opportunity to some fame, fortune and better future. On the other end we have outright ‘honour killings’ for daring to fall in love and/or marry with a person of another caste/community.
Trapped between the two we have this category of families who do not really know, explore, or accept possibilities and change. In other stories gone wrong, instead of ending in a pub attack, they end with suicide or murder. But yet, parents pretend or refuse to accept reality as is (happening) and ‘thank’ vigilantes.
Then, I’d like to see media direct attention on issues such as why do people not file FIRs. The issue of how difficult and tiring the process of seeking legal aid is in India. How to overcome and improve these systems and processes. Alternatives, suggestions, options?
Third, the chap says he has hundreds of people working for him. Including a 'womens' wing. Gasp! Imagine. Arresting him will be of little or no use cos there is one like him in almost every Indian family.
So I’d also like to see more interviews with at least few of the hundreds and thousands of youth (and women) who join such ‘causes’. These are the vigilante armies being trained. Why do the youth choose to opt for this route instead of focusing on improving their talent and skills for other (what we think is more productive) use. How do the women brigade feel about reversing all the hard work Mahatma Phule and Ram Mohan Roy did.
It is my view that with this kind of journalism and reporting, the country will awaken to other and more substantial issues ( such as parenting, education, youth, opportunities & social structures (or lack of it), public & civic governance, insecurities and how they breed etc instead of merely polarise sections of society based on religious beliefs, moral stances and political affiliations. I think what I am saying is I want the people to be interviewed who are neither of ‘Sene’ or ‘Pink chaddi’ brigade. The people who keep quiet and need to find a voice, an expression.
We need a country where each person should be free to practice all the above three (religious beliefs, moral stances and political affiliations ) freely with no fear of reprisals and have law, order and justice prevail.
Only after typing this post did I realise it is International Womens day today. Co-incidence or what! So, this is my Womens Day post. Vive le difference as I love to say.
As for the title of this post. 'Akal Badi ki Bhais' is a well known old hindi idiom that loosely transalated suggests, "use brains" or THINK!
I also came upon this site with some funny pixs which I am linking to just for a few laughs. God knows I feel the need for it after thinking of the madness that threatens the very fabric of our India.