Bangaloreans oppose moral policing

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Members of Sri Ram Sene got their share of limelight this fortnight. For beating women, tugging at their clothes, matrimonial threats… And Bangaloreans aren’t taking this quietly. On 8th February, students of the Srishti School of Art and Design organised a peace march protesting against this moral policing. With the slogan ‘I am an Indian, this is my culture’, more than hundred people took to the streets with banners and placards.

Peace march against moral policing

Students in a peace march against moral policing on Sunday, 8th of Feb (pic: Sastry Vadlamani)

The march started from Rest House Road park, through Brigade Road, and ended at the Mahatma Gandhi statue opposite Cubbon park. Though the protesters faced some resistance from traffic policemen near Barton Centre on M G Road, some cops obligingly took the message tags offered to them. Pushpa Achanta, an IT professional and volunteer with non-profits, says, "The idea was to protest peacefully".

More initiatives are being planned in the city. ‘Bengaluru Unites’ is being organised to protest against moral policing and attacks on women in a Mangalore pub. On 12th February, protests will be held across various parts of the city simultaneously, with raising slogans, placards and human chains. This gathering will not be a representation of any organisation or political party but the voice of the common man, says Rajeev Gowda, organiser, Bengaluru Unites, who is also a professor at IIM-Bangalore. Gowda says, "The aim is to enable people, especially students and working professionals, to express their seething anger and disgust at the Talibanization of Karnataka".

The initiative urges citizens to step out, stand up (for our rights) and stamp out (fundamentalism). You, too, can volunteer to help out this Thursday. See bengaluru-unites.blogspot.com for details on how you can get involved. At least 20-25 spots across the city are expected to witness these demonstrations.

Bangaloreans aren’t just protesting through marches and demonstrations. There’s more in store for the Sene. The "Consortium of Pubgoing, Loose and Forward Women" have started what is known as "The Pink Chaddi Campaign" in response to the Sene taking law into their own hands.

Barely a week old, this campaign calls for people to donate pink chaddis. The group has even set up chaddi collection points across the city, where you can drop them off. With over a thousand people already signed up for this initiative, the Sene’s office is likely to receive this one-of-a-kind package filled with pink chaddis. More details at thepinkchaddicampaign.blogspot.com.

Even as the Sri Ram Sene talks of hounding hand-holding couples and forcing them into wedlock this Valentine day, Bangaloreans have their own counter plans.

About Vaishnavi Vittal 139 Articles
Vaishnavi Vittal is a Bangalore-based journalist.

17 Comments

  1. Has anyone seen Muthalik’s sandaas/shitpot? I wonder whether it is Indian shtyle sandaas or western style commode?

    BTW, Pink Chaddi campaign is allegedly not allowing 1 out of 12 people to participate. These singled out people are color blind and they have problems identifying pinkness in chaddis. Yellow is the way to go. Almost everyone can see it.

  2. You have deliberately misunderstood me, and anyone in their right minds will know those are not the values I am talking about. I have a right to be heard with an open mind, without being slotted as a taliban/mutalik/rss/hindu/fundamentalist supporter.

    Just because I don’t agree with the Chaddi brigade, you assume I am with the Saree brigade. I am with neither.

    And I hope youngsters who are exposed to all this nonsense have more sense than to assume that going to pubs and celebrating Valentine’s day the way it is in the West is mandatory to be accepted in ‘progressive’ society.

  3. Oh dear! next will be a demand for ban on condom ads? because in a civilized society they don’t talk about sex in the public..surely not..
    “too much freedom”? that sounds like muthalik/taliban talk…
    introspection is definitely required..the values that have been inculcated so far are ..1) it is okay to take law into your hands 2)you can assault anybody as long as you think you are right 3) you have the right to decide how others should behave…cheers to the pink chaddi campaign! and looks like they have succeeded too!

  4. Well, I am not sure using the Indian word for lingerie in public, with great abandon, is culture of any civilized society, let alone Indian. Until a few days ago, it was not on.

    While I was offended by Mutalik’s antics, I was able to dismiss him as an aberration, as the police would would take care of him, one day or the other.

    But I am seriously appalled at these women folk cocking a snook at all that is decent and dignified. The police cannot do anything about them. And the media is making them look cool; sanctimonious, infact!

    Society does not need moral policing, but it does need its families to inculcate the right values in their children- its time for some serious introspection and see where we as a society have gone wrong in that aspect.

    Too much freedom sans responsibility, perhaps?

  5. Dear Ramachandran,
    This is a factual report. Here the reporter is not claiming anything, taking positions or passing judgement. As a news media covering local matters, protests or initiatives that happen in Bangalore naturally are in our scope.
    Given it is a protest against people using force, it is definitely a matter that concerns us citizens.
    -Editors

  6. I completely applaud this campaign..when the elected government lets lawlessness flourish and remains a mute spectator to fame and power hungry goons,what do citizens do? light more candles? march in peaceful protests? i believe this is the most appropriate response..the undergarments are symbolic of the utter disgust that most civilized humans feel about the atrocious incident in Mangalore…. it’s not about drinking, not about “western” culture nor is it about high society… it’s about individual freedom and a desperate attempt to safeguard it from those who want to snatch it away…kudos to citizenmatters for the article!!

  7. Sometime back the rural uneducated womenfolk, their NGOs, their SHGs had been demanding one thing from the Government- to close liquor shops. They did not have Degrees from big institutions, they did not have blogs, they did not have loose women leaders to lead them but they had one thing – common sense. That common sense made them realsie how bad alchoholism was to one’s health, to family, to society.Thank God they are more in numercial strenght in our State than those who abandon Chaddis while the rural folk wanted to abandon liquor! What a conflict of culture and values between the so called educated and the illiterates! While the former wants to stoop low the latter want to move up! Hats off to the enlightened illiterates and Chaddis off to …

  8. The premise of this protest has been grossly misinterpreted. The campaign is not aimed at promoting or relegating pub culture in any way(tats a totally different subject altogether). This focuses on the atrocities meted out to women by those self styled goons/rowdies/hooligans looking for cheap publicity for their “leader”. At the outset the idea may sound silly but it carries the necessary ammunition to embarass him and dent his stubbornness. Unfortunately violence can no more be dealt with in a dignified manner. And one has to resort to such “innovative” methods to deal with the same. And when Muthalik emerges out of a pile of pink undergarments, not him but the rest of the world will have the last laugh!

  9. The brain behind the “pink chaddi “movement may be fetish about undergarments.She is ready to take it off and donate to a low moral, scum of the earth,rowdy, who has neither indian or western culture in his blood.Does this mean she and the others who want to take off their “chaddi” are ready to entertain the so called Ram Sena??? Should this campaign be called “innovative”? If she and others want to send their undergarments, go ahead. Muthalik and his followers will have the last laugh.

    And I thought Citizen Matters are taking up issues that concern us and not getting political and follow the “rag sheet” called TOI.

    May be she is a professional cabaret dancer?

  10. To find out the nearest meeting point in Bengaluru on 11-Feb-2009,

    SMS “where bengaluru unites near <your place>” to 90088 90088

  11. @ The Pink Chaddi Campaign:

    With all due respect, this made-to-look-cool campaign of sending undergarments seems to focus more on defending the right to patronize a pub, rather than the core issue of women [freedom, violence].

    Moreover, I can imagine how Muthalik and others can/might use this to their advantage, somewhat similar to how Modi capitalized on some of Congress/Sonia Gandhi’s extravagant remarks before the last Gujarat election. A sample Sri Ram Sene speech in a few weeks may look like: “Do you want a public give-and-take of pink chaddies? Is that the culture that you want India to be identified with? Should we not do whatever it takes to fight it?”. The audience, comprising mostly rural, under-educated people rooted in tradition, would respond with an instant, unanimous, uproarious backing. So, it’s crucial that we protest by reasonable and moderate means, which this campaign lacks in my humble opinion.

    I am participating in the other, mature protest, though.

    Pulkit {http://pulzinponderland.wordpress.com/}

  12. I wonder whether by distributing their Chaddis what they will achieve? Almost nothing. Such type of utter non sense protests may hit the headlines for a while but will have no impact on the Society. These Chaddi Dharinis do not represent the Bangalorean as a whole but some Loose- as they call themselves, elements of high society that thrives on promiscuity and ill gotten wealth acquired from their “misdeeds” which somehow they try to justify to get fame. Pub culture is not our culture and it should be fought tooth and nail. May be liquor lobbies are behind such campaigns !

  13. Great article! I love Bnagaloreans. Who else would have thought of something as innovative as “The Pink Chaddi Campaign!”

  14. Stop calling those goons moral police! That is like calling car thieves traffic optimization consultants.

  15. Nice article! Innovative methods of protesting like these are very much neccessary to root out the convoluted fundamentalist ideologies of groups like sri ram sene..

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