India’s “moral police” have political backing
I had decided to avoid writing about the now famous kiss between Shilpa Shetty and Richard Gere which created such a storm over here. It was so ridiculous – the reaction I mean! We Indians are making a fool of ourselves, nothing else. The kiss was innocent, and Shilpa was not offended, so why should anyone else protest? In fact I am echoing the sentiments of an overhelming majority of Indians. Either people are not bothered, or they are amused, or they say nothing even if they feel it’s a trifle over the top. And these people who are protesting?
Who are they?
Radical groups which break into movie halls which show films on lesbianism, attack couples from inter caste and inter-religious unions, make a fuss about the celebration of Valentine’s Day, attack people at parties, hold morchas to protest against sex education when more than 50 per cent of Indian children are molested, insist that police should arrest canoodling couples…well, I can go on an on to find such examples. The people who protest against this are breaking the law, they need to be policed themselves…they are not representative of India. They are completely at odds with the tolerant and accepting Hindu culture.
Richard Gere is not a fool. He has been coming to India for years to raise AIDS awareness. He mixes with people from all sections of society. He is a Buddhist and understands Hindu culture. When he kissed Shilpa I am sure he had no idea that it was going to create such a tamasha. He has been meeting the Indian people, not radical groups. That is why he was not aware of how strong they are becoming. Groups backed by political parties. Their main idea is to Talibanize Hindusim to get votes for their party. They are trying to frighten those who want to be free, and they are trying to brainwash those who are simple common folk.
Our society is not a puritan one. People keep mistresses, there is adultery, there is sexual molestation, there is rape, there is wife beating, there is child abuse…these issues need to be addressed. They are the crucial issues. Besides, the main theme of our cinema and television serials has always been love. Love is celebrated, toasted…so its obvious that targeting Richard Gere was to garner publicity. This time, world wide publicity. And doesn’t matter if the image of India suffers. These people have no national feelings anyway. They only care about coming to power. Stripped of the political backing, how many of these “moral guardians” of our society will actually take to the streets to protest against a kiss between two celebrities, a kiss that was casual and meaningless?
Unfortunately these kind of tactics can succeed. Caste and religion based politics has always worked in this country.
(Pic sourced from The Guardian)