Some people are trying to organise creative protests against moral policing on Valentine’s Day. You may want to join them.
These public moral policing attempts, such as those we see on 14 February every year or the recent events in Mangalore, use the media to amplify their small-time vandalism and street violence to ‘national debate’. One man’s lunacy in a Mangalore becomes a billion people’s most urgent problem. The TV cameras, hungry beasts of visuals as they are, walk into the trap knowingly, voyeuristically broadcasting a crime they could have prevented by informing the police. But that’s not going to happen unless somebody bans Television Rating Points, and so the best way to counter V-Day Vandals is to feed the TV Beast with counter-visuals of pro-St. Valentine’s Day “protests”. Be creative folks – the more gimmicky and ludicrous you are the more airtime you’ll get!
There are others, then, who want an Indian Kamasutra Day on 1 March. The more the merrier.
While we are at it, it might be a good idea to ask if these good people would similarly run online campaigns for other causes – like violence against Dalits for instance? This is not to nit-pick but to point out that the issue of ‘moral policing’ needs some thinking beyond mere ‘rights’:
…there is something going on which demands a more thoughtful engagement with class-based moral divides than we have seen so far… it might be worth pondering over why it is the “liberated” woman’s body that ends up bearing the burden of festering class resentments in post-globalisation India. While defending our freedoms as women and as citizens to the bitter end, I suggest we start paying attention to the undercurrents of class that inflect so many of our urban interactions — interactions otherwise framed in terms of tradition, morality and especially, gender. [Trisha Gupta]