Tag Archives: moral policing

Where Judges Lead Societies Astray: Bobby Kunhu

This is a guest post by BOBBY KUNHU

Background

That subjective morality influences judicial interpretation of law is a given. But, this influence has to remain within the paradigm set by the law and cannot operate outside it or breaking it. So there are two moralities that effect the outcome of any case, one the morality of the law itself and second how the morality of the judge works in the interpretation of the law. It is in this context that judicial attitude towards sexuality has to be analyzed. And for this first the entrenched patriarchy of the legal profession has to be acknowledged. The best evidence for this is the representation of women at every level of the profession from the bench to senor advocates to advocates on record to the lowest echelons of the bar and judicial bureaucracy.
Indian law with respect to sexuality is in a Victorian time warp. It continues to criminalize any sexual activity that is not penile-vaginal penetration, so much so that till recently when the definition of rape was amended and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act was enacted this was the paradigm of penalizing non-consensual sexual predation. Add to it the ingredients of individual judges’ patriarchy and accumulated religious and social conditioning.

Continue reading Where Judges Lead Societies Astray: Bobby Kunhu

Moral Police-Police!

 

The Kerala police has once more revealed how utterly unreconstructed it is since colonial times, in their brutal attack on transgender people in the city of Kochi. Stuck in 19th century Victorian morality on the one hand, and in the unabashed sense of power that only colonial authority can bequeath, these policemen thought it perfectly alright to use violence to correct what they perceive as a ‘moral problem’, sex work and that too, by transgendered persons. Continue reading Moral Police-Police!

UGC Guidelines on the Safety and Security of Students in Higher Educational Institutions – Protecting Students or Building Walls ? Sujata Chandra

Guest Post by Sujata Chandra

The University Grants Commission has issued a set of ‘Guidelines on Safety of Students On and Off Campuses in Higher Educational Institutions‘ in April 2015, which is beginning to be discussed recently by students and faculty in many universities and higher educational institutions (HEI). They begin by discussing the height of walls and kind of barbed wire that are needed to ‘fence’ in higher educational institutions. But the most disturbing thing is the kind of walls and barbed wire they seek to install in the minds of students.

The ‘Guidelines’ feature a number of problematic provisions in the name of assuring a ‘safe and secure learning environment’ for students. These provisions, if implemented, will simply assert the state’s notion of morality and end up transforming students into submissive entities. The vision of ‘students’ in these guidelines is that of infantile beings who require ‘permission’ from authority figures (university administration, law enforcement officials and ‘parents’) at every stage of their life on and off campus.

One of the key provisions relates to the necessity of setting up police stations within university campuses. The presence of police forces within university campuses can only have a ‘chilling effect’ on student life, especially with regard to the quality of political activism and discussion. Universities are meant to be spaces of liberty and autonomy, and the presence of policemen on campus does not bode well for either. One can clearly envisage university authorities asking students to obtain ‘police permission’ to hold meetings, protests, screenings and simple gatherings. Ostensibly, the presence of a police station on campus is supposed to act as a deterrent to sexual harassment and sexual violence. Continue reading UGC Guidelines on the Safety and Security of Students in Higher Educational Institutions – Protecting Students or Building Walls ? Sujata Chandra

Images from Kiss of Love Gathering in Delhi: Ishan Tankha

Guest Post by ISHAN TANKHA

Every time my girlfriend puts her arms around me while we are out  on our terrace i end up first doing a quick scan of the windows that look down at us to see if we are visible to anyone, it’s almost  an instinctive reaction. Mind you, one that doesn’t win me much affection from her ,understandably! It’s not that I care but I do notice them looking, and it’s always disapproving. Unfortunately, It’s not just my neighbours.

After the ‘Kiss of Love ‘ protests in Kochi and Kolkota it was Delhi’s turn and the few hundred who turned up to stand up for their right to not be morally policed did a fantastic job countering the right wing hooligans, for whom showing love or affection to one of our choosing is ‘immoral’.  The police spent it’s time not allowing the peaceful protesters from marching to the RSS headquarters, their intended destination, pushing and shoving them.  While pleading with, instead of arresting those who threatened and abused with impunity.

It’s not over of course, if it’s not a skirt wearing girl being stopped from entering a building or a cafe being trashed, there will be another reason to collect and be heard.
Maybe tomorrow we’ll give my neighbours a matinee to gawk at.Meanwhile, here are some pictures I took at the Kiss of Love gathering in Jhandewalan, Delhi.

Continue reading Images from Kiss of Love Gathering in Delhi: Ishan Tankha

The ‘Occupy Library’ Protest in EFLU, Hyderabad: Anonymous

Guest Post by a student who wishes to remain anonymous

The recent incidents in the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad, shows yet another move from the part of the administration to bypass democratic procedures and suppress the voice of the student community. Ever since she took charge, the current VC Sunaina Singh has managed to acquire infamy for her anti-student and totalitarian mode of governance. The most recent one was closing down the common reading room for students, which was functional 24*7. The initial reason given was that it was under renovation. Later, notifications were put out stating that the previous reading room will be attached to the library (which closes down at 8pm on weekdays and at 6pm on weekend). Separate reading rooms were allotted for male and female students in their respective hostels, each of which cannot accommodate more than 20 students at a time (the total strength of the university is 2500+).

This decision, in effect, meant that boys and girls had no place to study/ work together after the stipulated working hours of the library. The authorities even posed the question as to why it was necessary that boys and girls have to study together. Excuse my hyperbole, but probably the next step would be to prohibit the formation of mixed groups for class works, assignments and presentations.

This particular incident of closing down the common reading room has to be viewed by placing it in the context of the larger issue- the regulations imposed on the students over the past one year and attempts to curb the liberal values that EFLU has always held up.  Continue reading The ‘Occupy Library’ Protest in EFLU, Hyderabad: Anonymous

Mobpublic vs. Counterpublic in Kerala

[with inputs from Baiju John]

Recent events in Kerala convince me that we need to think more closely about the ways in which our political public life is being slowly overwhelmed by something that is profoundly anti-public but somehow manages to resemble it — I’m tempted to call it the Mobpublic. I’m of course not referring to formal politics, where political parties and powerful communities continue to squabble without any serious difference in their programmes. Very little of either the political or the public survives in them; all one hears for most of the time are the tales of internal squabbling which is neither political (yes, despite all of V S Achuthanandan’s efforts to coopt oppositional civil social struggles) nor public. Perhaps the decline of the political is a condition for the rise of the mobpublic.

Continue reading Mobpublic vs. Counterpublic in Kerala

Valentine’s day and protest in Bangalore, 2009

A friend said that last week in Bangalore and the drama(s) around Valentine’s Day would make a wonderful PhD thesis if one had the time and the distance. Two things are of relevance here.

One, the spread of communal politics that is inherently violent and divisive is not new to our country. Moral policing forming a major part of it and translating primarily into the control of the everyday lives of women, control over the institutions that could keep the regressive ideas around religion and caste in place such as marriage have been the standard points of attack in many parts of the world and in India. To maintain the notion of the ‘other’ that these divisive forces base their politics and everyday activities, we should never meet or get to know the ‘other’. And thus the attacks on young people who had friends across communities. It is these incidents that have sometimes spiraled into well-planned, thoroughly executed, state-sponsored carnage of people from certain communities, namely the imaginary ‘other’. Continue reading Valentine’s day and protest in Bangalore, 2009