Saturday, February 14, 2009

V-day: Too much publicity emboldened the "cultural twits"

The ruckus created by Ram Sene goons has created such a stir in the media that their activities - and condemnation that came pouring from across the spectrum - seem to have overshadowed even the India-Pakistan tensions in the run-up to the Valentine’s Day.

The middle aged, bald man called Pramod Muthalik , hitherto an unknown figure, suddenly became a national celebrity and a VVIP for the government of Karnataka. There is probably not a single newspaper or magazine, not to speak of tabloids, which has not continuously carried the news of Muthalik with his photograph. The leading news channels spend hours debating and discussing Muthalik and his cohorts in the Ram Sene after the Mangalore attack against girls in a pub.

As the valentine’s day is in the air, the boundary lines have been drawn. While Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and Ram Sena are out in the mainland India, the Asom Sena are doing moral policing on the V-day in Assam.

We may like or not like the idea of celebrating love on a particular day called Valentine’s Day. But surely, we do not have the right (not to speak about ‘license’) to attack or abuse others, least to women who dress “scantily”, go to the pubs and hold boy’s hands. That is none of our business. But the publicity that these socalled protectors of “Indian culture” have received has only boosted their morale to go on rampage. In a way, the media has helped these twits by over-reacting and providing them 24x7 publicity, front-page coverage and editorial write-ups.

I think they will indulge in anti-social acts like vandalizing the shops selling valentine cards, rough up couples, etc. and wake up next day to see their front-page news everywhere. They will smile, sip a cup of tea or coffee, and tell themselves: "we love it".

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