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Nov 10 2012

Age of Kali – Moral Police

The Indian rule of mob is well known. When my bus ran over a drunken pedestrian who slipped and fell into traffic the result was the entire population of the bus doing a collective hit and run and fleeing the scene. I didn’t. Me and a few other medical students tried (well succeeded) in saving the man’s life.

It was my first run in with India’s “Moral Police”. The Moral Police is the impromptu mob that forms to fight perceived injustice or immorality. It is the worst aspects of “speaking as a mother” and lynch mob mentality put together. A mob had formed to “avenge” the unknown drunkard and the only visible victims for their justice were the blood soaked medics who had saved a man’s life. Medicine has the kind of power to deflect these mobs (No one wants to irk the people who can save your life) so in  this case the white coats prevailed over the mob, but it could have very easily turned into this.

If the link is down? TL:DR in an incident of Moral Policing, a muslim woman and a hindu man were attacked by a mob for travelling together.

On Wednesday night a group of 20 individuals attacked the two individuals who were believed to fit the dubious indian concept of “misbehaving”. Which is apparently “Two people travelling together of different genders and maybe different religions”. Because forming an angry mob to beat the crap out of two people is perfectly moral but people with different genitals hanging out together is totally wrong.

This could be “politics” as usual but it could just as well be a bunch of people who went out looking for trouble based on the perceived destruction of morality. It’s happened before. Usually fast food joints, “western” clothing stores and people in clubs and bars feel the righteous sting of these pillars of the community. Most infamously is the assault on Valentine’s Day which has become an annual practice.

This is nothing. This is par for the course for this kind of behaviour.

This also didn’t really make the papers.

If that goes down? Well… Two people fell in love and got married. Aww… The problem is one of them was a high caste girl and the boy was a dalit (Graphic Photos are linked here). A harijan. An untouchable.

What ensued was the formation of the morality police who even held their own goddamn court to decide to break up this marriage. The police stepped in (rightly) to protect the couple. The mob decided to take revenge by torching and robbing the dalit community in Naikkankottai in the Dharmapuri district. A 268 homes were destroyed in the violence.

Why? Because of caste. Because the perceived shame of a man whose daughter married an untouchable. In that shame and loss of honour he committed suicide. The Morality Police don’t see it as “two people who love each other getting married and a some idiot behaving like a spoilt brat” but “Untouchable steals woman to sexually violate. Stupid girl doesn’t know anything. Father kills self because his honour is besmirched. Let’s go beat some uppity untouchables and steal their shit.”.

This is unacceptable. It’s nearly 70 years after Gandhi’s dalit army marched for Indian independence. Where the Harijans (Children of God) laid their lives on the line for India as a whole. The fact remains that most harijans still face incredible discrimination. (edit – I noted a lot of statements about the Gandhi Harijan dealie. I was unaware of this issue. The OP will still stand but I accept that perhaps Gandhi isn’t the best example of uplift considering his rather quaint beliefs.)

And it won’t change. Caste is still going strong, especially in the digital age. There is too much money in the politics of caste for it to be stamped out. It is a lead weight on the progress of India as a country. If you must have honour then we should be disappointed. There is more shame in Indians still follow this bullshit than in two people loving each other.

10 comments

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  1. 1
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    avicenna:
    from your second link-

    The mob, numbering more than 2500, had engaged in the vandalism saying the ‘humiliation’ caused by the marriage and the refusal of dalits to send the girl back home had resulted in the suicide of G Nagarajan, father of the girl.

    [emphasis mine]
    So the woman in question-the one who is affected by this situation-gets no say whatsoever? She’s treated like property to be passed around, as opposed to a full human being with the right to determine her own course. That’s fucked up.

  2. 2
    Avicenna

    Well she gets a say… The mob however doesn’t want to listen to anything she says. You know how mobs are. They never really ask the important questions. If they did they wouldn’t be a mob.

    Remember. The mob has the IQ of the stupidest person there divided by the total number of people in the mob.

  3. 3
    wilsim

    “There is more shame in Indians still follow this bullshit than in two people loving each other.”

    How does it affect them at all?

    Stupid fucking mob…

  4. 4
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Is “refused to send the girl back home” the most accurate description, or is “refused to admit that they were terribly, horribly, no good, very bad wrong for thinking that maybe she could marry and live with the man she loved”?

  5. 5
    Avicenna

    The community stood by them. Well they kind of stood by the married couple until the mob showed up.

  6. 6
    Lije

    A nitpick – dalits don’t identify as Harijans. In fact they consider that label offsensive given that it was Gandhi who coined it and he was very much in favor of preserving varnashrama dharma. Some background to this – Gandhi’s views on caste. Ambedkar explains why Gandhi’s ideas on caste are wrong.

  7. 7
    Avicenna

    I have heard them use both terms interchangeably when discussing themselves. This may be one of those things that has taken a life of it’s own. I shall look in to it.

  8. 8
    lorn

    This happens a lot when people are under stress and feeling an inchoate need to get a grip and take control over some, often any, aspect of their lives. I’ve seen it in a milder form here in a southern community which has had its economic, and thus its social, structure collapse. Most of the people involved are immersed in situations that they have no control over.

    If they bitch back at the boss they lose their job, and their sick wives insurance. If they complain about neighbors they are further isolated. And they don’t dare complain about the authorities. So they walk around with alarms of how unfair and abusive everything is going off in their heads. But they can’t fight back.

    And then they see something that looks wrong, and it is a couple of people who they don’t know. People they can express their outrage at. People who they can make to feel like victims. People who can’t fight back. And it all comes out at once, in the ugliest way possible.

    Essentially it is victims who attempt to re-level a situation, recapture their power, by victimizing others.

  9. 9
    gerry stevens

    oh i know this sort of sexual policing by numbskulls in india and islam is very common class driven and manipulated and very very ugly. the answer is to educate these people out of the viciously primitive ”morality” of the old religions of hidden evil. something real put in their hearts instead? i reckon old gandhi failed them here. he should have told them morality is trumped by love. its all about social cooperation on one level but soon its about the individual meeting and becoming like to God. and all the way up its the story of how the wolf learns compassion. compassion….not how to throw rocks at the defenceless. in comparison to this simple idea every religion on earth to date is absolutely worthless. yet even the most primitive apes of india and islam and the lost west can learn and do it…

  10. 10
    sa

    Nice article and kudos…but since when is Gandhi’s name linked with upliftment of dalits:

    “This is unacceptable. It’s nearly 70 years after Gandhi’s dalit army marched for Indian independence. Where the Harijans (Children of God) laid their lives on the line for India as a whole.”…

    in fact he collectively called the whole community “bastards” by terming them as ‘children of gOD’…if it was not innocent, it was certainly vile and insensitive…the intensity of the whole article seems to diminished by invoking gandhi and dalit upliftment…this is how Ambedkar viewed the scrouge of casteism in India
    ‘Ambedkar held a view that was the exact opposite: “Under Hinduism scavenging was not a matter of choice, it was a matter of force. What does Gandhism do? It seeks to perpetuate this system by praising scavenging as the noblest service to society! What is the use of telling the scavenger that even a Brahmin is prepared to do scavenging when it is clear that according to Hindu Shastras and Hindu notions even if a Brahmin did scavenging he would never be subject to the disabilities of one who is a born scavenger?” Ambedkar argued that in India a man is not a scavenger because of his work, but because of his birth irrespective of whether he does scavenging or not.’ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?281646

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