Our lawmakers seem to have lost all objectivity about the issue of women’s safety in India. Every other decision of late is about that in some way. A few weeks ago, it was pornography, now it’s drinking on beaches that’s apparently driving crimes against women. Thankfully, the Goa government’s recent call to ban consuming alcohol on beaches does not include licensed shacks… yet.
According to a news report from Panjim, apart from the primary reason, to avoid littering, this rule was brought into effect keeping in mind the nuisance against women tourists by drunk hoodlums loitering beaches. Unless they’re also barring intoxicated people from the beaches, how will this help protect women? Where’s the one place potential hoodlums would like to go chill after drinking at shacks? I wonder.
Added police patrolling around the beaches, putting up more street lights and increasing security obviously aren’t options, because they involve doing actual work. Issuing a ban is easier. Supporting the ban, Kishen Kumar, Goa director general of police, raised a vital question: “What kind of human beings like to drink on beaches?”
His thought-provoking question reminded me of Mumbai’s former police commissioner, Arup Patnaik. He was equally curious about these, human beings, Kumar spoke of. In a 2011 interview, Patnaik was asked about the diminishing nightlife options in Mumbai. Referring to those who work late hours, Patnaik had responded rhetorically, “You tell me who lives that life...” Late hours in a city like ours? Are you kidding? Not a single soul, sir.
Also active in the hunt for such people is Aftab Siddique, an activist and chairperson of Khar ALM (Advanced Locality Management). She once said to me in an interview: “We understand if you want to go out twice a month, but twice a week? If they (‘the human beings’) do, then they must be indulging in other activities (sic).”The truth is that many of these “human beings” work late hours, enjoy drinking on beaches and don’t mind unwinding twice a week. Our lawmakers’ search for them would end only if they tried looking around them. But our government doesn’t understand the language of this generation.
The lawmakers’ disconnect with the real world and, hence, the dysfunctional laws of our country, is palpable and disappointing. And the emergence of bright questions like “What kind of human beings like to drink on beaches?” further reduces their credibility. Don’t be surprised if soon the government feels the green cover in Mumbai is a security threat. You know, because trees block street lights, cast shadows and provide those with evil-intentions opportunities for no-good deeds. Off with the trees next?