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Immoral Policing

entertainment Updated: May 12, 2012 01:02 IST
Imran Khan
Imran Khan
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Even if you haven’t been following the news very closely, you must have heard about a recent incident in Bombay; the cops raided a nightclub, rounded up everyone inside, announced that all the girls there were prostitutes and packed them off to rehab. Which makes perfect sense… if you suffer from brain damage. But what if you don’t? For argument’s sake, let’s assume that none of the policemen involved, and none of their superior officers are walking around with a hole in their head. What then, would prompt such an action? This is going to sound alarming and maybe a bit sensationalistic, but bear with me; you ever feel like there’s a war against young people? I mean, sure, that whole parents vs teenagers thing has been going on since before satellite TV (maybe even earlier), but that was on a much smaller scale. The battle has now officially become state-sponsored.

Imran Khan (HT Photo)

Earlier on, if your parents didn’t like the way you were dressed, they’d yell at you, and either you’d change, or you’d put something over the offending article of clothing until you were out of the house, and that was the end of it. Today, if a girl wears a skirt, gangs of thugs representing the government can beat her up in the name of decency, and the police will nod sagely and say, “well, what do you expect if she was roaming around dressed like that?”. The media will raise a hue and cry, and we’ll all be extremely upset for a few weeks, and the government will sit back, put its feet up, rest its hands on it’s large belly (I tend to imagine politicians with large bellies… is that wrong?) and do absolutely nothing. To me, the message is clear: their inaction says that they support this


moral policing.



Moral policing. Let’s talk about that for a moment. Morality is a tricky thing. What’s acceptable to one person may not be to another, and that’s ok. That’s part of living in a democratic society. And policing is vital to ensure the safety and harmony of that society. Modern civilisation has evolved a certain way, and has agreed on certain guidelines of behaviour. Murder, thievery, rape… these things are deemed wrong by the vast majority of humanity, and we have created systems to stop and punish those who indulge in them. That’s moral policing at its best. But when those in power decide to use their position to impose their own definition of morality on those they are supposed to be protecting… that’s moral policing at its most terrifying.



Where do we draw the line? I said before, people’s views on right and wrong are so subjective, it’s hard to find a consensus. But I think there’s a way. If ordinary, law abiding citizens have to think twice about what they’re wearing before stepping out of their homes, if they are afraid to meet their friends in a public place because they might be attacked by thugs (in uniform or out of uniform), then I think the line has been crossed. When goons bearing the seal of our government declare that they are assaulting people to maintain decency and morality, I say that we are all under attack. Bob Dylan said, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” To me, it looks a lot like it’s blowing us all towards a boiling point. There’s only so much you can push someone around before they push back, and looking at the sheer number of young people out there… I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that push.

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