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Yes, we can

Good Indian girls can’t Drink, can’t Smoke, can’t dance and can’t date. Team HT City reports.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2009 18:26 IST
Team HT City
Team HT City
Hindustan Times

It’s terrorism, say women, on the fundamentalist attack on female revellers at a Mangalore pub. “The act was akin to what the Taliban or a hardline group from Pakistan would do,” says actress-filmmaker Pooja Bhatt. “Is this what we have become as a nation?”

That’s a question everyone is asking, whether or not they have the cushion of fame. Actress Bipasha Basu calls the attack “atrocious” and describes the attackers as “monsters and a menace to society”, while Asma, a Delhi-based journalist, demands to know, “Who made them God, or the keepers of our morality? Where does it say that women should not drink? In
religious texts? Why go on about Afghanistan and the Taliban — this seems to be the Taliban in India.” Pallavi Thakur, 24, sees the attack as an assault on fundamental rights. “Women have no independence to speak of in this country,” she feels.

Cut the crap
What’s still more infuriating is that more often than not, attacks on women come disguised as ‘corrective action’ in the name of religion, tradition and culture. After lipstick-wearing women were called terrorists by BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Prasad Attavar of Sri Ram Sene, the group behind the Mangalore raid, said that it was a “spontaneous reaction against women who flouted traditional Indian norms of decency”.

Women refuse to tolerate such drivel, especially as these ‘spontaneous attacks’ come with political backing. “In the name of our religion and our culture, politicians are breeding hooliganism. We are degenerating,” says Bipasha. “What culture? The same culture that permits men to beat and maim women to forward their selfish political goals?” asks Pooja. “I spit on a culture that allows this, then looks away or remains mute.”

Whose life is it, anyway?

“It’s appalling,” says author Advaita Kala, “that someone could invade someone’s right to choose. No one has the right to tell anyone how to live their life as long as they do it legally.” Actress and activist Nafisa Ali echoes that: “No one has the right to dictate anyone.”

Anger is boiling over in the blogosphere as well. “If groups like this think they can do anything in the name of religion, then they must be shown the way out by banning their party as well as their so-called ideologies,” says Youngpragmatists. “Why aren’t they being BANNED? And what a way to remind us that our Constitution guarantees us Liberty, Equality and even JUSTICE!” yells Homemaker.

“These local terrorists have to be dealt with as severely as the foreign ones,” states Astralwicks.

First Published: Jan 27, 2009 18:24 IST