Posts Tagged ‘Muthalik’


Here are two issues, both equally relevant when it comes to our fundamental rights – but see how we perceive them. The first is the ‘pink chaddi’ campaign against Muthalik and the Ram Sene. The second is a campaign to end ragging, by the family of Aman Kachroo, the student who was beaten to death by his seniors at a medical school in Himachal Pradesh.

The ‘Pink Chaddi’ group was started on Facebook and had 50,000+ members in less than a week. The second, ‘Justice for Aman Kachroo’ has just 1607 and quite a few Facebook members, including your truly have been asking members to join the campaign but with little response. So, why is there empathy for pink chaddi and apathy for Aman Kachroo? Was the ‘pink chaddi’ campaign more up-market than the reason for which a 19-year-old had to give up his life? Is human life worth so little to us.

Children don’t deserve such a death – hell, no one deserves such a death. But time and again, children die or attempt suicide unable to bear the ragging at their institutions, and the authorities first attempt a cover-up; then try to taint the victim’s character, and accept the crime only when the shit hits the fan.

A cousin, who studied at one of the premier technology institutes in the country in the 1980s, told me how juniors were put through the grind when they joined. When seniors were playing cards in one of the rooms, and wanted to smoke, the juniors were ordered to become ‘ashtrays’ – they were supposed to sit on their haunches next to the seniors, with their MOUTHS OPEN so that ash could be tipped in their mouth. Ouch! To those with a morbid sense of fun and fair play, this may be much better than being beaten to death, but that’s no consolation.

Now of course, premier institutions like the one referred to above have clamped down on ragging and students who indulge in it are told to drop a year and come back next year to continue the curriculum. Freshers are now given right of way and seniors usually keep a safe distance from them for fear of being reprimanded. Now it’s the freshers who are rude with the seniors! And this was conveyed to me by a student at IIT Powai. Sadly, in all this what is lost is the spirit of camaraderie and friendship. But I guess, to avoid incidents like the one that happened with Aman Kachroo and, just yesterday, with the girl in Andhra Pradesh who tried to commit suicide because she couldn’t take the ragging, these steps are necessary.

So maybe it’s time to see beyond pink chaddis and pub going loose women, and take up the fight for Aman Kachroo’s family and also ensure that no kids, whether yours or mine, lose their lives?

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I’ve been reading with interest the response by some media personalities to the pink chaddi campaign – 25,000+ members at last count. And these aren’t like those fake sms’ you send out to some dumb reality show when you do mass voting for someone! According to Sagarika Ghose, “the battle for freedom and the battle for progress must be a sensible and a rational one; it can’t be a trivial battle where we fling coloured underwear at maniacs.” She believes it is an ‘undignified’ way to protest. So which is the dignified way to deal with “maniacs”? Methinks the lady has missed the woods for the trees. Tell us Ms, Ghose, which among the following would you say are the dignified ways: 1. File a police complaint 2. File a Public Interest Litigation? 3. Try to reason with Mr Muthalik and his ilk 4. Visit the Ram Sene office and tell them to mind their own business. 5. Complain to the local MP /MLA. I am sure we can find a whole lot more absurd ways to do it the ‘dignified’ way. Times change and ways to deal with problems change along with it. Self respecting, law abiding citizens have tried all the dignified ways mentioned above to protest but they’ve usually come up against that brick wall behind which these goons take refuge. And what happened when those goons were sent to jail. They walked free within 24 hours. Who posted bail for them? At least, the victims didn’t retaliate with a gun. Not yet anyway, because I think most people are running out of patience when it comes to dealing with second-rate punks masquerading as moral police. Ghose talks about the Nehruvian way of dealing with such incidents. Yes, one would have tried that too, but I don’t think it would have helped much if the victims went on a hunger strike outside the Vidhana Souda! This way is a lot more dignified than where some kid is pulled out of a bus and roughed up because he happened to be a Muslim or some women are molested in a pub, or couples get their faces blackened because they happen to be sitting in a garden. Here nobody gets hurt and the message gets across. And lest we forget, this is the country which sent three of its most popular leaders to a most violent death — and they too spoke of peace and non violence. The sooner we stop these mobs from taking over our lives, the better. This is not Afghanistan or Pakistan and we definitely don’t want a homegrown saffronized Taliban here. The late Rajiv Gandhi once told a heckler in the US that “people who talk of Khalistan should remember that Ranjit Singh’s capital was Lahore.” Get the message, guys?