Sunday, February 15, 2009

And the debate continues

The recent attack on women in a pub at Mangalore has me pretty worked up. I believe that the time has come for all men honest and true to stand up and be counted. I am publishing a few letters written by others and me in the Statesman, Calcutta.










Highly objectionable
Sir, ~ A section of the media is creating a storm in a tea cup by describing the Mangalore pub attack as a “Hindu Taliban act”. Undoubtedly, it is unfortunate that some misguided young ladies go to pubs not only for carnal desire, but also for monetary gains. Their way of propagating feminism is highly objectionable. It is boosted by a section of the media publishing photographs of scantily dressed ladies. All right thinking persons, irrespective of political differences, should launch a nationwide movement against this. ~ Yours, etc., Bholanath Bhattacharya, Bhatpara, 2 February

my reply

What Logic!

Sir [8th February 2009]

Bholanath Bhattacharya’s letter in today’s Statesman is a lamentable attempt at defending the indefensible. The whole nation has seen in cold horror what the bullyboys of fascist Hindutva are capable of. They had no qualms about beating women in front of the camera as if these women were hardened criminals. The logic of Mr. Bhattacharya’s contention that ‘many ladies go to pubs not only for carnal desire’ can also be utilized to say that ‘many ladies [and gentlemen too] go to colleges not only for carnal desire’ and hence ladies must be prohibited from going to colleges. Dictators and other malefactors of mankind, being totally immoral in public life have a fetish to enforce what they consider to be moral in private life.



Time to ponder [14th February 2009]
Sir, ~ Apropos of the letter “What logic!” (8 February), Arindam Bandyopadhyay might have serious objections to the views of Bholanath Bhattacharya, but it is high time we ponder over the merits or demerits of pub culture. Though the brutal attack on the Mangalore pub by the hooligans of Sri Ram Sena can never be applauded, there is no doubt that pub culture encourages free mixing of both sexes where skimpily clad girls mingle, dance, smoke and drink with boys. Thanks to glamorisation of pre-marital sex and eve-teasing in Bollywood films as well as bare-dare advertising campaigns continuously flashed through the media and hoardings, the female body is increasingly being viewed as a mere commodity.And far from protesting against the commercialisation of female bodies, the brainwashed girls are under the illusion that display of bodies and sexual adventures are the “in-thing”. Thus, not only are cases of abortion increasing by leaps and bounds, sexual diseases and AIDS are also making a steady entry into society. ~ Yours, etc., Kajal Chatterjee, Sodepur, 9 February

My reply


Sir [not published yet]


I wish to thank Kajal Chatterjee for his letter ‘Time to ponder’ in today’s Statesman. I have worked in the remotest district of West Bengal in the late eighties and early nineties of the previous century. Most of the nursing homes there did a roaring business performing Medical Termination of Pregnancy [abortions] on unmarried teenage girls. There were no pubs then and cable TV was a pipedream. Incidentally the champions of orthodoxy had attacked the bill for MTP, on the grounds that it would usher in an immoral and shameless society. Are we the better or worse for it?

The pub in question is a licensed one and pays its taxes and excise duties. The revenue so earned is utilized by the state, like all revenue, for its benevolent activities. Ladies who frequent pubs are not run of the mill naiveties but savvy individuals who know how to take care of themselves. It requires no mention that very few men will visit pubs if women are barred.

What is required today is no stringent moral policing but proper sex education to all students after puberty. More Buladis and fewer Mutaliks.




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