Two reasons why Muthalik’s pub attack deserved so much outrage

In my attempts to engage those who hold differing opinions, I understood one very important issue. A large number of people feel that violence by Hindu organizations gets much more attention from the media and societies than violence by Islamic elements.

The latest incident of Islamic fanatics chopping off the hand of a person has catalyzed this debate. Lots of people feel that not enough people are getting upset over it as opposed to the outrage following Pramod Muthalik’s infamous pub attack. Here was one comment on the net:

“How did we come to this pass where this class places higher priority over distributing panties to a third-rate, & small-time wannabe politician over being watchful about the more real dangers that it faces?”

So is this allegation true? Did we indeed make a greater outcry over Muthalik’s pub raiding incident than we are doing over the hand chopping incident in Kerala?

Picture Credit: Manishwa.com

Muthalik in Pink Chaddis

Muthalik in Pink Chaddis - Courtesy Manishwa

The answer is “yes.” We did. But it’s not because we’re trying to “pacify Muslims”, “demonize Hindu culture”, or are being manipulated by the media or politicians. There are two reasons why there was greater outrage over Muthalik.

The first is that Muthalik blatantly and openly went after all women who “offended Hindu culture.” In other words, he was moralizing to the whole country – sending out a message that no one was safe who dared go against his personal little outlook – and he was entitled to his actions. The hand choppers attacked a specific person. In reality, this too is a way of threatening everyone, but they weren’t so damn blatant about it. They didn’t stand in front of media people and proclaim their bigotry to the whole world. Muthalik on the other hand gave press statements claiming to be the moral voice of the country. By doing that he obviously pissed people off a lot more than crazy fanatics who hurried through a gruesome act.

Also, Muthalik’s violence was against women specifically. It was a double outrage. Not just against pubbing, drinking and dressing, but against women specifically. I mean what the hell?

In other words, the hand choppers inspired fear. Muthalik inspired outrage. Imagine for a moment that after chopping off this poor Professor’s hand, the culprits had waited for media people and with a smug look boldly told the whole country that they would come for every Christian, Hindu, or Atheist who dared insult Mohammed. Does anyone think we would have kept quiet? The outrage would have been 10 times worse than what we released on Muthalik.

The second reason is that Muthalik and his type are politicians. Violence is bad enough without having the sanction of those who are trying to be in power. Because of this, Muthalik was a much more dangerous threat. If he ever gets a chance to wield actual power, he has the ability to impose his idiocy on all of us! Naturally he’s a much bigger threat. And this is a justified fear since he was even caught on tape offering to start riots for a price.

The difference between Muthalik and the hand choppers is like the difference between the Mafia and regular thieves. The Mafia is organized, runs businesses, and is more systemic and entrenched. Regular thieves are dangerous, but can’t do much worse than steal. We naturally hate the Mafia more than normal thieves!

I hope this clears up some of the misunderstanding for those who feel that we only focus on Hindu violence and Muslim violence. We’re not ignoring any violence, but we focus on that which has the capacity to do much more damage.

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Comments

  1. //The difference between Muthalik and the hand choppers is like the difference between the Mafia and regular thieves. The Mafia is organized, runs businesses, and is more systemic and entrenched. Regular thieves are dangerous, but can’t do much worse than steal. We naturally hate the Mafia more than normal thieves!//

    You summed it.

    And one more thing, his action was like those Shabab something – a Taliban group who wanted to grope women because they claimed women were not permitted to wear artificial support to make themselves look attractive. (Sraboney blogged about these creative creeps) – He tried to pass off molestations as pious actions to protect what he claimed was Hindu culture. He was much worse than even Nithyanand who didn’t beat or tore off women’s clothing.

    Please may I borrow that stunning picture to put it on my side bar?

    Reply

  2. And it’s so silly that anybody thought Hindu women identified with this kind of man, I think he is wearing one of these in this photograph.

    http://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2009/02/12/because-chaddis-are-foreverphotos/

    Reply

    • In reply to Indian Homemaker

      I think the poor guy was really shocked when this happened. We must ensure that something like this happens to each time so that hooligans will know they'll become famous – but in the wrong way!

      Reply

  3. This is a very intelligent piece. Well argued, well written, and convincing. Unlike so much news that comes in sound bytes, this explains something important about how and why we choose to respond to the many bad things that confront us in the world.

    Reply

  4. Oh, I love the picture!

    There are others who believe Muslim terrorists get more attention than Hindu ones…This is what Nimmy has to say:

    “But it,it also amuses me ,that why all hindutva terrorists are getting away,while all muslim terrorists are getting undue attention they deserve. Even a thief is portrayed as a potential terrorist but not many RSS guys are seen on TV,though they too are included in many blast cases…Maybe this is what they call secularism.” (http://nimis540.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/afzal-should-be-punished-muslim-leader/)

    I don’t know who is getting more attention…All I know is that I want this idiocy to stop…It’s not helping anybody…

    Reply

    • In reply to Sraboney

      Tell me about it – it’s idiocy only.

      What when some people get hung up on certain ideas, they need to be engaged so that at least a few will be willing to listen. The only thing is, they think the same thing about us! In all my “experiments” till now, I’ve just managed to reinforce existing ideas :(

      Reply

      • In reply to bhagwad

        Having opinions is a right, but what really gets my goat is when people are not willing to listen to contrary opinions…

        Reply

      • In reply to Sraboney

        But the people I’ve been debating with feel that we’re not listening to them! I think I’m willing to listen – but I need a higher burden of proof.

        Don’t know if I’m any better though…

        Reply

  5. =>
    "A large number of people feel that violence by Hindu organizations gets much more attention from the media and societies than violence by Islamic elements."
    =>

    No, not feel. It is true. It is based on facts. Again, do your homework. By using words like "feel", you are being intellectually dishonest.

    Take, for example, the two incidents that happened in the not-so-distant-past.
    1. Taslima Nasreen assaulted in Hyderabad. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEeuCwxq6k4)
    2. Editor and publisher arrested for reprinting an article by Johann Hari. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/edit

    Now, compare that to the outrage over Muthalik and chopping of hands. You'll find your answer – that is, if you are really honest and interested in finding it. As they say, it is impossible to wake up those who are pretending to be asleep.

    As for Muthalik vs. chopping of hand, I find it interesting that you feel more threatened by words than by deeds. Usually, basic common sense tells me that it should be the other way round. And it is the media that hypes up threat by people like Muthalik – resulting in people like you and IHM, like sheep, multiplying that outrage – whereas the media slinks away when incidents like the above two happen. So, basically, you're not really applying your mind and doing some independent analysis of your own, but merely echoing the media and being outraged when it tells you to be outraged.

    BTW, there were a few ministers from the UPA that voiced their criticism of the burgeoning pub culture, but then again, going by your comments and posts, it seems like it's really impossible for you – at this stage – to look at events without using labels like "conservative", "right-wing" , "liberal" etc. and to rise up above such labeling. I'm hoping you'll evolve to a different place wrt your analysis in a few years as you continue reflecting over these issues. Remember, that article in the Boston Globe equally applies to you – as is quite evident from your sophistry and rationalizations in your comments on the post where you tried to reach out and have a dialog. :)

    Reply

    • In reply to Kaffir

      You've ignored both the reasons I gave for why Muthalik got more outrage. Please read what I wrote and reply to both my points if you wish to have a meaningful dialog.

      Reply

  6. Bhagwad, read this article http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/07/11/how_facts_backfire/?page=1

    “Most of us like to believe that our opinions have been formed over time by careful, rational consideration of facts and ideas, and that the decisions based on those opinions, therefore, have the ring of soundness and intelligence. In reality, we often base our opinions on our beliefs, which can have an uneasy relationship with facts. And rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions. Worst of all, they can lead us to uncritically accept bad information just because it reinforces our beliefs. This reinforcement makes us more confident we’re right, and even less likely to listen to any new information.”

    Reply

    • In reply to Sraboney

      Wow – that’s quite an eye opening article. Especially these two paras:

      “The more threatened people feel, the less likely they are to listen to dissenting opinions, and the more easily controlled they are.”

      and

      The participants who self-identified as conservative believed the misinformation on WMD and taxes even more strongly after being given the correction. With those two issues, the more strongly the participant cared about the topic — a factor known as salience — the stronger the backfire. The effect was slightly different on self-identified liberals: When they read corrected stories about stem cells, the corrections didn’t backfire, but the readers did still ignore the inconvenient fact that the Bush administration’s restrictions weren’t total.

      Reply

  7. I did read it, and my comment was the response.

    “[..] but we focus on that which has the capacity to do much more damage.”

    Yet you ignore the actual damage, starting with multiple attacks and bomb-blasts by Islamic terrorists from across the border (including killing of Jews in Mumbai – anti-Semitism akin to Nazism), the attacks on freedom of expression and the gruesome chopping of hand. And that’s just in India.

    You might want to google Kurt Westergaard, Theo van Gogh (Europe) and Comedy Central (USA) to find out who or what not only has the capacity, but indulges in actual violence.

    Reply

    • In reply to Kaffir

      I'm aware of these attacks. So what do you suggest I do? Blame all Muslims because of these people?

      Instead of that, it would be better off to blame all humans since every terrorist till now has been human! Kill all humans and there will be no more terrorism :)

      Reply

  8. The media, had prior information on what is going to happen, chose to let it happen so that they could shoot it and claim TRP rating, rather than informing the police..

    IF they had informed police, this very incident would have been prevented? Why did they NOT do?

    Are they not to be prosecuted for this offense?

    Reply

  9. My point is why is the media who filmed that pub attack scene NOT prosecuted? Or why none of the so called liberals and intellectuls NOT even discuss this?

    Reply

    • In reply to senthil

      I can only guess that they wanted to film it since it would make a good story. There many be other reasons, but I can’t think of any right now.

      Of course, they should have alerted the police. Maybe they were told in advance that no one would be hurt. If they knew someone was going to get hurt then I’m sure they would not have been informed in the first place.

      But that’s really no excuse. Maybe our media just needs to become more mature, and a few years later these issues will come up…

      Reply

      • In reply to bhagwad

        You are not directly answering my question.. and you are shielding the media from their crime..

        Do you know, as per the law, when some one knows of a crime in advance, but deliberately failed to inform the police, its a crime..

        Its very clear, the media had arrived at the scene knowing in advance of what is going to happen, but did not want to prevent it, because they want to shoot the beating of the girls.. This is also a serious crime equivalent to the muthalik and his team who actually did it..

        Now muthalik had been arrested, cases filed, and proceedings happening in the court..

        What about the media? Why are they NOT prosecuted?

        /** I can only guess that they wanted to film it since it would make a good story. **/

        Sir.. look at the veracity of your own reasoning.. so, if i want to make a good story, i can calmly shoot a murder which i know in advace, instead of informing police to prevent it..

        Is this not a perversion of those urban mindset?

        /** Maybe they were told in advance that no one would be hurt. If they knew someone was going to get hurt then I’m sure they would not have been informed in the first place.
        **/

        Deliberate defending of those media.. Why cant some one defend muthalik on the same line saying that his boys were sent for mere protest and that he did not know his boys would actually beat those women..

        Reply

      • In reply to senthil

        Am I defending the media? I clearly said there was no excuse whatsoever…

        "What about the media? Why are they NOT prosecuted?"

        I can only assume that till now no one has filed a case against them yet.

        Is this not a perversion of those urban mindset?

        I didn't say you could shoot a murder. I'm not making excuses for the media at all. And what is "urban" about it?

        "he did not know his boys would actually beat those women.."

        As a person who instigated it, he was responsible for the actions of his goondas. In addition, he openly threatened violence in front of the cameras.

        Reply

  10. /** I can only assume that till now no one has filed a case against them yet. **/

    Then why you have not questioned it in your blog? I understand, its your individual right to write what you want, but i am debating the accountability part of it..

    /** And what is “urban” about it? **/

    The urban mindset, which thinks it is the moral authority, sets moral standards to itself and all others, and then goes on to brand anyone who violates it..

    Reply

    • In reply to senthil

      Then why you have not questioned it in your blog?

      I didn’t think about it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention – I’m questioning it now.

      The urban mindset, which thinks it is the moral authority, sets moral standards to itself and all others

      Nothing prevents rural folk from putting their ideas across, challenging orders in court etc. Everyone has a right to free speech as much as anyone else…

      Reply

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