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. @Senthil

    I think it’s a big accusation to make that the media knew in advance about the attacks on the women and they failed to inform the police. Would you have any specific evidence that points to media complacency in this matter? i.e. do you have any evidence that suggests that the hooligans had informed them in advance that THEY WILL BEAT WOMEN in the pub? If you don’t have any such evidence, you are making baseless allegations against the media in my opinion.

    Cheers!
    AD

    Reply

  2. @AD

    Thanks.. but there may NOT be always an online evidence to provide.. we have to rely on interpretations, inferences and enquiries..

    You know.. many of the housewives support Muthalik, but they dont express this at public..

    We need to acknowledge, that the middle class house holders, feel insecure about the society and various other things, that they dont like.. they want their daughters to study, get a decent job, and settle in life peacefully.. but when they send their daughters to colleges, or other places, they always have a fear that their daughter may deviate to such indecent places like pubs, etc..

    There are many indias we have.. the minority westernised india, where pubs, drinking, discothe are their identities.. a large middle class india, where family, family values, relations, family customs, religion, spirituality are their identities .. and a labour class india, where poverty, sufferings, etc are their identities..

    The westernised indians are preying upon the middle class india, and unleash all types of intellectual assault.. the middle class india, cannot do anything as they are extremely soft.. however, the lower class india, which shares many of the sensitivities of middle class, attempts something bold like this pub attack.. and the westernised upper class india, starts banishing the other two..

    Just my points to ponder.. the media always are under the control of these upper class indians..

    Reply

    • In reply to senthil

      @Senthil [August 25, 2010 at 2:30 am]

      You have an interesting point, taken in the abstract. Unfortunately, once exposed to facts, it starts falling apart like wet cardboard. Bear with me – I tend to be verbose – while I direct your attention to your own words in a separate post.

      Reply

  3. @AD,

    If media did not know in advance, how come they were present there in the pub.. are you saying, that these media persons came there to cover how those girls and boys dance in pubs?

    Reply

  4. @Senthil

    1) "This is like saying, that if some one seduces a woman, it is up to the woman to respond or not.."

    Yes. That's right. It should be up to the woman to decide whether or not to respond to such advances. By the way, I hope you talking about seduction and not eve-teasing; these two are very different!

    2) "Or will you say “LEt the parents instruct their daughter to carry condoms always in their handbag to prevent pregnancy”.."

    Yes. It's the parents' duty to tell their children to be careful in life. Sex is a fact of life and whether you like or not, children WILL have sex. It's better to tell them to be careful than telling them not to have sex at all because that's simply impossible to achieve!

    3) "First of all, pubs, discothes, brothels are all social evils.."

    That's YOUR opinion and you are absolutely free to hold that opinion. But you also have to accept that others don't share this opinion and you have to give them equal amount of freedom to hold their own opinions.

    Listen my friend, no one's out there to "lure" anyone into doing "immoral things", if you consider drinking alcohol or having sex immoral in the first place! And even if someone feels the "need to save these girls from being lured", bashing them up is hardly the way to go about it! Don't you think?

    Let me ask you this – what if someone who believes that vegetarian food is the best food and eating non-veg is immoral? Then this person goes about attacking all butcheries, all restaurants serving non-veg food in the name of vegetarianism. What if this person claims that the non-veg restaurants are luring people who otherwise wouldn't want to eat non-veg? Do you see how absurd it is?

    Reply

  5. @Senthil

    Have a look at this link. This should answer your question http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=56202&cnt=3

    Yet, I am willing to consider your allegation that the media knew about the attack in advance. You could very well be right. I may have missed something that you didn’t!

    You are making a very serious allegation and you should prove that there’s some truth to it. Hard evidence always works! Else, it’s just Chinese whisper!

    I hope you see what I am trying to say!

    Cheers!
    AD

    Reply

  6. @Senthil

    You have made some very valid points about differing opinions within our societies. But I am sure you will agree that we will never have unanimous agreements on any issues even within a very small community, let alone such a diverse nation as India.

    So if some people prefer not to drink, party etc., isn’t it up to them to keep away from bars and nightclubs? If some parents don’t want their children to “deviate to such indecent places” as you put it, let them inculcate those values in their children. Clearly, no bar/pub/nightclub would beat people up if they refuse to drink, party etc. Then why should those who don’t want to drink, party etc. beat up those who want to?

    Isn’t this exactly what the Taliban is doing in AfPak? The problem with such moral policing is not just that it’s unfair and anti-freedom but it is also plain impractical.

    As for your assertion that the majority of middle class doesn’t want to live a western lifestyle, I think that’s simply, for the lack of any better words, delusional. It’s the middle-class that’s consuming western lifestyle more than anyone else today. The proliferation of McDonald’s, KFCs, Pizza Huts and so on wouldn’t have been possible without the middle class. Since 1993, it’s the middle class that has spent most on foreign products and helped India’s economic boom. But that’s getting too much into economics and I wouldn’t want to bore you with it. Suffice it to say that I am a middle-class person and I am happy to accept all the consumerism that has come into India in the last decade.

    And what is a western lifestyle anyway? Would you accept people getting beaten up for wearing jeans and t-shirts as well? Where does that end?

    Senthil, let’s accept that beating people up because they don’t conform to OUR ideal standards is not the right thing to do. What the Ram Sena guys did is simply wrong and their actions could not have any justification whatsoever. Period.

    Reply

  7. I am not saving hindu culture.. rather, i want to save the cultural values that majority of the people follows and want to follow in a particular region.. there is no common hindu culture..

    if pub is started in an area, where everyone or most people accepts, no one would have problem.. the minority who dont accept will silently move away and settle in an area where there is no pub..

    Reply

    • In reply to senthil

      But Senthil, you really don't need to worry! India, being a free country, the majority are also free to do whatever they want – so long as they don't hamper other people's freedom. No one is stopping anyone from living their own lives the way they want to…

      If you feel I'm wrong, tell me in what way someone is being prevented from living their life the way they want.

      Reply

  8. @Senthil

    "if pub is started in an area, where everyone or most people accepts, no one would have problem.. the minority who dont accept will silently move away and settle in an area where there is no pub.."

    Very well put. I agree with you. Similarly, if a pub is opened in an area where no one wants to drink, it'll itself go out of business, as Bhagwad has already explained.

    Gujarat, by the way, is a "dry state". You would think that the majority of Gujaratis don't like to drink. I have been to Gujarat on many occasions and I can tell you from experience and knowledge that booze is very easily available there and is consumed by quite a considerable population. Those who don't consume it there (or don't want to for fear of law!), hop in to Mumbai for a "great night out" :)

    My dear friend, no one has ever managed to prevent people from doing something by force. In fact, the more you prevent people from doing something, the more they'll do it. It's human nature!

    Reply

    • In reply to Ashish Deodhar

      /** Similarly, if a pub is opened in an area where no one wants to drink, it’ll itself go out of business, as Bhagwad has already explained.
      **/

      But why should it be opened in an area, when no one wants to drink? suppose there are some 1000 families, all that pub need is to lure atleast 50 persons (NOT families) regularly for it continue.. once it is running permanently, the general attitude of the people will undergo changes.. a residential area doesnt contain just adult people.. it contains teenagers, youths and many other people..

      when there is pub nearby, a family cannot always watch their teenage son or daughter.. there are chances that they will secretly go to the pub due to the proximity..

      and youths, college students and those who had problems with families are more prone to visiting the pubs..

      Once a considerable number of person starts going to pub, then the trend in that area changes.. the remaining people who still dont want pubs, will find them in minority unable to further cope up..

      So, starting a pub or wine shop is NOT an individual rights.. its a social issue..

      a super market in a residential area will not do any harm to the society.. but a wine shop or a pub, will definitely alter the social values there..

      So please dont compare retail commodities with pubs and discothes..

      Reply

      • In reply to senthil

        Senthil, isn't it the job of parents to teach their children how to handle the real world? Parents have no right to expect their children to live sheltered lives.

        Pubs aren't illegal since all these social problems you've talked about are abstract. There hasn't been a proven effect that pubs damage people. If such a report comes out, then pubs will be banned just like drugs are banned.

        When the Supreme court held that Khushboo didn't do anything wrong by saying that pre marital sex was ok, it asked those accusing her to bring proof that some people have been harmed by her statements. They too were saying the same thing – that her words harm society, but they were not able to prove it in a court of law.

        Reply

      • In reply to bhagwad

        /** Pubs aren’t illegal since all these social problems you’ve talked about are abstract. There hasn’t been a proven effect that pubs damage people. If such a report comes out, then pubs will be banned just like drugs are banned.
        **/

        Pubs can be made illegal, just with passing of a law.. so i dont go in to legal or illegal..

        btw, there are lot of researches which had proven drinking is harmful to women..

        You are simply ignoring the social aspect of the point.. it seems, you do not know what a society means..

        /** When the Supreme court held that Khushboo didn’t do anything wrong by saying that pre marital sex was ok, it asked those accusing her to bring proof that some people have been harmed by her statements. They too were saying the same thing – that her words harm society, but they were not able to prove it in a court of law.
        **/

        If you feel, supreme court is genuine, its your opinion.. the supreme court judges themselves are accused of lot of scams.. recently the PF scam..

        Btw, its an open secret, how judgements are bought out..

        Reply

      • In reply to senthil

        "Pubs can be made illegal, just with passing of a law"

        Not necessarily. If a law violates the basic structure of the Constitution of India, the Supreme Court can strike it down. This has happened in the past.

        it seems, you do not know what a society means

        You're right. In reality, society doesn't exist by itself. Only individual people exist.

        And there will always be some corruption everywhere. On the whole, I trust the Supreme Court so far.

        Reply

      • In reply to senthil

        @Senthil

        It is a matter of individual choice! An individual has every right to open his/her business wherever he/she pleases!

        And frankly, your contention that people won't go to pubs or night clubs if they are not in their proximity is simply ridiculous. And young people at that! My friend, no age group is more mobile than the young! If they want something, they'll go any distance to get it! Simple as that.

        Senthil, you give an impression of a very insecure person. You don't trust anyone to think sensibly and act rationally! That's a big disadvantage in a 'society'. I don't know if you have children but if you give your children a good upbringing, they'll more likely turn out to be good human beings, however you define it!

        So relax and don't worry about "saving" everything from the "young" and the women to the "society" and the "culture"! Trust me, they'll take care of themselves!

        Reply

      • In reply to Ashish Deodhar

        /** It is a matter of individual choice! An individual has every right to open his/her business wherever he/she pleases!
        **/

        NO.. there is no unlimited rights, and unlimited freedom.. the people around, the environment, the prevailing social sensitivies are all to be considered..

        As i said earlier, you are not able understand the meaning of society and community..

        Reply

      • In reply to senthil

        You're right. Other things must be considered. Which is why you can do what you want as long as you don't harm anyone else.

        Harm being defined by the law of course.

        Reply

      • In reply to Ashish Deodhar

        /** Senthil, you give an impression of a very insecure person. You don’t trust anyone to think sensibly and act rationally!
        **/

        Sir.. What is sensible? what is rational? you are not even rational at the most common natural phenomenon.. that an individual are susceptible to various disturbances..

        /** So relax and don’t worry about “saving” everything from the “young” and the women to the “society” and the “culture”! Trust me, they’ll take care of themselves!
        **/

        In that respect, i advise you NOT to worry about those girls.. police will take care of them.. you need not raise voice for them.. their parents will take care and will proceed with police case..

        The matter ends..

        Reply

      • In reply to senthil

        @Senthil

        "Sir.. What is sensible? what is rational? you are not even rational at the most common natural phenomenon.. that an individual are susceptible to various disturbances.."

        Are you telling me that you are the only one who understands what is sensible and rational? Where do you get this misplaced superiority complex from? Why are you deciding for the "society", which at best is made up of countless people with their countless opinions?

        "In that respect, i advise you NOT to worry about those girls.. "

        No I am not! I am not worrying about anyone else but myself! I am fighting to defend my freedom! And defend it from those who are adamant on forcing their twisted "way of life" on me.

        You may have valid reasons to hold your opinions Senthil but you need to accept that others too have their own reasons for their own opinions and you need not force yours on them.

        You don't go to pubs if you don't want to. You don't send your children (for as long as you could possibly control them) if you don't want them to go. But if someone else wants to go to these pubs and if someone else is happy for their children to go to these pubs, you have no justification to beat those children out of those pubs. That's simply unreasonable and unjust.

        Reply

  9. @Senthil

    "because there is lack of business, the pub owners are luring youngsters.."

    I find this very patronizing! What is this "luring" business after all? I am a marketer by profession and I can tell you that you are "lured" into buying everything! You've been "lured" into buying a car, a refrigerator, an air conditioner, shampoos, soaps… you name it! You really don't need most of the things you buy today!

    What all things will you give up just because you've been "lured" into buying them? And do you buy every single thing that's been advertised to you? Don't you use your rational thought to decide what you should and should not buy?

    How is that different from "youngsters" deciding whether they should or should not drink? A pub owner would advertise his/her pub to get business and quite rightly so! It's up to every individual to decide whether to walk in or not!

    By "luring", you are not suggesting that the pub owners hypnotize people in some way, are you?

    Reply

    • In reply to Ashish Deodhar

      A good way of putting it Ashish. No one is forced into buying anything. We all have to make up our own minds.

      Reply

    • In reply to Ashish Deodhar

      /** I find this very patronizing! What is this “luring” business after all? I am a marketer by profession and I can tell you that you are “lured” into buying everything! You’ve been “lured” into buying a car, a refrigerator, an air conditioner, shampoos, soaps… you name it! You really don’t need most of the things you buy today!
      **/

      actually i dont have good opinion about marketing persons.. but that's my personal opinion..

      but when you market things, you are definitely forcing people by luring.. a quality product will automatically reach people..

      /** What all things will you give up just because you’ve been “lured” into buying them? And do you buy every single thing that’s been advertised to you? Don’t you use your rational thought to decide what you should and should not buy?
      **/

      But what is the criteria for successful marketing persons? the one who makes people buy things.. so arent you employing all sorts of means to sell a product, which amounts to forcing by luring.. i myself had many instances, where i was continually followed up by the marketters, who would tell all sorts of lies, just to sell that product.. i had regretted many times, why i bought that product..

      See.. humans are NOT machines who run according programs.. they can be lured away, tempted, bullied, and what else..

      In the Clinton – Monica affair, how did the president of a the most powerful lost his balance? A human mind is always susceptible to temptation.. and that is the reason, why people takes care to keep away from such object of temptations to maintain an order..

      So if majority people in an area want to have certain values to be followed, they have to keep away all that distract them.. But this is not a necessity for those who dont want to follow any values..

      I hope, you got the point..

      If you want to have sex as you wish, go to pub and drink and dance with any girl, or to smoke or to do any other nasty things, its very easy for you..

      But when people want to follow certain discipline in their life, they need to create an environment for that..

      Reply

      • In reply to senthil

        Senthil, real discipline doesn't come from shutting yourself off. Real strength of mind comes when you're able to ignore what you want to ignore.

        And that is something the law cannot get involved in. It's a personal matter.

        Reply

      • In reply to bhagwad

        /** Senthil, real discipline doesn’t come from shutting yourself off. Real strength of mind comes when you’re able to ignore what you want to ignore.
        **/

        Probably, for great saints like you, discipline comes from mind and self control.. but the majority of the people, are just normal human beings, susceptible to various things.. so are you willing to allow them to have their own living environment?

        Reply

      • In reply to senthil

        They can have their own environment in their home and property which they legally own.

        Reply

      • In reply to senthil

        @Senthil

        "but when you market things, you are definitely forcing people by luring.. "

        No there's no force. You got to understand the meaning of force. Advertising is not forcing someone to buy something. Even determined persuasion isn't equivalent to forcing something. Forcing would be to literally shoving alcohol down someone's throat! I am more than sure that that doesn't happen.

        "See.. humans are NOT machines who run according programs.. "

        Precisely my point. Each individual has his/her own way of living life and you can't make them all live like robots, taking instructions from moral police on how to live their lives!

        "So if majority people in an area want to have certain values to be followed, they have to keep away all that distract them.. But this is not a necessity for those who dont want to follow any values.."

        Senthil I am sorry I don't want to liken you to Taliban every now and then but this statement is right out of their text books!

        "But when people want to follow certain discipline in their life, they need to create an environment for that.."

        I am vegetarian and I live in the UK. Most of the people here in the UK eat non-veg. But I don't go about demanding that the place I live in should become vegetarian and the people amongst whom I live don't demand that I turn into a non-vegetarian. They serve me vegetarian food whenever possible (and they go that extra mile to make vegetarian dishes for me if they don't make them already!)

        Live and let live is the motto. If you don't want to go to a pub or a night club, by all means you should not be forced to go there. But you should not force someone else not to go there either! This whole "luring" argument doesn't stand because it's meaningless. The most you could/should do is not get "lured" yourself. Don't decide for the rest. They will look after themselves.

        Reply

      • In reply to Ashish Deodhar

        /** Senthil I am sorry I don’t want to liken you to Taliban every now and then but this statement is right out of their text books!
        **/

        I too cant, but liken you to taliban.. bcoz, you never understand anything other than individual rights.. just like taliban never understands anything other than shariah..

        You dont know what is a society.. you dont know what is a family.. you dont know what is a community.. you dont know what is an environment.. you never understand how a society functions..

        Its really futile to debate with such narrow minded person.. the person who thinks that even seducing is an individual right..

        Reply

      • In reply to senthil

        Senthil, the Taliban want to hurt people physically and physically prevent them from enjoying their right to freedom.

        And I am doing the opposite. I want to make sure that no one is physically hurt or prevented from doing what they want.

        Reply

  10. /** So if some people prefer not to drink, party etc., isn’t it up to them to keep away from bars and nightclubs? If some parents don’t want their children to “deviate to such indecent places” as you put it, let them inculcate those values in their children
    **/

    @AD,

    This is like saying, that if some one seduces a woman, it is up to the woman to respond or not.. please see practical issues.. the pubs, bars, discothe are only end points of the larger issue.. do you believe, all those girls hear about the pubs and go there directly to get boyfriends? Never.. they are lured at various places and various situations employing various tactics..

    If the sons and daughters are ready to hear what their parents say, then there would be no problems today.. but the schools, colleges, medias all unleash a propoganda of values that is contradicting the value of the middle class.. in such case, what do the parents do? Let their daughters to be lured away, and be ditched after that? and do they want their daughters to get abortioned regularly?

    Or will you say “LEt the parents instruct their daughter to carry condoms always in their handbag to prevent pregnancy”..

    First of all, pubs, discothes, brothels are all social evils.. secondly, these pubs and discothes employ a network of persons to lure college boys and girls, so as to gain profit? What else will the pubs do, if they want to improve their profits or to avoid losses?

    So please stop projecting pubs, discothes as individual rights.. then we can discuss about muthalik issue..

    And it has become fashionable for the media to equate saffron to taliban, without even applying common thoughts.. Taliban is a totalatarian regime, that wants to implement shariah.. The Muthaliks are reactions to the aggression of westernised dirty values..

    and what the media is doing is nothing but intellectual terrorism..

    Reply

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