A group of men, assuming the role of ‘moral police’, enter a public place and abuse and molest the women there because they were partying. The beautiful seaside city in Karnataka, south India, where this happened, was in the news for the same reason three years ago. But for one reason, the news is different this time. In the rightful anger against activistic vigilantism that runs roughshod over individual freedoms, this important difference has been lost sight of.
In 2009, when the ‘moral policing’ in Mangalore first made international headlines, the men were roughing up adult women who were having a quiet drink at a pub. In the recent incident of a couple of days ago, the victims were young college girls celebrating the birthday of a friend at a place that is reported to charge ~Rs.10,000/- a day [allegedly illegally as it is not registered as a commercial entity].
I want to ask: in a country such as India, where college students seldom are financially independent, how are these young people able to splurge ~Rs.1000/- or more each on a birthday bash of a colleague? To my mind this question, which is lost in the hullabaloo over the hoodlums, needs to be asked loud and clear.
We need answers now to whether the students are all well-to-do, what kind of peer pressure forces students into these kinds of indulgences which apparently is not within the means of most students, how far is it permissible for adult students to draw on their parents’ resources, where does parental responsibility end and an offspring’s duties begin?
A social conscience that ought to feel as outraged as the moral conscience at this incident, would raise these issues in the interest of the youth whose profligacy at this stage may spell their doom even before they make their career choices.