Friday, 13 February 2009

Quick hit: Valentine's Day tempest

Noticed on Stuff this afternoon, thousands of Indian women are fuming over a radical Hindu group labelling them immoral for being outgoing:

The women said their mission was to go bar-hopping on February 14 and send hundreds of pink knickers to Sri Ram Sena, the militant Hindu group that has said pubs are for men, and that women should stay at home and cook for their husbands.

The same Hindu group was blamed for attacking women in a bar in the southern city of Mangalore in January, an incident that sparked a national debate about women's freedoms in India.

Collection centers have sprung up in several cities, with volunteers calling for bright pink old-fashioned knickers as gifts to the Sri Ram Sena as a mark of defiance.

"Girl power! Go girls, go. Show Ram Sena... who's the boss," reads one post on Facebook from Larkins Dsouza.

Apparently other groups and activities have sprung up too, to show Sri Ram Sena just how widespread the opposition is. Much of this has been facilitated by social networking sites on the interweb. How very 2.0.

1 comment:

stargazer said...

hmm, i don't know that the group has said that "pubs are for men and that women should stay at home and cook for their husbands", possibly they did.

but they did say, according to this article in the LA times:

We "are not a group of mad men, we are a patriotic group," said Pramod Muthalik, Shri Ram's head, in an interview in the local media. "We are the citizens of this nation, and I feel it is our duty to discipline indecent behavior. It is out of this sense of duty that we feel the need to safeguard our culture."

there are all kinds of wrong with that statement - the vigilante moral policing being the main one. but let's say that they are protecting their culture. what i know of traditional indian culture (having been born there, and having had strong doses of bollywood & other cultural immersion), drinking is not a part of it for men or women. social drinking has traditionally been taboo, getting drunk the height of bad behaviour, and no-one would marry their daughters into a family of which any male member was a known drinker.

the point being that if it was traditional culture they were protecting, then they should have been beating up the menfolk first. but no, they went for the women. which is nothing but an extreme act of cowardice (as well as misogyny, stupidity, and whatever other descriptors you would like to apply).

so yes, the pink chaddi campaign is a perfect response. there's a video of the attack in mangalore, and links to the pink chaddi blog & facebook group here.

and an interesting discussion here, especially the bit about chaddi being a much better word than panties.