reprints of articles published in magazines

Friday, 13 March 2009

Mangalore Pub Incident

Surely you must have heard of the Mangalore Pub incident that happened a few weeks ago. Few girls had been to a pub and that was sufficient to annoy some guys who called themselves, Sri Ram Senaiks. The troopers just walked into the pub, pulled up the girls, called them bad names, slapped them, pushed them, taunted them and literally sent them crying out on to the streets, barefoot and all.
And here we are celebrating yet another International Woman’s Day. Well, time to take stock of the situation, and try to understand why such things happen to the Bharatiya Nari even in the year 2009?
To be fair to the Sri Ram Senaiks, pubbing indirectly means alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption is unhealthy beyond a point, and is quite objectionable. But then Indian men have been drinking alcohol for so many years now. On any street in Tamilnadu, you’d find drunken men weaving their way to the nearest TASMAC shop for more booze. Why did the Sri Ram Seninks just ignore these men who drink? Don’t they care for the Bharatiya Naras as much as they care about the Naris?
Even considering that the SRS guys have great care and concern for the women of this nation, why did they barge into a pub? And why did they bash up the girls lounging there? Is it because they believed that women drinking alcohol is against the Indian ethic? If that is the case, then one only has to read the ancient Indian scriptures, such as the Rig Veda. Almost every stanza of the Rig talks about the bliss of the Soma Juice and it is obvious that Soma juice was drunk by both the men and the women of the Rig times. Down south, the famous Tamil poetess Avvaiyar has sung songs in praise of a king who offers her good wine to drink. So, it is not like alcohol and women never mixed in the Indian ethic. Ancient Indians were quite aware of the fact that alcohol has no gender barriers.
That does not mean that we can endorse alcohol as the next national drink. We know for a fact that irrespective of the gender, alcohol like anything else is dangerous in excess. But it does sound sexist and chauvinistic to prohibit one half of humankind from going to pubs, just because they happen to be of the female gender. Even the famous Indian heritage, ancient as it is, never had such gender bias, ever.
So, the real Indian Heritage has nothing to do with gender discriminatory alcohol ban, then what else could have caused the Mangalore Pub incident? Could it be that, girls meet boys in the pubs and that is against the Indian Heritage? Again the answer is no, because the Indian culture is full of festivals and celebrations that are designed to the girls and boys of marriable ages together, be it Holi, Vasant Utsav, Indra Vizha etc, which were the Indian equivalents of Valentine’s Day. Indian tradition has always held love and sex in very high regard. So much so that, Indian temples have explicit images of love making scenes, all aimed at the yet uninitiated youth. Pubbing is only a post modern form of the same old boy meets girl routine that has been sung about repeatedly in all our ancient literature. So, obviously pubbing is not against the Indian ethic.
Then why else did the SRS guys get so mad with the girls in the pub? Because they were skimpily dressed, and that is against the Indian ethic? Again the answer is a big no, because ancient Indian women were even more skimpily dressed than the present day girls. All the paintings of ancient Indians, right from the caves in Ajantha and Ellora in West India, to Sitrannavaasal in South India, show the women as bare-chested beauties with minimal clothing. It is a fact that women in South East Asia; Indians, Ceylonese, Malays, Sumatrans, Javanese and Polynesians had all been bare-chested until a few centuries ago. Present day Asians are all very modestly dressed when compared to their ancient day compatriots. And yet, they get abused in the name of Cultural Preservation, why?
Is it because, these girls had been whiling their time in the pub when they could have spent the time in more useful ways? Is that what is so anti Indian heritage? Is that what made the Sri Ram Seniks so mad with rage? Again, the answer is a no. Consider, Shankuntala, consider Sita, also do consider Anusuya, these women, Indian, ancient and good girls that they were, were so jobless, that all they ever did for most of their lives was to lounge around the prehistoric trees, pining away for their lovers. It is nothing new and nothing anti Indian, in fact, if our literature is to be believed, whiling was the only time pass for the ancient Bharatiya Nari and so that couldn’t possibly be the reason why the Sri Ram Seniks bashed up the Mangalore girls.
So why did they do it? Why did they abuse hapless girls and traumatize them for life?
Well, search as we might, the answer cannot be found in the tenets of the Indian Culture, for it has nothing to do with the culture of any particular country. All over the world men, aggregate into mobs and attack women, all in the name of preserving their cultural roots and religious beliefs. In Germany, women who were employed at par with the men were burned alive in the name of the God. It was then called Witch Hunting, and it was considered pre-approved by the religious men. Women were burned in public and no one raised a protest. For anything done in the name of god is considered morally right, even it is obviously wrong.
In Algeria, twenty years ago, women who used make up were beaten up and gnashed on their faces, as artificial makeup was considered sacrilegious, it was held to be against the word of God. All of us who have read about ancient Egypt would know that make up was nothing abnormal. It was considered to be a part of the daily routine in ancient Egypt. Yet, when the religious fanatics of Algeria, claimed that makeup was taboo and hence punishable, people just believed them and simply watched as many young women were mutilated for the offence of beautifying themselves.
In Afghanistan, the religious men went one step further. Leave alone beautifying, just exposing natural body parts such as the face, hands and feet, of the women was considered sacrilegious. And so Afghan women had to cover themselves up in burkhas that made them formless and faceless.
Why do men indulge in such behavior? Why do men in so many parts of the world, try to curtail the autonomy of the women, in the name of religion? All the religions of the world preach peace, equality, tolerance and love for all. Yet why do some men, twist religion and make it seem like the woman is subordinate and needs to be forever under the man’s control?
Well, the answer is not religious, it is genetic! Strange as it may sound, it is common knowledge in the world of genetics, that one set of genes can try and manipulate the other in order to increase its chances of survival. For example, some desert spiders practice cannibalism. The female spider eats up the male after he has finished impregnating her. It may sound mean, cruel and immoral, but the truth is: the male spider’s life time gets over immediately after he ejaculates. He would anyway die, that’s how nature has designed him. Living in a desert would mean food scarcity. The pregnant lady spider would need a lot of nutrition to make her little ones grow. Where could she get this nutrition from? The male would any way die, some other insects would anyway make a meal of his body, so what not the spideress herself? It is only going to benefit his own kids….and so it makes complete genetic sense that the lady spider gulps down her mate. This is a genetic strategy to improve the survival of one’s genes.
Now what has that got to do with the Mangalore pub incident, you may wonder? Well, it is just that, the male and the female of any species, is always fighting a genetic battle. The male cannot reproduce on his own; he needs to use the female’s resources, her body. But the female does not donate her body to further the male’s genes, unless she is sure that she will get only the best of the genes. This sets a competition among the males. Each male would have to prove to the female that he is the very best, only then will she choose to offer her body to spread his genes. Darwin called this Sexual Selection. And in all species of life on earth, it is female who selects the male, for her body is more precious, because only that is capable of procreation.
All the species of males, try to get selected by the female. They grow long tails, beautiful antlers, tusks, plumes, feathers, fins, some even go to the extent of glowing lights to attract the female. The female, plain and inconspicuous as she is in most species, carefully measures up the males and finally chooses the best of the lot. And so the fittest gets to survive.
This system works well for all species of life on earth. But the human males are different. They are intelligent, and so they have always tried to find a way out of this problem. As long as the female does the choosing, she would have a genetic upper hand over the male. And Nature has provided the female with a razor sharp brain to sniff the best genes in a jiffy. The real best Alpha man is secure in his confidence, he is sure to win her favours, and so he just lets her be. But those Omega men, who are less than the best are forever insecure, for they know the female would never choose them. And so they devise ways to usurp the women’s power, by making sure that the woman never uses her formidable brain.
In all the cultures where the men are backward and fear their own failure, the first thing that they do is deny women, their right to education and the right to interaction with others. With no education and no interaction, the women, quickly lose the sharpness of their brains. They then depend on the men for knowledge and guidance. Without the brain, the woman becomes a mere body and the man who retains his hold on knowledge, now has the power to manipulate her into submission. Ordinarily the woman would object, question or protest such subjugation, because her instincts would scream that this is all against her own survival.
To quell her protest, the male uses religion as a weapon. “In the name of god, this is how you should behave…..” the man thus conveniently misuses the concept of the Almighty, to enslave the women. If a stray woman refuses to submit, the male then uses violence, insult and torture, to terrorize the women. Thus shocked into submission, the woman then becomes putty in the hands of the men. And typically such men, ban contraception and quickly start spreading their genes in great numbers. Eventually all the bad genes aggregate, and despite all the men’s effort to spread their lines, such closed civilizations fall, and are easily captured by mightier civilizations. And typically all mighty civilizations are the ones where women enjoy autonomy. For only when the women are free to select the best genes, would the best genes thrive and aggregate to make a mighty civilization.
In every culture, there are Alpha men, great and free thinking and Omega men, mean, dumb and nasty. The Alpha men attract the woman without any effort. And so such alpha men treat the women as equals. But the Omega men, cannot attract women on their own, so they invent an imaginary Apha man, some male god, with all kinds of superior endowments, and use him as a lure to attract the women.
The real smart women, who use their own minds, who have their own money, and freedom to do as they please, as for example lounge in a pub in some city, are all dangerous in the eyes of such an insecure man. For such smart women would see through his tricks, look down upon him and reject him. Not only that, she would probably tell all other woman, about his dumb tricks and then all the women would join together and collectively reject his genes. The only way out, is to shut her mouth by maiming her physically, or better still psychologically. And the best way to do it is to terrorize her.
This is what happened in the Mangalore Pub. In any other closed country, where the government is religious, public is apathetic and the media is weak, such an incident would have indeed worked the trick. The women would well have been subjugated. But thankfully, India is a free country, with vibrant young minds that refuse to buckle under pseudoreligious pressures. And so we are here, analyzing the incident, not its consequences.