When 16-year-old Rukku Khushi came to the Star News office at Mahalakshmi with 23-year-old Abdul Kadir, all the way from Surat on April 13, the story was simple: A Hindu minor was in love with a Muslim boy.
But on Monday, soon after the couple had gone on national television, the channelâ€™s Mumbai office was attacked by men belonging to a little-known outfit called the Hindu Rashtra Sena. They ransacked the office, smashed windows and beat up two guards, accusing the channel of negative portrayal of the Hindu girl from Surat â€œkidnappedâ€ by her companion. [Indian Express]
And on top of that…
Angry crowds in several Indian cities burned effigies of Richard Gere on Monday after he swept a popular Bollywood actress into his arms and kissed her several times during an AIDS awareness event.
Photographs of the 57-year-old actor embracing Shilpa Shetty and kissing her on the cheek at an HIV/AIDS awareness event in New Delhi were splashed across Monday’s front pages in India – a country where public displays of affection are largely taboo.
In Mumbai, members of the right-wing Hindu nationalist group Shiv Sena beat burning effigies of Gere with sticks and set fire to glamorous shots of Shetty. Similar protests broke out in other cities, including Varanasi, Hinduism’s holiest city, and in the northern town of Meerut, where crowds chanted, “Down with Shilpa Shetty!” [INS News]
There can only be two explanations:
1) There are too many Indian men with time on their hands.
2) Both incidents illustrate the need for Indian men to regulate and control the actions of Indian women.
Update: I am making a generalisation here, almost sarcastically, but perhaps I should elaborate and provide context. The protests and rioting are standard policy for the Hindu far-right, including organisations such as the VHP and Shiv Sena. They are always the ones that protest against Valentines and other “slurs on Indian culture” with such protests, which basically equates to saying: “how dare these women do something we disapprove of“. They are, as some point out in the comments, sexually and intellectually challenged. The vast majority of Indian males don’t get involved in any riot of course, these are almost always precipitated by organised religious groups (as is the case for most of South Asia).
I wanted to highlight these events not because they’re funny or idiotic, or pretend far worse isn’t happening in South Asia, but because they are part of a pattern of trying to control and subjugate women – a topic not really discussed when such events take place.
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Filed in: India,Sex equality