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Culture or Emancipation of Women?

By Shruti Saxena | Last Updated: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - 19:17
Shruti Saxena
An Epitome

Girls can do this, girls can do that. Yes, most of us support the argument that Indian girls today are capable of doing a lot many things. They have joined the Defense Forces or treated the sick as medicos. They can fly airplanes, can go in space and what not. Women like Indira Gandhi, Kalpana Chawla, Sania Mirza and many more are examples before the world who have proved that women are no less than men in any field.

They can do all these things, and many more. But, Indian girls cannot drink in pubs according to the Sri Ram Sena (SRS) and its twin Rashtriya Hindu Sena (RHS).

The simple reason given for prohibiting Indian girls from drinking in pubs or anywhere else is that it is against “Indian culture”. Even young people exchanging Valentine gifts or couples holding hands in parks is considered `unethical` by these so-called custodians of Indian culture.

Our Constitution considers us wise enough at the age of 18 to vote and choose our leader, and also to get married. But we cannot decide whether to go to pubs or celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Is it really about culture or is it about women’s liberation?

The recent Mangalore pub incident where a group of right-wing activists manhandled women has emerged like self-styled `Talibanisation`.

Sri Ram Sena chief Pramod Muthalik however justifies this attack, saying that women visiting pubs is against “Indian culture”. Further, when he got bail, his words were, “Today our campaign (andolan) is victorious. This is our victory.”

It is shameful that even state leaders are not exempt from such bigotry.

A point to be considered is that if men in the pub had also been attacked, the goons could have said that they were protecting “Indian culture”. But they targeted only women, which show their chauvinism.

Bars and pubs have been there for decades and men have been their clients. Then why is that culture needs to be exemplified only by women?

In India, where our culture preaches us to respect and worship women, where are the custodians of our culture when women are harassed by hooligans posing as ‘Hindu activists’.

If the modern work culture does not restrict women from attending parties or social drinking, then women going to pubs in no way affects the Indian culture. It’s a personal choice rather.

Well, the moral of the story or one can say that the real reason why girls cannot go to pub is that an open-minded and liberated woman, who is educated, independent, employed and daring to meet any challenge – poses a threat of symbolic castration, a challenge to male supremacy.

First Published: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - 19:17

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