15 February, 2009

Hating Love

The Moral Police seem to have received a strong boost this Valentine's Day. Pink chaddis notwithstanding. A brother-sister duo were beaten up in Ujjain, couples forcibly married off in some places (though I must commend the ingenuity of those sweethearts who used this as a device to overcome family opposition) and the political establishment, not unsurprisingly, made ambivalent noises.

To my mind, though, this is just another form of terrorism. The cock-a-snook-at-civil-liberties approach by rabid interest groups driving an agenda that by no means reflects the views of the majority. Confident in the belief that a spineless government in an election year will be freely subject to manipulation, and the judicial system can either be bought, subverted through political pressures, is ineffective, or - in the best case - tortuously slow even when it delivers.

True, Muthalik was behind bars as a precautionary measure on V-Day. I laud the administration that took this step. But he will be free soon, and presumably unremorseful. After all, Raj Thackeray has set a precedent demonstrating that a gaggle of goondas can dictate the course of action and the tone of employment profiling for a whole state.

This is the time for each of us to start identifying those who should - if we can help it - never be elected again. The CMs of Karnataka and Maharashtra will be on my list unless clear, specific and decisive action is taken by them on those who seek to set an extra-constitutional agenda. With either tacit support or bystander-silence from those we have elected to represent us constitutionally.