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Saturday, January 31, 2009

'Moral Police' - is it an Indian term?

The Mangalore pub incident has brought fresh set of write-up on 'Moral Police' of India. Did a quick Google search and found that Indians seem to be exceptionally obsessed with this term with a wide spectrum of connotations and usage. We as a society like broad ambiguous terms that we can conveniently deploy to our advantage whenever required and this term seem to be one such.

Any one from hired goonda to political leader taking a stand on issue of behaviour can be branded as a 'moral police'. There is no need for any authorization as to who can declare someone to be a moral police, just about anyone who thinks she understands the term can use it liberally.

There are no common civic code of conduct in India as far as I know. The 'nuisance' case is celebrated as  a prerogative of the authorities of law & order. The levels of economic and social inequalities has meant that the any code of conduct does not contain the dominant while the suppressed are made to feel that being permitted to live itself is a privilege. So, the dominant dictate and debate the code of conduct amongst themselves for themselves. But, they come from diverse traditions too and their aspirations and views of 'conduct'  covers a vast spread. 

As far as I know no political party has promised any 'liberate society' or 'moral conduct society' as part of its manifesto. So, ascribing 'moral police' to a political party or ideology is accusation by the lazy. Even worse is to ascribe moral values to the state apparatus.Neither the bureaucracy nor the judiciary have exhibited consistent standards on handling issues related to human behaviour, if anything they become wilful tools to censure the suppressed  of undesirable behaviour.  The law of the land is never seen as being fair to the suppressed and always seen as working on behalf of the dominant. 

Media tends to decide whom to paint as the 'dominant' and whom to paint as the 'suppressed', thereby programming public perception. The liberals will oppose the conservatives, the communists will oppose the right wingists, the democrats will oppose the feudal, the global will oppose the local, the free world will oppose the culture, each one of these fight the 'other' in yet another cause and the most verbal express their inability or ignorance in many words, we stand divided. Period. 

If only we don't give tall terms to simple civil expectations and start by adhering to some ourselves, we may be stronger and united. 

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