A fitness regime for the moral police by remote

The licence-quota-permit raj may have been consigned to the dustbin (at least in theory), but Victorian regulation runs deep in the Indian psyche, especially when it comes to the media: films, television, newspapers, books, art.

Don’t like M.F. Husain‘s painting? Just hound him out.

Don’t like a newspaper report? Smash the skulls out.

Don’t like a scholar’s biography? Burn down the library.

Don’t like a journalist’s views? Ransack his house.

Don’t like a scholar’s opinion? File a criminal case.

Don’t like Savita Bhabhi‘s advances? Just get it banned.

Don’t like Balika Vadhu. Sharad Yadav will take up your cause.

And so on and on.

All last week, the honourable members of the Parliament of India, having solved all the problems facing this large and great country—hunger, poverty, malnutrition, disease, deprivation, illiteracy, violence, corruption—were frothing at the mouth about Sach ka samna, an execrable television show out of the Rupert Murdoch stable.

Yesterday, a division bench of the Delhi High Court comprising chief justice A.P. Shah and Justice Manmohan delivered the moral police—the only police force which has no trouble finding new recruits—a stinging lesson in life and liberty.

***

“In this land of Gandhi, it appears that nobody follows Gandhi… Follow the Gandhian principle of ‘see no evil’. Why do you not simply switch off the TV?

“We have very good advice for you. You have got two judges sitting here who do not watch TV at all. It will certainly help. Individual ideas of morality are not the business of the court. We are not sitting here for moral policing… You approach the Parliament and get the remedy.

“The courts cannot be expected to deal with issues that involve different individual perceptions.”

“Our culture is no so fragile that it will be affected by one TV show. Moreover, nobody in his individual capacity can be allowed to take upon the social order and ask for directions.

“You are asking us to entertain an area which deals with perceptions and opinions. Further, morality yardsticks are to be decided by the government. We cannot decide the issue. We are not sure whether the show has brought out the truth of many people but it is certain that it has brought out the hypocrisy of various ministers and parliamentarians.”

Image: courtesy Savita Bhabhi

Also read: In the name of Bhagwan, All, Christ…

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44 Responses to “A fitness regime for the moral police by remote”

  1. Alok Says:

    The moral police have their own cohorts of busy-body lawyers who are too useless to attract real clients and feel the need to take up some “causes” to get themselves known…

    OTOH, I think large sections of Indian television can stand to be banned for the greater cause of preventing mass stupidity..

  2. Watching Says:

    Firstly, Gandhi is a wrong ideal in this case. He would have banned the various “if I could legislate”.

    Secondly, the “Govt decides morality yardsticks”?? With so much learned clarity on display, no wonder the courts mid-wifed the LGBT conundrum.

    Why not take it out of both the courts and the Govt’s hands? Let the community decide. It the community that watches TV!

  3. Not A Witty Nick Says:

    The grossest thing on TV is on Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha TV Channels, that is when they aren’t showing cool NDFC produced movies and rare good programmes(which of course have nothing to do with proceedings), ban them?

    These idiot politicians can’t debate in the parliament and hog newspapers, news channels(even some of these dumb reality shows) and the streets! Every damn political party does it, even if the say something sensible they have to finish that speech with a walk out(why? do they have to celebrate the sudden spark of sense?).

    This “what Gandhi would have thought” ideology is idiotic. Use your brains for a change dear Big Brothers. :<

    What about the guy who's been arrested for questioning for allegedly sending the President a lewd MMS!? If the police could be as "responsive" in all matters, we would be blessed.

  4. Poli Hudga Says:

    Her(savithababhi) melancholic look says it all …. reminds me of those days when I used to eagerly await next episodes.

  5. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Poli hudga,

    Savitabhabhi’s quality has gone down a lot in the current episode. The current episode’s drawings look cheap compared to the previous issues – looks like a bad version of the generic manga/hentai style cartoons which we get to see a lot on the interwebs. And the characters and settings dont look Indian at all anymore. Maybe they had to hire some lower end cartoonists after the ban in India.

    BTW the current episode is about Savita when she was in college and is about to fail her math exams and goes to see her professor about it…

  6. Kencha Says:

    We kannadigigas should revive our legendary mags like ratHi vignana and surathi. Savitha athige is good but one in our language will be closer to our hearts.

  7. Aloknath Says:

    Here are some of the alternate suggestions I have to the questions cited in the above article

    Don’t like M.F. Husain’s painting? Just hound him out.
    – Nominate him for a national award. In fact give it to him, after all he has just used his artistic license to show us what he thinks of our country. I also advocate that painting be the front cover of NCERT textbooks on Indian History. Let’s show our appreciation to such a great artist and his art.

    Don’t like a newspaper report? Smash the skulls out.
    – Rather. Put it up on churumuri so that all the NRI’s around the world can lament about the state of their beloved country, how freedom has become a joke in the biggest democracy in the world and feel happy with their decision to flee their motherland citing such atrocities.

    Don’t like a scholar’s biography? Burn down the library.
    – Invite authors from other countries to belittle people with historical significance. Hey, it’s free India, anyone has a right to walk in and insult India and Indians. It will also increase the tourism appeal.

    Don’t like a journalist’s views? Ransack his house.
    Don’t like a scholar’s opinion? File a criminal case.
    – Agree to all views espoused by eminent journalists. Go to their house and voice support by shouting slogans which are pulled verbatim from the article in question. How can we even dream of having an opinion which contradicts the fourth estate??

    Don’t like Savita Bhabhi’s advances? Just get it banned.
    – Make reading the website a mandatory in schools and offices. This way we’ll be showing our solidarity to the cause brought out by the website.

    Don’t like Balika Vadhu. Sharad Yadav will take up your cause.
    – K serials should be the only ones which should be aired on all channels. After all, polygamy and polyandry are a necessary survival skill in today’s world. People need knowledge and skills of maintaining many relationships and also feeling morally sound about it.

    **

    Also, I forgot to add one more comment.
    Blame Gandhi for all problems in our country. He committed the biggest sin, fought for a free India. How can he get away with such a huge crime??

    **

    “In this land of Gandhi, it appears that nobody follows Gandhi… Follow the Gandhian principle of ’see no evil’. Why do you not simply switch off the TV?”

    Simply because I did not spend thousands on TV and cable simply to switch it off. I have the right to demand decent entertainment when I am paying money for it.

  8. Justfine Says:

    I wasn’t aware of this Savithabhabhi till now. Looks like good timepass. eeks the moral police. :o

  9. Simple Says:

    Aloknath

    Spoilsport. Life is a balance between the profound and the frivolous.

    As long as it does not affect one’s mental, physical and intellectual development, i think we shoud have our fair share of frivolus fun.

  10. karihaida Says:

    Look what you have done churumuri… poor Justfine has been corrupted for now :(
    Its high time we have a Ministry for prevention of vice and promotion of virtue to ban sites like churumuri.

  11. Cool Dude Says:

    http://suhanasafarwithme.blogspot.com/2009/07/morality-indians-are-no-holy.html

  12. Abhi Says:

    How did I not know about Savitabhabi all this while? Link to the site appears to be broken.

  13. black sabbath Says:

    Moral policing is bad. But at the same time, I feel that the question asked was inappropriate..it was “have you touched any other man”?! This is stretching too far and is being asked in front of the husband. I would have bashed up the interviewer :-) A better question would have been…have you had a relationship with anybody else? But this is India..the new “sleaze”istan. Movies to newspapers…all filled with sleaze.

  14. Anonymous Guy Says:

    karihaida,

    Maybe such a ministry can also do a good job of distributing condoms and letter people know the virtues of using them properly.

    Abhi,

    Not heard of savitabhabhi?! Do you live in the cave? BTW the site is banned in India, works perfectly well elsewhere. Used to be one of the top hit websites from India, after google, yahoo etc. Shows what the horny young folks who have internet want as opposed to the old folks who have lost their erections and got the site banned.

  15. Abhi Says:

    I guess I am. This is baned in India? Wow! I am even more curious now. What is that it has to attract ban that other porn sites do not have?

  16. Truth From Facts Says:

    The Raja of Ridicule roots for cheap porn! Hmmm..

  17. Navaneethan Says:

    Aloknath, you have all the right in the world to demand decent entertainment, but just because you don’t like the show means you want everyone else not to watch it? What kind of jackass are you? Pull your head out of your arse and go talk to Star TV or whoever broadcasts the show. Better yet, since you sound indubitably wise (and also, potentially creative), start your own damn channel and watch it yourself.

    Why is the Court saying that morality is the business of the Govt? That’s nonsense.

  18. Aloknath Says:

    @Navaneethan

    You are right, I don’t have any right to enforce what others wish to view. I protest to ensure my long term rights. Hypothetically, let’s assume that I silently switch off my TV whenever there is some lewd/gory program. This program may be a big hit among majority of viewers, prompting channels to adapt their business model into incorporating such programs. Given enough time, all the prime-time slots will be occupied by such programs rendering people like me not much choice. Do you think that’s fair?

    You will definitely argue that what I am foreseeing is absurd. Take the example of KBC which was a big hit among masses. It was soon followed by “Sawaal Das Crore ka” and “Chappar Phad Ke” to name a couple. Biggest example, the high frequency of useless love stories churned out by Bollywood. It started by movies like DDLJ etc, and even after 15 years or so, the idea of making tons of movie out a cheap remake of the same concept hasn’t died. So keeping the fact that there is a small chance that in the long run I may run out of options for entertainment, I protest today.

  19. Watching Says:

    Aloknath, you make an excellent point! In fact if you read through the article on Bollywood’s quality some time back,most if not all the “freedom” mongers are lambasting the fall in quality of entertainment. Either that or they openly wallow in the low quality “as grand”.

    There is a third trend. Speak of our people as mediocre and tasteless.Lay the blame on “them”.

  20. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Protest sure knock yourself out, ban you cant.

    Try banning porn on the internet :)

    Your only choice is to install filters on your machine, avoid a site with adult content or log off.

    Or make jackasses of yourself by trying to ban anything which gives you an erection (or maybe gives someone else an erection and doesnt give you one since you lost it).

  21. Watching Says:

    AG, nobody wants to deny you your virtual erection. I’m not talking about banning. I’m talking about *legitimizing* stuff that we ought not to.

    Take bollywood as an example again. There is a difference between saying “bollywood movies are lousy and people ought to stay away” and saying “bollywood movies are great and that’s why lotsa folks watch it”.

    It’s called “education”. It’s also called “learning to differentiate”. It can be called “not swallowing whole crap”.

    Savitha bhabhi can be read of course. “You” may even enjoy reading her with “your” eight year old son (do you have kids?). If this is in the affirmative then I would say “you” lack education.”You might of course call it “your” right to view and share and cite the impossibility of a ban working.

  22. Abhi Says:

    Watching – Do you really not understand things or do you not want to understand? There is a difference between saying bollywood movies lack quality and saying – ban bollywood movies.

  23. Abhi Says:

    btw, who is talking of reading Savita Bhabhi with his 8 year old son?

  24. Watching Says:

    Abhi, not sure your used to reading so much as a post of few lines but where have I asked for a ban?

  25. Watching Says:

    Precisely Abhi. I suppose no normal person would read the comic with his or her 8 year old. I’m argueing against mainly access that accrues from legitimacy the supposedly thinking adult, grants.

    For example, if I like savita bhabhi and bring her home, its that much more simpler for my kid to assume that I’m fine with the content and there is really nothing wrong if he/she goes through it.

    The point is I might be fine with it but my environment isn’t. And I might be fine with a lot of illegitimate stuff.

  26. Aloknath Says:

    @Anonymous Guy

    Comparing Internet and TV is like comparing oranges and apples. When I log on to the internet, I choose which websites I want to visit. It’s not like I am given a predetermined set of websites allotted fixed time slots and the only option I have is to either browse them or log off. That is the scenario when I am watching TV in India(in a majority of places to be precise). So banning porn from the internet is not necessary because it’s a choice you make.

    Also, one question that has been bugging me is, what is this obsession with Savitha Bhabhi?? As many have clearly mentioned here that it’s not a hardcore porn site and there are many other options on the internet, why waste time arguing against the ban on SB rather than use that time to gain some entertainment from other umpteen sources?

  27. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Palahalli,

    Why would one watch porn with his 8 year old son? It is better the son does it by himself. But you can go ahead and enjoy porn with your underage children – to each his own.

  28. Abhi Says:

    Watching – you can trick a few people with jugglery of words, not all, not all the time.

    Now, its not ban – its not legitimizing. Conservatives have realized ban is too strong a word by today’s moral standards and resorting to different words with the same intentions.

    And how do you plan to *not legitimize*?

    By beating up women going to pubs. Don’t ban it, just beat them up and we will see who goes.

    By criminalizing homosexuality and subject them to harassment by law, by police and ordinary fundamentalists of all kind.

    By blocking websites that you do not like. Liberals say Block and ban are the same? They are not, they are 2 different English words after all.

  29. Watching Says:

    It’s funny how much sense you can get out of an argument with committed freedom wallas:)

    So AG gets to shackle an 8 year old by calling him under age? How dare you? Don’t you know an 8 year old knows more and is into more than you possibly could ever be?? That’s because not all “adults” think like your narrow minded self!

    But the next time you buy two copies of SB, you put a smile on my face :) Let the boy read his own.

    Abhi, what’s to trick on an open forum? Show me where I have spoken of a ban.

    But one can always argue that excreta is as important as food and so they are the same and can be eaten with equal relish.

    This is what happens when you do not discriminate between legitimate and illegitimate reality. You tend to accept all equally.

    Happy landing!

  30. Watching Says:

    Today’s times of india.

    Gynecs are crying themselves hoarse about the havoc, get this, iPill is causing but they still think casual sex is cool and its practioners are “sensible”. There is no “moral dilemma” says Dr Ruchi Malhotra.

    The only problem is that these kids don’t know when to pop the pill and they either don’t do the popping enough or they do it too much.

    Why the heck don’t they come to us for advise or best practice?? Is what the docs seem to be saying.

    Once they receive tooling tips, they can go on their happy ways.

    Lambasting folks who agitated against iPill and its “philosophy” as “moral police” is legit. Wonder what the free loonies would call these docs? Another inadvertant after-effect the state needs to deal with? Why the state?
    Because society itself has been de-legitimized now.

    Yeah. More happy landings.

  31. Watching Says:

    Ah..I cannot seem to stop myself today :)
    The other day there was this news story about a study conducted on divorce and re-marriages. Seems that remarriages don’t really help “psych down” the female. She undergoes continued psychological trauma.

    There! Yells my neighborhood free femi looney. Did we not tell you to abolish marriages?? Marriage is bad because it causes families and, horrors, children! Ties the free and liberated woman down!

    Try telling these loonies they are wrong and you get branded the “moral police”. No, they need an expensive non-study to convince them otherwise. Sometimes even this does not help. “It’s an individual’s choice”. Yeah. As long as the state can be arm-twisted to pay for such “foibles” with my money!

    Amazing!

  32. tarlesubba Says:

    woa! somebodies loins are on fire aren’t they? how about actually doing it with a real woman or even women?

    as i said when the likes of lalu are actually doing it with their women, there are a whole bunch of others flipping channels.

  33. Aloknath Says:

    “By beating up women going to pubs. Don’t ban it, just beat them up and we will see who goes.”

    This issue has been so blown out of proportion that it’s become more of a joke.What happened was wrong, but it’s failure of law enforcement agency and the electorate in electing a right wing government.

    “By criminalizing homosexuality and subject them to harassment by law, by police and ordinary fundamentalists of all kind.”

    Ok. So homosexuality has been decriminalized. Great. But wait… how does it matter??? Does this give a freehand for homosexuals to participate in PDA(Public Display of Affection)? –> NO.
    Does it give them a right to shout out loud about themselves in public without the fear of prosecution? -YES
    Will they do it? –> NO
    Why? -> Because the problem was not the law or fear of prosecution, but the people of our great country. People who are not educated enough to understand such things. Ideal solution? –> Education, which apparently all “visionaries of freedom” never bother to mention.

    “By blocking websites that you do not like. Liberals say Block and ban are the same? They are not, they are 2 different English words after all.”
    Imagine a decent middle class housewife in India bearing the name Savitha and referred to as Savitha Bhabhi. Need I say more? It’s even beyond imagination the mental trauma she may have to face from sleazy remarks while traveling in bus/train. And please, don’t tell me such things don’t happen. If banning a website protects the fundamental right of even 1 person out of 1.2 billion, I am all for banning that website. I don’t care if millions lose their major source for jacking off, or if it makes India look a fundamentalist country. It provides 1 Indian the freedom to move around without any fear of lascivious looks/comments.

    All visionaries of freedom, if you really want to see “freedom” of porn in India, make sure that you get two things right. Educate the people so that they respect the rights and individuality of others, and improve the law enforcement to prevent abuses. Until then endure.

  34. Anonymous Guy Says:

    TS,

    I guess you are old enough/experienced enough to know that you dont have to make babies everytime you have sex. Its a choice one makes – whether Lalu or a whole bunch of others.

    Do you think that Lalu doesnt enjoy porn? Very good chance his sons has visited Savitababhi (Lalu too old now – like our watchingu).

    And what makes you think that those who flip channels dont do anything else ;)

    Watching,

    SB is a website not a magazine. Check it out before you go off passing sooo much judgement on it. BTW if you haven’t seen it why do you have so much to say about it. Maybe you can ask your children more about it :)

  35. Watching Says:

    So AG avoids a whole host of issues caused by his much propagated promiscuity and simply asks that I check out SB’s antics with my children. That’s his level or notion of responsibility.

    He might even justify it by saying “your life is yours”. Killing with kindness.

    Aloknath, I feel it’s not necessary to intellectualize or rationalize every issue we face. Some are obviously out of color.

    Mangalore would have happened inspite of any so called right wing govt. It is people who react against excess if responsibility is not shown either by opinion shapers or by any section of our society. Rama Sene or its method or Section 377 is not the question.

    Society still matters in India. Thank God and our people for that.

  36. Abhi Says:

    Aloknath – So your problem is with the name Savitha Bhabi and not the content itself. Is it okay if they change the site name? Even watching could not buy your argument, though he chose konkana-mailara route to say that.

    Now you are using lack of education as the justification for keeping the society closed? Free, open and rational society educates society. You can bring in 80% literacy level, but if you keep the society closed – you get a Saudi Arabia.

  37. Watching Says:

    Abhi, when was our society “closed”?

    You say our society is “closed” because there are still people who will not indulge depravity as a right?

    Btw, even depravity has it’s place in this society. But then that doesn’t change its charachter and make it a better value. This distinction is important.

    In short, if you seek legitimacy for depravity, you will be opposed.

  38. tarlesubba Says:

    AG,
    I am sure you realize the difference between actively engaging a real woman and the passive hiring of a fantasy. And I am sure you know that the former is an actual call to one’s manhood(with all that it means) and the later merely to one’s biology. Only the former IS and will ever be. And that in real life the holy grail is to make her resonate. and what makes her resonate is completely different from what you will ever see and read. and that there are only 16 productive hours per day. and you need all the time that is there to manipulate what IS to be actually interested in YOU, day after day, year after year.

    i know there are a lot of kids around and they will not buy into all this nonsense. and they have to learn all this from scratch by themselves out of their experience. but it is sad that even those who have been at this game for a while, and have perhaps have glimpsed of what is possible, still act like virgins.

  39. Watching Says:

    TS, manhood is at a premium these days. Just look at the gen-x male.

  40. tarlesubba Says:

    nodi saar. ri yaakri aurgaen kammi? the kids are not doing anything people have not done before. but for everything aa aa vayas noru aa aa vayasige takkante naDkonDrene yelladakku ond anda chenda.

    all this fear of growing in age is evergrowing and saying stupid things like xx is the new 20 is the gospel of advertising.

    time time-ge getting old, and crumbling under its pressures and becoming better persons as a result is the only fulfilling and purposeful thing to happen to a person.

  41. tarlesubba Says:

    AG bejaar maaDkobeDi. nothing personal. naanen nimma beega na nenTa-na? nayi bogaLadre svarga haaLe ankonD hoTTeghaakoLi.

    meanwhile watch this starting 7:00

    full kooLe. hilarious stuff. rofl!!! it hurts. there’s nothing like making a point with humour.

  42. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Abhi,

    Did you get savitabhabhi link working? What do you think :) The artwork has gotten bad in the last episode with the professor. Hope they do something about it.

    New episode starting this week.

  43. Watching Says:

    “Gospel of Advertising” – TS, nanu helBekada matAnna neeve helBitri.

  44. Anonymous Guy Says:

    TS,

    No offense taken at all.

    Check out SB sometime (if you havent already). You will find it quite entertaining. It will be most surprising if you dont :)

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