And Moral Policing On Valentine’s Day Continues Sans Consequences…
It is a hobby among certain right-wing groups in our country to go around moral policing unsuspecting couples on Valentine’s Day. Every year, these groups harass couples who are out to celebrate the day of love, beating them, filming them, making girls tie rakhi to their boyfriends or dates and worse marry them off. It is not any different this year. A video showing some members of the moral brigade allegedly marrying off a couple, they came across in a park in Medchal Telangana, is doing rounds on social media. The authority with which they are forcing the couple to marry each other, against their wish is chilling. But this outrageous behaviour has long gone unchecked. Even if we want to stop it today, we don’t know how to.
At it again, extreme right-wing elements forcibly 'marrying' off young couple they found in park in Medchal #Telangana; Whose morality are they imposing and what emboldens them to continue to act like 'social goons'? Man in video is self-congratulatory @ndtv #ValentineDayViolence pic.twitter.com/MPVq58xeX7
— Uma Sudhir (@umasudhir) February 14, 2019
- A video of right-wing activists marrying off a couple who were out to celebrate Valentine’s Day is doing rounds on social media.
- The authority with which they go around policing people on this day is chilling.
- We let this moral brigade run unchecked on our streets every year on Valentine’s Day.
- Unless falling in love becomes acceptable in all Indian homes groups like these will always find their actions as justified.
No one looks forward to Valentine’s Day as eagerly as these right-winger policing groups do. It is as if they live for this day, and the New Year’s Eve, when they can own the streets and unfurl the banner of hatred and morality openly. In their heads, these men think that they are doing a great service and protecting Indian culture from the evil grips of western traditions. How dare young couples go around canoodling so shamelessly? Aren’t Indian kids supposed to smother their emotions and obediently marry the person their parents ask them too? Who gave them this agency to express love, that too so openly?
While I am not a big fan of Valentine’s Day myself, this forceful implementation of morality is wrong. How do these men get to decide if loving someone is wrong or right? Who appointed them as the gatekeepers of Indian culture? Don’t individuals get to decide how they want to lead their lives? The aggression with which they push their agenda makes it clear that they are not scared of consequences. Parents aren’t warning their kids to stay at home on Valentine’s Day because that is the sanskari thing to do, but because they are afraid their kids may end up in the hands of the so-called moral brigade.
We need to ask ourselves why do we let this moral brigade run unchecked on our streets every year on Valentine’s Day?
All they achieve from pulling off such stunts is fifteen minutes of fame and terror to their name. We need to ask ourselves why do we let this moral brigade run unchecked on our streets every year on Valentine’s Day? How has it come to this, that they are proudly filming their actions and sharing it on social media? Today, they are bragging about marrying off two unsuspecting lovers, tomorrow it could be something more forceful. What behaviour will cross our limit of tolerance?
The aggression with which they push their agenda makes it clear that they are not scared of consequences.
Loving someone is not a crime, nor is expressing it. But in India the tag immorality is still attached to the act of falling in love. Unless falling in love becomes acceptable in all Indian homes, groups like these will always find their actions justified. And just because you put across your point with brute force, doesn’t mean that you are right. Harassing people is wrong, no matter what your reason is. However, if we are letting these people get away with it, then we are only encouraging them to carry on with their policing.
Picture credit: Deccan Chronicle
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.