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  • PUCL-K Report: Cultural Policing in Dakshin Kannada

    Anindita SenguptaTHE PEOPLE’S Union for Civil Liberties, Karnataka (PUCL-K), has put together a very comprehensive report on Cultural Policing in Dakshin Kannada. The fact-finding team (which included our contributor Usha BN) traveled to Mangalore and conducted extensive interviews with key groups, activists, academics and the police. The report provides interesting background information on Dakshin Kannada as a region, looks at the current climate of fear and lawlessness, and examines the multiple factors involved in this. It points out some very interesting things — the intersection of communalisation and criminalisation, cultural policing as ‘social apartheid’ and the role of the media, police, civil society. Read / download the entire report for free. Please spread the word widely as well by pasting extracts on your blogs or websites if possible.

    Excerpts:

    As one observer, who has been covering the events in Dakshina Kannada, put it, “Today saffron is the colour of power. You just walk around with a big red tilak and see how people treat you. Right from the shop keeper to the bus conductor to the policeman, everybody gives you respect. Without the tilak you are nothing, with the tilak you become a power structure.” Munir Kattipalya of the DYFI echoes this sentiment when he says, “This district is not only communalized but also progressively criminalized.”

    What is indicated by such statements is that there is a strong link between communalization and criminalization. It is precisely because the state has chosen not to act when criminal activities are perpetrated under the garb of religion that criminal elements now feel that they have the sanction to perpetrate violence and Cultural Policing in Dakshina Kannada other forms of intimidation by using the garb of religion. This possibly explains the proliferation of vigilante groups in Dakshina Kannada.

    And:

    Cultural policing in turn leads to forms of ‘social apartheid.’ By ‘social apartheid,’ what we mean is a policing of community boundaries through laying down what manners of dress and what manners of expression are appropriate for each selfenclosed community. The conventional understanding of apartheid as it was practiced in South Africa refers to a structure of segregation of the people of South Africa through law. By social apartheid, we mean a practice of segregating communities on the basis of religion and gender by self-styled vigilante groups as well as prescribing appropriate behaviour and conduct for the separate communities. Social apartheid is successful only because it has the implicit support of the state, and hence enjoys immunity for its patently lawless actions. It is important to stress that social apartheid is not just about segregating communities but it is equally concerned about the culture, dress, and deportment of individuals within the community.

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    What Lies Beneath?

    IT’S BEEN AMUSING to see the uproar around the Pink Chaddi Campaign over the last few days, with some of the ‘finest journalistic minds in the country’ pitching in with their opinions. This piece, ironically called ‘What Lies Beneath’, by Sagarika Ghose in Hindustan Times was particularly baffling, shallow as a frying pan and about as full of noise. I wish one could ignore such vapidity, but the piece was also disturbing at many levels. Some of us sent a rejoinder to HT. Unsurprisingly, they neither acknowledged it, nor responded.  Continue reading

    Saturday: Protest in Bangalore

    DEFEND THE RIGHT TO LOVE

    Date: Saturday, February 14, 2009
    Time: 12:00pm – 2:00pm
    Location: Mahatma Gandhi Statue on MG Road at 12 o’clock. We will walk through MG road and Brigade road Continue reading

    The Power of Pink Chaddis

    IT’S COOL. It’s cheeky. It’s clever. I’m talking about the Pink Chaddi Campaign. Women all over the country are gathering pink chaddis and sending them to Muthalik as a Valentine’s Day present. The plan is to strike disgust in the teensy little non-heart of our chief moral guardian — and to loudly assert the fact that the bogeymen of morality, dignity, chastity etc cannot be used to take our freedom away. Gifting panties may seem like a softer option than dung bombing his house but it makes a strong statement on our collective lack of ‘shame’, the one quality he’s trying so desperately to instill in us. Continue reading

    Sunday: Say, I am – a performative walk.

    Students of Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore, have organized a choreographed demonstration against the mangalore attacks and the statements that made after that. This walk is on Sunday, 8th Feb, 4 pm onwards. Continue reading

    Saturday: Protest March in Bangalore

    We Condemn Mangalore Pub Attack And Moral Policing Peace Procession

    MG Road to Vidhan Soudha
    7th February 2009
    10 AM to 12 PM

    “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead Continue reading