My article Pubs, Liquor Shops and Women Empowerment infuriated some and pleased some. I reproduce here all the comments received. I have avoided reacting to any comments, except in one case. Mr. Indukant Ragade insisted that I give him a detailed reply. So, I wrote a letter to him. My letter to him sums up my response to all the furious reactions that I have received. Please scroll down to the end of the page to read my response.
I only wish that the so-called liberals and intellectuals had kept to norms of decency and public debate. It is really strange that someone who is in his seventies and has been at senior positions in industry can start flaunting his caste, get down to ridicule, sarcasm and incoherent meaningless blabbering just because someone has expressed an opinion that the worthy gentleman does not agree with. In India, many so-called liberals and intellectuals have been aping the west for so long that they have internalized the colonial master's attitude to natives. For these 'wise' men and women drinking single malt whisky is progress and development, while drinking toddy is barbaric. I have neither the inclination nor the mind to engage in debate with these 'wise' men and women. I think that you, the reader, can make a wise decision without any rebuttal or retort from me.
With Best Wishes and Regards,
16 May 2009
Dear Mr Anil Chawla,
Your article titled "'Chaddis' and Liberation" in The New Indian Express dated 26 February 2009, Chennai edition was well written and thought provoking.
I would like to share with you my perspective on some of the issues that you had raised.
At the outset let me say that I totally agree with you that violence is not a solution to any problem. Having said that let me point out the differences that I perceive in the two situations that you had discussed in your article. One is of women in the S Farm slum coming together to beat up the alcoholic men in their families and the second is of Sri Rama Sene men beating up women in a pub.
1. Based on my experience of having worked with women's groups across India, I will assume that the women in S Farm slum have lived with the alcoholism and the violence of their menfolk for some years now. I will also assume that they have tried dialogue, nagging, intervention of elders, sulking, etc. before resorting to beating them up publicly.
As far as we know, the Sri Rama Sene men beat up the women (girls actually) in the pub, without any dialogue before hand.
The S Farm slum women resorted to violence as a last resort while the Sri Rama Sene men resorted to violence as a first resort.
2. The women in S Farm slums were fed up with the daily violence that they were themselves facing and were therefore protesting.
There is no evidence of the girls in the Amnesia pub being violent or having negatively impacted the Sri Rama Sene men.
3. The women who resorted to violence were trying to protect their families and their incomes from being drunk away each night.
The girls in the Amnesia pub were either spending their pocket money from their parents, or had part time jobs with which to finance their jaunts. It does not appear that the Sri Rama Sene men were financing their drinking.
4. As you pointed out, the women in S Farms slum went about their protest far away from the media gaze.
While the Sri Rama Sene made it a point to ensure that the media were present. I wonder if they were really worried about public morals or their own publicity.
The issue of The Week dated 22 February had a picture inside the Amnesia Pub - it showed these very uncomfortable looking girls sitting around a table with nothing on it - no glasses, no ash trays nothing. I wonder if these girls were even drinking! And yes, that is possible. I have gone to pubs just to be with friends and had fruit juices and mocktails the whole evening.
My perspective differs from yours based on the above arguments. I think Muthalik and his team are criminals because they attacked girls who probably were enjoying a drink, based on the premise that drinking is a sin and a sign of looseness.
The women from S Farm slums are not criminals, because they had resorted to violence after putting up with violence themselves and having their household income squandered. I think the argument will hold even in a court of law which typically tends to be unemotional.
I agree with you that drunkenness is not acceptable, whether by men or women - it has a negative impact on the household economy and on one's health and invariably leads to violence. However, the occasional drink cannot be banned because of that.
Women's groups ask for a total ban on alcohol because that is the only way to reduce consumption by men and thereby reduce the problems that go with it. Everyone is well aware that alcohol does not disappear because of a ban.
If we drag Hindu culture into this, there are several temples across India where the main offering to the deity is alcohol and meat. The Gods themselves drink, but on occasion only.
Finally about the CPLFW - it must be understood that the group is to mock at what happened. And so are its responses. Of course, Pink chaddies are not the solution to any problem!! The group knows that! The response is to ridicule the steps which the Sri Rama Sene has taken. Pink chaddies are as obscene as beating up those girls on camera. The whole thing is satirical in nature and to be seen as such as has been repeatedly explained on the groups' facebook page.
Of course, just by writing you a letter, I don't think that you are going to agree with all that I say. However, I do hope that you are able to see your arguments from another perspective, just as your article showed me another side to the events.
I am one of the 46,330 members of the "Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women" (CPLFW) on Facebook - mainly because I am sick and tired of the religious right telling us women how we should behave: what we should wear, talk, think and dream about, what we should aspire to, and in general, how we should live our lives. (And yes, I confess I sent a pink chaddi).
The Sri Ram Sene is no different from the Taliban in Afghanistan - and the notion that women should uphold their narrow vision of 'Indian culture' by being chaste, docile and like children, seen but not heard, is just not okay with me.
I also run a non-profit organization that works on women's rights and am a member of many protest movements that are more 'serious' in form, unlike the cheeky Pink Chaddi (I joined it partly because I liked the form: the cheeky in-your-face nature). And I knew it would attract attention and make its points.
For me, the protests of both the Pink Chaddi campaign and the women at S Farm are equally valid and I support both: in both, women are making choices/taking decisions to improve their situations, different though they are. (Yes, the violence against male drinkers point is interesting - what's left out of Anil Chawla's account is possibly that the S Farm women had tried every possible way to stop their husbands from blowing up their incomes in drink before resorting to 'community' beating. Atleast that's what happened in similar cases in Andhra Pradesh, where grassroots women launched a huge anti-arrack struggle in the 1980s). Also, beating with chappals is an action designed more to shame, than to harm. So yes, it outwardly has the shape of violence but is it really violence akin to what the women in Mangalore experienced?
The two elephants in the room - invisible but present in both cases - are 'class' and 'power. Class because that's what differentiates the women in both groups and the choices they make; we know that class gives everyone, including women some privileges - including better education, health etc - and brings with it a certain kind of 'modernization' and yes, 'looseness' in the loosest sense of the word. So what's wrong with that? Power because in both situations women are attempting to ensure that more powerful men (don't forget that the S Farm husbands are financially powerful even though they are being painted as poor beaten men here!) don't disempower them.
So yes, you are free to disagree, but for me both these are radical and creative acts of protest. (The 'right to drink' point is too ridiculous to answer).
From: Swarup Sarkar
Dear Mr. Anil,
Nice to see your view and gender netural stand. Unfortunately, all the law makers and media establishes beyond reasonable doubt, that, Men in India are Free ATM machine only.
Hope you will write some think about men welfare also, as in this country the men welfare word is totally vanished.
We wonder Whose life is more in danger in India : Men or Women?
Will Our LAW Makers change the LAW 304B( dowry death) to 304C( Sowry Death) and 498A ( harrasement to wife) to 498B ( Sowry harrasement by wife)
From: Anand Patel
When I saw the video about the activists from Mangalore on TV, my first thought was "Why don't they go to the slums and stop drunkards instead of doing this". Because those folks live in abject poverty and destroy their families. The Taliban have gained a lot of legitimacy by such actions and so could the activists. One could argue that women who can afford to drink and do are also likely to destroy their families, but somehow they don't get on my list of people I wish to protect as much as the wives and kids of the poor men who are habitual drunkards. But our activists seem more obsessed with symbolism, and at some level I wonder if they just can't handle other people having a good time. Hey if I couldn't have fun, neither can you... remember the ragging principle - if I got ragged, I will rag someone else.
But the activist's behavior also brought me to another train of thought: is a culture "permanent" and must be defended or can we allow it to evolve? Was Hindu culture always what it is, or did it evolve? Is any evolution of a culture to be condemned or is only some evolution to be condemned? And who decides? Our guardians the Shiv Sena, who were making people holding hands do sit ups on Valentine's day? Or the woman who started the pink chaddis campaign? Honestly, I don't know. What I do believe is that evolution based on violence is not based on intellect and it is more likely to fail. So who is right?
From: Alakananda Rao
YES, it is true ..in both cases though the actions were completely opposite, women have been standing up only against curbing of individual freedom promised in our constitution .. and not the Right to drink!
The gentleman in question Pramod Muthalik, leader of Shriram Sene, has confessed to being a follower of Nathuram Godse and we women have only used the non-violent Gandhian principles to protest against the actions which any sane person would obviously interpret as aimed with an eye towards the vote bank in the ensuing elections. Why else would he need someone as eminent as Mr. Chawla to defend him?
The pubs in Mangalore and Bangalore are frequented by as many men as women .. why no action against them .. are we going the Taliban way?
As for the women in the slum areas ..of course they turn violent when the politician-hooch dealer nexus turns their loved ones into corpses ..How many such headlines have we seen just this past year?
And have we not seen just how these drunken men who can ill-afford the liquor they consume pass lewd comments at the maids and their daughters and often they are forced to marry the young girls and take them out of the locality even as they reach puberty .. a bare 13 or 15 years!!
And as for this line ..... beating up of women drinkers is in no way worse or more condemnable than bashing up of alcoholic men..
Can we really compare these men to empowered women who are capable of deciding what action they can take ..Or perhaps THEREIN lies the problem empowerment of women is an issue that most politicians are unable to deal with.!!
It would be good to know JUST WHAT ACTIONS the women who were drinking did to harm the goons of Pramod Muthalik that led to his actions. WAS there a provication .. what was it ?
Or is the rule of Law no longer valid in our country.
Perhaps the author has really lost his sense of balance!!
In the case of S.Farm, the wives of the drinkers were protesting against their own husbands, presumably because of the impact of drinking on the lives and finances of their own families. Not that violence shd be condoned at all.
However in the case of Mangalore, total strangers took it upon themselves to rough up women who were peacefully sitting in the pub, they had no connection with the goons at all, and Mutalik's men had abs no right to touch them or object to what they were doing. I wld hv thought that the difference wld be obvious to anybody with a thinking mind!
From: Pratap K Mishra
I am a strong believer in preserving Indian culture and values; and do consider Valentine Days celebration as not a desirable practice. I have generally found your views positive and constrructive.
However, in the present case, having seen on TV channels the way the girls/women were treated and manhandled -- even if not molexted, in the Mangalore pub, is shameful There is just no defence for such vandalism and any one indullging in such acts, is definitely acting against the Indian values and cultures.
Therefore, your contention that the event has been blown up, does not stand scrutiny, and your defence therefore, is just NOT ACCEPTABLE to any Indian who is worried about the Indian culture.
I have therefore no reason to go thru your attached article.
I WOULD STRONGLY SUGGETS THAT YOU ALSO JOIN IN CONDEMNING THE SPECIFIC INSTANCE OF THE SO-CALLED RAMA SENE FIRST AND FOREMOST IN STEAD OF DEFENDING IT BY WHICH ACT YOU ARE ALSO DEFAMING THE INDIAN CULTURE AND VALUES.
Pratap K Mishra
From: Prof. Deepak Khemani
You seem to be disapproving the pink chaddi campaign and gving your approval of what happened in Mangalore ("Nothing can be more legitimate political activity than that.") in the same breadth, and hence linking them together.
You say the former is untenable. What about the latter (pulling some (stranger) woman's hair and slapping her till she falls down)? I would indeed say who are they to do so! Is one more untenable than the other?
The poor men who squander their money on liquor are hurting/harming their family. The issue is economic. If a rich woman goes to a pub and drinks who is she hurting? You say the issue is moral/cultural. ("No religion or system of morality on earth can ever accept that women (or men) should drink..."). What indeed is the relation between drinking and "morality"?
And what about Mr. Muthalik's statement that I saw him making on TV that "they" will accost any boy and girl they see walking together and get them married? Are they upholding "our" culture?
From: Vikas Khandekar
Happy Valentines Day to you too!
I have read your article and here is what I have to say.
Moral policing, beating women, sending pink chaddies, gifting pink sares .... all these are the symptoms of a much deeper question that I have harboured in mind for quite some time. The questions that raised by these incidents at a superficial level are about an individual's freedom of expression, the right to lead his/ her life in the best way that he/ she finds it fit (without, of course, crossing the legal boundaries - as best as the law of the land would permit) etc.
But if we dig into our conscience a little deeper, I feel that there is a conflict about the gender (in)equality too. For example, a man coming home drunk one day, from the office and beating up his wife is still "ok... big deal, it happens everywhere" here in India. but imagine, if the same thing happens with the woman coming home and doing the same to her husband! It would immediately meet with censure from the neighbourhood, the society et all. All would jump in to brand the woman in question, of having a filthy and loose character. Rightly or wrongly, a 20-something boy going to a pub probably would still be acceptable to the same people, who beat up the women.
By no means, I am in the favour of permeating the pub culture, or at least the bad part of that culture. Nor do I wish to condone or accept what those people who beat up the women. But at the same time, at the same time, I want to make a comment that there is double standards here - one for men and another for women.
I have absolutely no problem with people (girls/ women included) having a good time in the evening enjoying a good drink, as long as they behave responsibly. I am sure most of us do not subscribe to the use of pubs as "pick-up joints" for you-know-what. That surely is something that crosses the legal boundary as well.
So, I think there are a lot of issues involved in the series of incidents that have happened.
Let me know what you/ other readers think.
From: I.S. Rao
It is a very interesting article. I am more concerned about the Constitution says in Article 47. I have not read it, but the spirit is what I agree with.
Seeing Aahaatas expanding in a state like M.P. which has still very low family incomes, and Govt. itself allowing to grant more licences has pained me.
In states like AP, GUJARAT parties captured power and introduced prohibition of liquor. Later, in AP it was removed only because of the exchequer's gains of funds from sale of liquor licences...forgetting the struggle women did to introduce prohibition.
I also pained at sale of liquor to the defence personnel, who openly boast about it. Also of their friends who ask them to buy for their parties to these defence, both in-service and ex-personnel. It serves like medicine for those posted in cold regions, but extending the same to other regions should be regulated.
Your article was in context of mangalore incident, but I expressed views beyond it.
Thanks once again for voicing the concerns, with supporting facts to counter even so called liberalists of Women forums.
Have a nice day!
From: H B Kakade
In my opinion, there is no way any Ram sena or Shiv sena can treat people the way they think is right, like blackening one's face, getting the boy married to donkey or getting teenagers married. Where is the need to do all this? We have much bigger problems in this country to concentrate on. The incident in Mangalore is nothing but a political gimmick on the blessing of parent parties, as elections are near by.
Any women going to pub, need not be a loose woman, it is just there choice of leading life without violating any law. I think they did the right think by sending pink chaddis to these guys.
Hello Anil Sir,
Its indeed an excellently written post...
I've replicated it on my blog http://societymirror.info/index.php/2009/02/pubs-liquor-shops-and-women-empowerment with due credit to you.
Hope you won't have an objection to me publishing on my blog.
From: Kalyan Roy
A few perverted persons, posing as liberals and intellectuals are holding the country to ransom.
They are the mouth piece of the free market press, for whom non-events like Valentine's Day mean big business in the form of wild parties, SMS and cards. These people are least bothered about social evils being perpetrated.
Good luck in your endeavour.
From: SL Chowdhary
Very well written.
Majority of the people will surely agree with you. Hope media in general and English press in particular will moderate themselves.
Problem with media is that if they can put their hand on RSS or anything they can remotely connect with RSS, they want to pounce upon it. This results in forgetting all logic and reason.
From: B.S. Doraiswamy
Dear Mr. Chawla
You are doing a great social service by writing articles like the one which appeared in New Indian Express--bringing out clearly the erosion to social values by mindless aping of western habits-- which only goes to promote commercial interests and that too temporarily.
What is disquieting however is the means adopted by people like Mr Muthalik. By resorting to violence, they damage their own cause. If only Mr Muthalik had used peaceful protests in front of pubs, he would have achieved his objective and in the process won the praise of the common man. He may get less publicity to start with, but patience and persistence will yield him better results. And will not bring a bad name to the movement. Whether it is the agitation against conversion, or erosion of our own cultural ethos, or any moral degradations, the movement cannot be founded on violence.
I request you and eminent persons like you to take a firm stand against lawlessness under any garb. We have too much of law breaking going on in this country for our good. Let not a good cause be marred by adoption of illegal and violent methods. Results may be slow in coming, but they last very much long.
b s doraiswamy
From: T.G. Sreenivasan
Kind attn: Mr.Anil Chawla
Thank you so much for bringing your opinion today in Ind.Express about the Woman's Right miss-used by the Print & Electronic Media.
We are all experiencing from the current journalism, only the negative aspects in the societies are given more important than our National Burning issues. To achieve more and more Readership to exploit the business opportunity across publications utilise their main page with TERRORISING THE READERS ON ONE ISSUE OR ANOTHER without going deeply on the impact created in the society.
Expecting such Positives from you in future too.
From: Manu Gupta
Hello Mr Chawla,
This is a feedback to your article titled " 'Chaddis' and liberation" in todays newspaper (TNIE, 26th Feb 09).
I feel great to have read your viewpoints and agree with you to a large extent. Your article presents altogether a different and fresh perspective on this issue. Taking the instance of relocating ahaata and comparing with the current scenario sounds really beautiful.
I shall be looking forward to further of your articles and please let me know if you have any blog, so that I can keep in touch with your writings.
From: Jayaram RamaswamyHi Anil,
Yes happy to read your opinion about the recent Mangalore pub event. Your example also is nice. Some lines sound as reactions, wish they were responses too!
From: B. Ramesh
Dear Mr Chawla,
I feel like asking the following question to CPLFW: Do hooligans spare a lone woman on the road who is going out to purchase a vital medicine for her husband or child or parents?
To my knowledge, in India, any woman is likely to be harassed if walking alone on the road in the night. If this is the case why criticise the attack on pub bound women alone? Why not protest against any kind of violence against women?
From: Indukanth Ragade
Communism believes in the equality of all men. Gandhiji and the Pope also believe in the equality of men. Therefore Gandhiji and the Pope are both communists. Ridiculous? No, Gentlemen, if philosopher-engineer-cum-management consultant Mr. Anil Chawla's logic in making comparisons is accepted.
For instance, Chawla pontificates¨" When women protest against drinking, there are no issues of individual freedom or human rights nor 'who gave you the right to do this'? I am not in favour of beating up any one. For all those who believe in the equality women, beating up women drinkers is in no way worse or more than bashing up alcoholic men."
So, Mr. Chawla, if young women go to a pub with their boy friends or their husbands and have some drinks from their own earnings or from the earnings of their escorts, and go home without disturbing any one else in the neighbourhood, just because they have had (some) drinks they become equal to the "alcoholic men" from S Farm slum who go alone to the neighbouring liquor shop, blow up their earnings in drink and beat up their wives? And as the Government permits the location of wine shops in residential areas (including slums) or near schools, with the police not doing anything about the nuisance created in the neighbourhood by the drunken men, the women have no choice but to take the law into their hands. If women can do this to men, given that men and women should have equal rights, in Mr. Chawla's logic, Mr. Muthalik's men (and not anyone from their families) are fully justified to go and beat up the young ladies and their escorts and husbands inside a pub for the 'evil' act of drinking! The wisdom of Solomon indeed from the management consultant -cum-philosopher-cum- scientist.
Men have been drinking for ages, but it is not evil till they blow up their earnings and beat their wives. But it becomes evil the moment some ladies go to a pub and have a few drinks without disturbing anybody.
You say, Mr. Chawla, that "No religion or system of morality on earth would ever accept that women (or men) should drink and indulge in sex without restriction". Indeed, Sir. Thank you. But, all over the world, (including in our own religious nation), who has more ready access to 'sex without restriction' on payment? Women? Or Men?
"The dictionary", you say, "defines a loose woman as a woman adulterer". What about the men who go to the numerous brothels all over India? Poor Fellows, they are only satisfying a normal natural instinct, aren't they? So why don't you advocate legalising brothels in India too as it is in Holland.?
By the moral codes of the likes of Mr. Muthalik, women and men should not kiss in public. So if to-day's young couples kiss in public, Mr. Chawla, would you also justify beating them up, as happened in some places in India or getting them forcibly married (as some moral-police almost did in Haryana on Valentine Day to a "couple" on the road who happened to be brother and sister!)
You have painstakingly searched the dictionary and found what a loose woman is. In your world, there are apparently only loose men but no loose men. You have also termed 'the public display of panties' by the CPLFW as 'obscene by every cultural standard.' In a recent Tamil movie, there is a statement "In our country, kissing in public is wrong but pissing in public is right"! What about this practice which is indulged in exclusively by men (including those highly educated) all over India even on concrete pavements in full view of women and children passing by just a few feet away? It is not obscene, isn't it, Mr. Chawla? Nor are these men by any standard 'loose' or 'liberated' men. They are only normal men loosening their pant buttons and liberating their bladders from tension in order to retain good health.
Incidentally, Mr. Chawla, when you loftily state that "No religion or system of morality", do you know how many are the references to soma pana drunk by our ancients and offered as oblation to the gods in our Vedas?
Dear Mr. Ragade,
I am sorry for the delay in responding to you. I have read you comments and see no merit in engaging in an argument with you.
Surely, you have a different viewpoint than mine. More than differences in viewpoints, your comments display anger. My experience tells me that one should never engage in argument with someone who is angry. So, please forgive me for not reacting to your outburst.
With best wishes & regards,
Your article was sent to me by Mr.Ashok Joshi who was my classmate in college from 1954-57 and with whom I have kept in touch ever since. We are both in our seventies now. He sent me your article along with another by Mr.S.Gurumurthy which appeared in the NIE on the same day as yours appeared with the comment that the two excellently complement each other. Ashok, of course, is an RSS admirer, a Pune Brahmin, and in spite of having spent his entire business career in the metallurgical field, has involved himself deeply in the growth of the Muslim population in India and published two scholarly books along with Mr.J.S.Bajaj on his own, in which he highlights what he believes is the threat posed by this to our future. While his statistics may be undisputable, it is the interpretation w.r.t. then future that is open to diff. interpretations, as we can't accurately predict future sociological developments.
I am also a Brahmin, deeply influenced by the Ramakrishna Mission from young days. I had seriously considered joining that order even although ultimately I did not. I am a great lover of Sanskrit and have spent time in learning Panini grammar. My professional as well as personal life has been influenced by the teachings of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda. I too, like my friend am a great admirer of our religion and one who believes that we are lagging behind because we are afraid to say we are Hindus. But I also would say that this is because we do not behave as Hindus as Vivekananda thundered us to do. I had worked in Atul, Gujarat as a Production Manager in a leading dye-stuff industry for 16 years during which I have had direct contact with many Muslim families and their members working in the Factory. Thereafter I have worked as the Vice-Chairman of a Company that revolutionized the Real Estate industry in Chennai by committing to do business in an ethical and transparent manner in a field notorious for shady dealings and earned a reputation for constructing over 250 quality residential apartment complexes .comprising over 3500 apartments. This Company's name ("Alacrity") is a household name in Chennai. In this activity, I have met and moved with Muslim employees, flat buyers and their families, contractors and suppliers.
You too obviously deeply feel that Hinduism is getting a bad deal in its own land. I do not know how much direct contact you have had with Muslims. I do agree that there is appeasement of minorities, with the PM going to the extent of stating recently that the Muslims have the first priority in getting the benefit of our resources. I also, like you, believe that our nation is a Hindu nation and we should be proud to say so loudly - a nation that has taken in its care those who were thrown out of their land or those who came to be part of us; a nation that had a rich history of not only philosophy and culture but equally in science and technology. But we lost it by neglect and default. But, if we have to revive it to its earlier glory, we have to not only be proud to be Hindus but true Hindus where we proclaim Vasudhaiva Kutumbakkam, Lokaah samasthaah sukhino bhavanthu, Sangachadwam Samvadadhwam etc. The only difference between people like me and people like my friend Ashok and you is in the means to be adopted for this purpose.
I reacted to your article and sent in the comments to my friend, Ashok. His response was emotional as was yours and did not deal with the questions raised for a discussion. He also suggested that I send it to you for comments. I told him that I would do so. When I got your instant reaction stating that you got it, but you are in Turkey and would respond when you are back, I told Ashok that while you responded immediately, I highly doubt that you would really get down to a mature discussion. The events thereafter have just confirmed that!
You say I am angry and there is no point in any discussion with an angry person. Mr. Chawla, Anger and Rage are two different emotions. Anger is a positive emotion! Thus, when I see some injustice being done to someone, if I get angry, it is the right thing for I then will try to correct the injustice or perhaps help the victim. I become strong in the process even if my efforts to correct the injustice fail to yield the results hoped for. But if I allow that anger to get the better of me, anger turns to rage and when on is enraged, reason tends to desert the person and he/she gets emotional and tends to act unproductively or negatively.
When the Rama Sena attacked the women and men drinking in the pub, they were not angry but enraged at the way those women were behaving was not in tune withtheir own personal standards. Their mere objective to wean women from drink did not give them any authority to take the law into their own hands and attack the women. By taking the law into their own hands, they contributed to the spread of anarchy and lawlessness. As one with an engineering background and management training and philosophic bent of mind, you should naturally have condemned the Ram Sena's act. But then, the urge to keep Hinduism pure and Hindu women in the mold of Sita and Savitri is so strong that you look at the same act emotionally with rage and all the past training fails you: to look at any issue by collecting all relevant facts about it, analyzing them, going after more facts and then coming to a conclusion and in the process having the openness of the mind to alter whatever initial opinion one may have had on that issue as the analysis progresses and then only draw conclusions. So you zero in on two words, 'Chaddi' and 'Loose' and use all your literary strengths and your facile pen to go into wild reasoning of Obscenity, Loose living and even Adultery to condemn the wronged women!
It is that rage that makes you unable to enter into a mature discussion with me, to look at my reasoning and counter it with all your scholarship. Give a dog a name and then hang it, as the saying goes! So you give me a walk-over, terming my sarcasm and irony as anger and you would not stoop low to deal with someone who can't reason! There is the other saying that the man, who did not know how to dance, blamed his inability to do so to the rough stage provided! What a sad waste of scholarship, Mr.Chawla.
If after reading this, if you just ignore it and don't bother to respond, I would not regret the time and effort spent on the matter. For silence would only confirm that what I have said has gone home. Besides, I basically wanted to wean my friend away from the thinking and logic of people like you. I am therefore endorsing a copy of this letter to him. To make it easier for you to respond, if you desire to, I have attached my original comments sent to you in early March as also my comments sent to my friend to the same which still strongly defended you.
As an end-piece, may I quote a Samskrit sloka I studied in school for your contemplation?
"Satyam Brooyath Priyam Brooyath, Na Brooyath Satyam Apriyam,
Priyam cha Naanrutham Brooyath, Yesha Dharmah Santayana"
With my good wishes to you.
Indukanth S. Ragade
Dear Mr. Ragade,
Thanks for your persistence and for taking the time to give such a detailed reaction to my article. The worst fate for any author is to be ignored. I am glad that I have passed beyond that stage to one where I invite anger and even ridicule. This is a necessary stage before any writer moves to wide acceptance. I do hope that with blessings of learned and accomplished people like you, I shall soon move to the next stage.
Coming to replying, let me clarify my way of looking at intellectual discourse. Greek dialogue presumes that one is right and the other is wrong. On the other hand, in the Indian philosophical tradition, one utters one's thoughts and the other utters his thoughts. It is acknowledged that both may be partly right, both may be fully right or may be that both are completely wrong. In the Indian philosophical tradition, at least as I have understood it, there is no desire to win an argument. The right course is to let both (or even all) sides of the discourse sink in and each person makes one's thoughts absorbing a bit of the other as time passes.
If you take a few minutes to see my website www.samarthbharat.com you will see the wide range of issues that I have touched in my writings. It is not unusual for me to receive angry responses. But my rule is that I should never react. Sometimes it has even happened that I have put some very angry and critical responses on the website without any reaction. The reader is intelligent enough to decide after reading both the viewpoints.
I plan to put all the reactions on my article about pub-incident on my website as and when I get some time. I can assure you that, unless you forbid me to do so, I shall put your reaction too on the website.
Coming to the points that you have made about me and my article - There are just a few points that I shall like to clarify:
You might agree with the above points or disagree with them. I have no desire to convince you of my being right and your being wrong. That, in my philosophical system, is unpardonable arrogance. A few years down the line, probably, both of us would have changed to some degree by the interaction that we have had. So, let us be friends discussing but never trying to conclude any agreement.
Hope that I have adequately replied to someone who is surely more learned and accomplished that I can ever hope to be, without arrogance and with all the humility that a Hindu philosopher must at all times have.
Thanks & regards,
For the original article Pubs, Liquor Shops and Women Empowerment, Please click here.
Please write to me your comments about the above discussion.
ANIL CHAWLA is an engineer and a lwayer by qualification but a philosopher by vocation and a management consultant by profession.
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