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Kitchen, Church and Children: Shri Ram Sene Beats up Girls in a Pub
02/04/2009
By Ram Puniyani

Hitler, the epitome of sectarian politics had set many a norms, practices, which underlined his agenda of Fascism. He targeted the 'outsiders' (Jews, Communists) and suppressed the 'insiders' (workers, women). While what is most visible of his crimes is the genocide of Jews, what was also very damaging was that he suppressed the rights of women and workers. About women, he famously went on to pontificate that German women, love to be mothers and that their sphere of activity should be around Kitchen, Church and Children.

Another sectarian outfit, the Taliban after capturing power banned the women from public sphere, asking them to be in the confines of home; else severe punishment will be waiting for them. The fundamentalist groups like Dukhtarane Millat in Kashmir went on to throw acid on the face of the girls refusing to accept the Burqua. Controlling the lives, dress of women, to relegate them to subordinate position, is the common agenda of fundamentalist, fascist politics, irrespective of their religion or race to which they belong. Apart from other things this politics overall imposes the patriarchal norms in most aggressive way.

Nothing could have brought to our notice these facts more than the act of Shri Ram Sene, in Mangalore, when they beat up girls in a pub in Mangalore (25th Jan 09). Their argument, as articulated by their Chief, Pramod Mutalik is that this is against our Hindu culture. Since the time the BJP government has come to power, these groups have got a message that they can get away with their criminal activities due to the patronage of their ideological-political mentors. Earlier the same groups have vandalized churches few months ago. Now, while the hooligans attacked and took liberties with the girls their chief, Mutalik, was arrested initially on some other charges not for this crime by his outfit, Shri Ram Sene. It's only later that due to the pressure from media and the pressure of social opinion that he was also charged for this attack on girls. Not all the sainiks were arrested and even from amongst those who were arrested many were released on bail, such was the attitude of the BJP government.

It's a further matter of shame that the member of National Women's Commission who thought of investigating the case turned out to be the 'Bar Inspector' rather then a person concerned with women's issues. Her focus was the security at bar and the 'plight' of those who assaulted the girls. Accordingly she did not think it necessary to talks to the girls who were humiliated and beaten up, instead she gave a report with the help of which the criminals got the bail. So much about the fairness of this member of Commission! Fortunately the Women's welfare ministry team did a good job to give the truth version of the incident.   

The trajectory of the 'career of Mutalik, the chief of Sene, shows the deeper connections of RSS and other organizations, who are active in vandalism. Mutalik is a RSS trained swaymasevak, who later joined Bajrang Dal, and then Shiv Sena before floating this Shri Ram Sene.

BJP and RSS spokesmen criticized the action of the hooligans taking the law into their hands, but at the same time upheld the 'cause' of protection of Indian culture. Women should not go to the pub, they must 'behave'. They also justified Mutalik's ideology, while distancing them from the acts of violence and organizationally from the Shri Ram Sene. Same Mutalik who has been the aspirant of BJP ticket, might now become persona non grata for RSS-BJP, irrespective of the fact that he is a RSS trained swayam sevak. RSS operates for its goal of Hindu nation through a clever mechanism. It trains volunteers into the ideology of 'Hate Other', for creation of Hindu nation, and then these volunteers in turn go and set up different organizations to fulfill the goal of RSS.

The advantage in this technique is that if some progeny of RSS does a thing which is against law, against which public opinion is strong, they will quietly disown the person. Beginning with Nathuram Godse, the killer of Mahatma Gandhi, this has been their method. Even Dara Singh of Bajrang Dal, who burnt Pastor Graham Stains, was disowned by RSS-BJP combine once the outrage against the crime became strong in the air. It is a 'brilliant' and shrewd strategy. One of their warriors, Babu Bajrangi, who played a major role in Gujarat carnage, has also been very active in attacking the couples in Gujarat. This mechanism, where by RSS trains them to impose the elements of Hindu nation by playing different roles, helps it spreading the tentacles of its sectarian politics without facing the consequences of the criminal acts.

As such the ideological clones of RSS have been vandalizing and attacking cultural activities, gazal programs, painting exhibitions and film shows on regular basis. Girls, women have also been facing the brunt of this offensive. There have been the attacks on couples involved in inter-caste, inter-religious marriages. They have been creating ruckus on Valentine day, and against girls wearing jeans. It is not that the RSS affiliates have been very active in violence against Muslims and Christians, alone. Having intimidated those communities severely, now atrocities against women may become the major focus of their activities. The aim of, such crimes is to browbeat women into receding from social space. What role this intimidation of girls plays? It is clear that with such attacks, the girls will feel intimidated to freely move out; their parents will put more restrictions on them curtailing their freedom.

All this is being done in the name of Hindu traditions. These self appointed custodians of Hindu culture neither know Hinduism, nor do they have any idea of Hindu traditions. They are projecting their political agenda of Fundamentalism, the agenda of subjugation of women through these actions. One may ask do these attackers identify the practices of female infanticide, wife beating, and bride burning as practiced by many Hindus as the culture of Hinduism! Is it due to this that they have never taken up campaigns against these ills of Hindu society? Is it because of this, that we never hear the protest against these evils from these self proclaimed custodians of Hindu culture.

The agenda of 'politics in the name of Religion', aims to suppress the rights of women. Vijaya Raje Schindia, the BJP Vice President had upheld Sati, Mridula Sinha of BJP Mahila Morcha had upheld wife beating, dowry, and had advised women not to work outside unless it is a must. The RSS subordinate organization for women is Rashtra Sevika Samiti, where the word Swyam (self) is missing in contrast to the male organization, Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh. The clear indication of patriarchal values which the Hindu Right-wing up hold. Those concerned with women's welfare need to stand against the evil practices of dowry, bride burning, and female infanticide, while these attacks aim to abolish women's freedom, whatever little they have managed to get through their struggles. These attacks are meant to curb their right to choose their way of life and to impose controls of all sorts over them. 

The 'institution of religion' stood for subordinate position for women. Fundamentalism, coming from any religion has the similar social-political agenda. The nitty gritties of disowning apart, the superficial differences of Mutalik and BJP apart, they are guided by same ideology of Hindutva. No wonder the same Mutalik had links with the Malegaon blast accused Lt Col. Prasad Purohit, who holds Mutalik in high esteem. Unfortunately as the present matters stand, situation may create some furor in the country, which will die down over a period of time as BJP govt. will ensure that their foot soldiers, storm troopers of its ideology, get away without any serious punishments. After all they are ideological brothers; they are children of single father, the RSS, the ideological parent of the agenda of Hindu Rashtra.