For the first time since I have moved here, I feel ashamed of being a Chennaivaasi.
My city has disgraced itself, and I am outraged, hurt and ashamed.
Being from small-town Tamilnadu, the Chennai cop has always been, to me at least, a comfortable-to-deal-with entity. There are rules and lines, which if broken or crossed, will get you into trouble with one of them. However, these are clear and well defined, and as long as you have not transgressed, the Chennai cop is a reasonable, and to an extent, even tolerant, person. Contrast this with a provincial cop, with whom you are always in trouble. The fact that he wears a uniform, and you do not, seems to give him the authority to behave badly with you and harrass you, which he does not hesitate to take advantage of. Compared to them, Chennai cops were a refreshing change. Not any longer, it seems. The Chennai police have proved themselves to be intolerant and retrograde, and have been backed up by a judge’s ruling that it is “indecent” for a man to kiss his wife. In jumped the so-called guardians of “Tamil culture” – none of whom has even an iota of knowledge about Tamil, culture, or the underpinning ethos of what they so flippantly call “thamizh panpaadu” – and cried themselves hoarse about the degradation of Tamil values and the Tamil way of life.
This came as the cherry topping the culture brigade’s massive cake, which had as its ingredients:
The trashing of Khushboo, who, in answer to a question as part of India Today’s annual sex survey, uttered what were perhaps the most sensible things any actress in India has said till date, when she called upon women to protect themselves from STDs, AIDS and unwanted pregnancies.
The intolerant and retrograde policies of Tamilnadu’s “premier” technical University. It is interesting to note that the Vice Chancellor saw it more important to take careful note of what women students in colleges under him were wearing than to see how his university could effectively handle all the administrative hassles of 229 (?) colleges – a matter that has since grown to such proportions that there has been talk of de-affiliating the colleges from the university. While the VC was ensuring that his students (both men and women) were “decently” dressed, less important things like academics and administration have fallen by the wayside.
All this has brought about what one thought would never happen in Tamilnadu – Tamil Talibanism.
And by being mute spectators, we too are party to it.