Taliban Alla Alla


Godwin’s Law: “As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”

Priya’s Indian adaptation: “As any public debate rages on, the probability of a comparison involving the Taliban approaches one.

Any instance of the government even slightly showing muscle in matters that involve personal law or society at large, and there you go! You start encountering phrases like “Talibanization of Indian Society”.

Nowhere else has it been this pronounced as it is in the rebel yell against the 11:30 PM deadline in Bangalore. Bangalore Times, which has embraced this cause as its own, has daily columns by local celebrities (which it has created itself over the past few years, for use in situations like these) which scream again and again about how brutal the administration is.

No big deal… there are whiners always.

But what struck me is that no one, not a single soul has gone about this issue in a sensible way. Any wannabe party-goer immediately denounces the whole deal as Taliban. No one takes the point of view of the police, or the government. And worse, they treat this like it’s a decision of the City Police… why isn’t anyone seeing that they merely implement the law, not frame it! If they really did have an issue, they should stop conducting toothless campaigns like these (which only serve to tarnish the name of the city police… for doing their duty) and take the matter up in court.

The problem with this sort of approach is that the real issues are lost in the din. Has anyone bothered to check if there is a real reason behind the implementation of this law? No, I don’t mean the one that says the authorities love to Talibanize the city. Possibly the one that says that most of the dancing that goes on is done for money… I mean the bar girls. Flesh trade forms a major portion of the earnings of the seedier joints. And these also serve as hubs of extortion… you get the idea.

And then you have cases of drunken driving.

Now how is a short-staffed force supposed to deal with this? Especially since most of the owners of seedy joints are well-connected. And so are the drunk drivers. No, don’t say education is the answer… how many drunk drivers are illiterate? How many drunk people actually hail an autorickshaw to go home? Booking them hasn’t been effective so far.

There might have been a Justice For Jessica campaign, and Nanda might have been finally convicted, but who knows how many Jessicas have gone unnoticed? Can there be a media campaign for each victim of drunken misbehaviour? And is each campaign guaranteed to work? Is a media campaign the only way of ensuring justice?

if the answer to the last one is yes, it’s a very sad day indeed for the country. The Mafia-ization of India will be complete.

So… well… I’m not arguing drinking is evil. There are people who think drinking rocks, and yet another sizeable population which doesn’t quite agree. And the former group imposing their point of view on the latter is as good an example of Talibanization as the other way around.

So now how do the authorities strike a balance? I suppose “Greater good to the greatest number of people” is a common-enough heuristic to use. And an outright ban seems to give the authorities some teeth to deal with the hubs of flesh trade.

And I suppose not being able to drink in a public place after 11:30 PM is a small price to pay when you compare it to the number of girls being dragged away from their home villages and being sold. Surely the party-goers of Bangalore can afford to make a small sacrifice for this greater good?

PS: There are so many points being made in favour of bar girls, bar dancing, and legalizing prostitution. Now before you even think of saying something on those lines, give this a thought. Prostitution is legal in Germany. Sehr gut, these BgT celebrities will say, showing off what they learnt last Saturday at Max Mueller Bhavan. But then, when Angelika Hannehmann files for unemployment benefits due to an IT industry slowdown, the folks there will say, why do we need to pay you unemployment benefits? You can quite easily earn money! Prostitution is too a profession!

About wanderlust

just your average books-and-music person who wants to change the world.
This entry was posted in analysis, Bangalore, Controversies and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Taliban Alla Alla

  1. Logik says:

    Actually you’re wrong on the connection between 11.30 ban and drunken driving. I’d rather have the drunk drivers come out at 2.00 a.m and knock off less no. of people, rather than at 11.30. I’m assuming that the people living on the streets are constant in both case, but people roaming on the streets are lesser in the post 2.00 case.
    There is a point however that people living on the streets would be more alert at 11.30, hence have a greater probability of escaping.
    That aside, the main reasons are to do with moral stuff. Not that you’d find bar girls at all bars, but it indeed is a rampant issue. In the light of recent events of techies doing shady timepass in the out-skirts of the city, and being morally policed, this is indeed a welcome change.

  2. Karthik Ram says:

    Don’t agree with most of what you have written. I cudn’t care less if the bars close at 11 or 2. it is the principle. Do you believe that intent is as important as outcome? I do. The way i see it, the politicians and the police in question are flexing their not so puny muscles not to prevent a few drunken driving deaths or b’coz they care for the poor Mrs.lives-on-the-street who might be sexually assaulted by a party-goer at 2am. it is b’coz they believe that partying after midnight… partying anytime actually, is against our cultural mores. unIndian. since an outright ban on partying or drinking is politically suicidal, given the young demographic and the revenue (white and black) it generates, they take the politically safer route of restrictions. (b’coz no restrictions is also a politically suicidal move… thanks to the sizeable ‘appear to be morally upright’ demography in the country)

    closing down bars at 11 or 12 may actually stop crimes and create paradise on earth. but the intent with which the government machinery is set to work is pure and simple moral policing. there is more mileage to it that way than as a law and order issue. and that is why talibanization is a favourite word.

    p.s. When Angelika Hannehmann claims unemployment, no one would point out that she could earn money prostituting herself. it is like saying wat if the IT industry has slowed down, why don’t u become a doctor n treat patients. there r enuf sick ppl to treat. she is unemployed b’coz she has no job in her ‘chosen’ profession.

  3. Logik says:

    @KarthikRam – “If the IT industry slows down, become a doctor”? Wow. I’d love to be in a country where that works. Especially after 4 years of engineering.
    “Nurse, Please bring my log-tables, I need to calculate some incision locations here. “

  4. wanderlust says:

    @logik:
    i didn’t really follow your first comment.
    @aravind:
    i guess it’s because people come to money without hard work, and in a very short period of time, that they don’t know the value of it. nice post.
    @karthik ram:
    that is a very short-sighted view of the police and policy-makers to take. one that shows evidence of brainwash from those who cry ‘taliban!!’ at the smallest issue.
    from my experience, i’ll say the police, atleast the bangalore police are quite friendly, and more or less have the good of the people in mind, and do not believe in infringing others’ freedom for the sake of it. they are a pleasant jolly lot who are all smiles and reassurance when they don’t have to scare the shit out of a possible criminal…. i mean in which other city will a traffic policeman tell you alternative routes to avoid traffic and reach home faster?
    and i dont think the karnataka govt is out to police the state morally. when the home minister wanted a ban on beer, the chief minister went on record to revoke it and say ‘he has the right to not take alcohol, but not the right to stop others from taking alcohol’.
    if you have been following the bangalore editions of newspapers, you’ll see that it’s pretty hard to deal with drunk misbehavior with lawful means. folks like adam bidapa seem to get away with anything they do; his mother even pushed a policeman on the stairs of the ashok nagar police station, and got away with it.
    however, this is a small issue compared to the flesh trade. we don’t want a sonagachchi in bangalore now, do we. a blanket ban seems the only option in sight considering nothing else can work against the connected bar owners. maybe they treat ‘their girls’ well, and maybe ‘the girls’ are in it voluntarily to put food on the table and pay for maa’s medicines, but it certainly is not a kind profession, and it certainly should not be an option to consider for your bread and butter. illegalizing it is one way of discouraging the practice. a negative incentive.
    and also, girls from rural areas all over the country are brought in forcibly to this profession. you can’t stop at blaming the system here. something needs to be done quick.
    and if this blanket ban inconveniences folks who voluntarily party, it cannot really be helped. in a war, there is bound to be collateral damage.
    in my opinion, these whiners are akin to those cribbing that kargil made the nation tense and spoiled their good mood.

    as for angelika…. umrao jaan does not need a PhD. or even an SSLC. they will not ask angelika to become a doctor coz she is not qualified. but harlot… well.. she certainly is qualified. just like the rest of the world.
    and folks at the unemployment office do not care what job you get… they just want you to not add to the number of unemployed folks in the nation. and you can’t blame them… the welfare state pays you in your time of unemployment.
    @logik:
    i think he was referring to the absurdity of it.

  5. Karthik Ram says:

    i am pleased that u have a good view of the bangalore police. if they really r wat u say they r… then i am happy for u. but didn’t u mention that the police were only law enforcers not makers and wat cud they do if the politicians framed stupid laws. that the nice police uncle gave u directions does not acquit the ‘intent’ of our neta.

    and yes the prospect of an employment officer asking someone to become a prostitute so he can have one less unemployed person on the logsheet is absurd. it is not abt qualification… it is choice. policeman is a good man but employment officer is a villainous bastard. how did tht happen? u didn’t register at the employment exchange n wait for the post, did u?

    i am surprised that u r defending the statement… instead of saying that the example was jus to make a point n shouldn’t be taken literally.

    in a war there is bound to be collateral damage… wat in fuck’s name does that mean? i thought only bush was allowed to say that.

  6. wanderlust says:

    >>that the nice police uncle gave u directions does not acquit the ‘intent’ of our neta.
    so why is all the ire being directed against the police in bangalore? why isn’t it taken to the courts yet?

    the unemployment statement is certainly not reducto ad absurdum or parody! it can really happen!
    now if in my college’s placement scenario i’ve ditched sitting for jobs in services, and have been rejected by the core ones, my placement officer considers it his god-given duty to ensure i get a job, and won’t hesitate to advise me to join FIIT-JEE for their ‘technical’ positions… all he worries about is that i walk out of nitk with a job.
    similarly, if prostitution is legal, it’s going to get the same status as other jobs, and brothels can legally enlist mainstream employment agencies to help them find employees.
    and there’s nothing villainous about the employment officer in question.. he is simply doing his duty. he has a list of available jobs, and he’s counselling you to make sure you’re not unemployed… i mean, in the eyes of 99% of people, some job is better than no job at all.

    it’s amazing how you attribute any statement to Bush. let me make it clear i don’t read bush quotes. this one’s from Ocean’s Thirteen.
    and previously you had mentioned ‘you’re either with us or against us’ as a bushism… while i have to say i didn’t say that, i’ll also tell you that quote existed possibly even before bush had his first crush… jayaprakash narayan used it to describe the communists of india once.

  7. Karthik Ram says:

    i don’t know about the ire being directed at police and i am sorry if they get hit in the crossfire bet’n the party-goers and the moral police. collateral damage, maybe?

    the point i am trying to fight out with u is not whether the media is right in blaming the policemen for the early shutdown of bars or in calling it talibanization. ofcourse the media doesn’t care for it more than as fodder. and talibanization sounds so poetic. put a turban on top of T and beard the O and u have a catchy graphic.

    as for our angelika, even in a country where prostitution is illegal, the employment officer can only say there are openings in the bread factory… can’t stop her from getting dole b’coz she won’t take it. u wrote “won’t hesitate to advise me to join FIIT-JEE”. there i rest the case.

    prostitution is not wrong, exploitation of women is. u agree? if making it legal prevents exploitation, then maybe it should be made legal. why wud u object to it if it ‘gets the same status as other jobs’? what r u worried of; ppl selling books on how to be a prostitute in 30 days and starting coaching centres in every town.

    my point again is simple… do we object to bars being open late b’coz it is a law and order issue or b’coz it is morally repugnant? do we want to stop prostitution b’coz poor women r being tricked into/pushed to it or do we want to stop it b’coz it is morally repugnant?

    haven’t watched oceans 13 but am not surprised. clooney is known to take digs at bush. bush, btw is the icon of neoconservatives. so anything that comes from that far right is “something that only Bush wud say”

  8. wanderlust says:

    the question of moral policing in the bangalore context is one fabricated by the media. there are no ‘moral police’ bursting into parties and vandalizing the booze bottles etc.
    and who is talking of forcible induction into new jobs? it’s a take-it-or-leave-it thing. i dont know how unemployment offices work, but i don’t think they’ll be doling out benefits forever to an individual. especially when jobs are available.
    the point i wanted to stress was that in such a situation where prostitution is legal, people would see nothing wrong in getting into such a profession, or advising others into it…. it was more like IF you are alright with the implications of that, (possibly including the coaching insti scenario) THEN you probably can talk more about legalizing prostitution.
    people mostly seem to have a simplistic view that the implication would only be that women who really desperately want to put food on the table can now do so without fearing the law, and ignore other scenarios.
    my opinion doesn’t come into the picture here.
    in a country like india, where artisans and craftsmen are themselves exploited, you think simply legalizing prostitution is going to help? this is a debate that has been on for ages, and the consensus has been that legalizing in the current scenario is not right.

    in bangalore, bars have been open till the wee hours for ages. it’s only now that the authorities are cracking down. why do you think that is? sudden moral awakening? epiphany?

    as for prostitution… i’ll say both. the debate on whether prostitution is right or wrong can go on for ages till we are blue in the face, and it will still not be resolved.

    why is the collateral damage statement far-right?
    and is bush the only rightist you know?
    and is being right wrong?

  9. Gaurav says:

    Well among many things, you are stating quite a few issues here! The one that is debated and contrary to what you say is actually being contested in court is the “law” that you cannot have any form of live entertainment at a place that serves alcohol.

    Lets sidestep the 11.30 deadline, its been there since forever and we have lived with it, for that matter, I was in London a few months back and most eateries there close by 10PM and there is no law against it even! So that is not something we are protesting. I am saying we because I am affected by the live entertainment rule.

    I am a musician and my band couldn’t be considered a “live band” by the furthest stretch of any imagination. Also, there are many such bands which are not “live bands” as defined by the police. Now just like there are varying degrees of crime and there is varying punishment, I ask that you not generalize when it comes to entertainment and make a couple of kids playing their guitars a “live band” and then go right ahead and BAN them!

    And honestly, do you really think a ban of any sort will stop prostitution?! it was never legal, what are you banning to curb that? have you driven past MG Road post 9PM recently? I see an increase and not a decrease!

    There are bigger problems to fix and there are other things to concentrate on and all that is well true, but randomly banning stuff never solves any problem!

  10. Not A Witty Nick says:

    Huh! what makes the so-called “Live Bands” more evil than the plain bands?

    11.30 curfew is also being challenged in the courts of law and the media circus!

    I saw celebrities arguing in their broken languages, trying reason with a kid journo that offis is no longer 9 to 5, it is 9 to 9, 10, 11 or even 12 now, so poor hardworking people need these eateries, pubs, and discotheques to eat and unwind!

    Of course the police can make laws, they can take many policy decisions themselves, they needn’t approach their political masters to ratify their each and every order.

    IMHO, police should start using those noise measuring instruments and measure the noise leaking out of these establishments, this would lead to businessmen soundproofing their noise generating establishments and they will obviously pass on the expenses to their patrons and only few good quality establishments would find it feasible to run. We can drive away those in residential areas and green areas by approaching court!

  11. Karthik Ram says:

    when a friend affects a stylish mannerism, i ask him if he thinks he is rajnikanth. rajnikanth is not the only person in this world who has stylish mannerisms. he is perhaps not the most famous one. but he is a representative of all style figures. bush is not the only right winger. he is not the greatest right winger. he is a representative of a certain type of right winger.

    collateral damage is not a ‘right’ word. others have said it. but none have said it as often and with such unceasing carelessness as the present bush administration. why is it careless… b’coz it devalues the loss. oh! it is nothing… just collateral damage. a small price to pay for the greater good.

    (i will suspend judgement on whether it is good to be ‘right’ or not. whatever floats ur boat)

    u honestly believe that by closing bars at 11:30, the govt will stop girls from villages being sold into flesh trade. or even reduce. i understand it is a small scarifice to make. if it would even be remotely effective.

    a possible scenario: bar girls dance for money… u close the bar early. they cannot ‘dance’ for money and end up sleeping for money. so… now does closing the bar early prevent them from being exploited in the flesh trade or gives the seedy joint owners an excuse to expand their other, ‘far seedier’ operations.

    if curbing flesh trade was the mandate of the govt’s ban i am sure they can think of a million ways tht r more effective. if it is drunken driving that is the problem, it can still be controlled by other means. in australia, for instance, bars/pubs close by midnight on all days but fri and sat. when they r open until 3 or 4. and they double the patrols on those days stationing cops close to the drinking joints.

    my argument from the beginning was that the govt was not trying to solve problems here and their intent needs to be examined.

    i satisfy your IF condition. i see nothing wrong (why is it wrong really?) in prostitution getting legal status or being considered on par with other professions. i m repulsed by blood. i wudn’t want to be a doctor if they paid me a billion dollars. similarly i’d not want to have sex with someone i do not emotionally connect with. but that is just me. i will not ask someone to be a doctor and i will not ask them not to be a prostitute.

    what was ur point exactly abt the artists and craftsmen? since they get exploited and their professions are legal, making prostitution legal will not stop exploitation? legal or illegal, women, artists and craftsmen will be exploited. so why bother?

    just curious to know if it is not moral awakening or epiphany, why is it that the authorities have cracked down on bars now all of a sudden? was it not a problem before? i am sure prostitutes have existed in bangalore before (even if sonaganji didn’t exist) and drunken driving too. why the ban now?

    p.s. in a welfare state that is exactly how unemployment benefits work. the govt keeps paying u until u take a job. ofcourse u r mandated to apply for jobs and attend atleast 2 interviews or something like that. but don’t worry. no one is going to push poor angelika into prostitution if she has reservations about it.

  12. wanderlust says:

    ah… blog, long time no see!
    @gaurav:
    ah, finally some clarity from the other side! good to see comments like this, and not just ones screaming taliban.
    i can see your point about the ‘no live entertainment AND alcohol’ bit, and any counter-argument i put forth would have been refuted a hazaar times by you elsewhere; i’m sure you’re too aware of the other issues for your concern to be a random one.
    but tell me one thing, why is it that there are no alcohol-free nightspots? is alcohol a mandatory accompaniment to any sort of entertainment? while protests are to be expected, why aren’t people finding ways around this, like maybe all-night jams at coffee shops and restaurants? are pubs and bars the only entertainment spots we can find?
    and when i thought about your comment, i’m not able to phrase any difference between a live band and a band performing live, which is not ambiguous. some help there?

    @karthik ram:
    bush stands for too many things, and bushisms too. however rajni stands only for ishtyle and superstar. your argument isn’t valid.
    it’s easy to bust a brothel. but a live-band… heck, they do the same raunchy moves madonna does.
    and if there are no opportunities like bar dancing in bangalore, the bringing of girls to bangalore will stop.
    prostitution being illegal… feministic reasons, social reasons, health reasons, there are many.
    as for the crackdown… it’s like saying cars and buses have been plying around richmond circle for like forever, why do you want a flyover now.
    and btw, i verified the source from which i took the german argument… i quote the author here:
    Like in all West the German Government provides doles till employment is offered to the unemployed. An unemployed German girl receiving the dole was stunned when told by the employment office to either join a brothel that had jobs to offer her or, if she declined to, become disentitled to her dole! Why? As Germany had legalised prostitution as an industry, a job in a brothel was as good any other employment for women in market economics!

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