Friday, October 07, 2005

Moral Policing by GOI

GOI = Government of India

Have you followed the passing of law to outlaw the dance bars from Mumbai and now to close the dance clubs in Bangalore? Well, I was in Mumbai when the dance bar closure issue was in the limelight and now, I am reading this article about Bangalore.

First let me differentiate between regular "Dance Clubs" and exotic "Dance Bars". I think I need to do this based on the comments I read after this article. Regular Dance Clubs are where people go to have a drink or two, dance with friends, meet friends and have fun. Some even go to meet someone new. Why would someone go to meet someone at a dance club, I don't know, but perhaps the full bar and alcohol brings the defences down and people are little more open to talking once they have some alcohol in their system. Music could be aother major factor as some people, including me, love dancing to good music. Dance Bars, on the contrary, have just girls of questionable character dancing. I say questionable because not all, I believe, are there for exploiting and wringing money by selling flesh, they might be there because of circumstances, desperate need for money, or other such reasons. These Dance Bars, are sometimes used as a door way to prostitution. I hope there is no more confusion in understanding a lounge or restaurant or a discotheque.

Now, should a govt. pass a law to outlaw Dance Bars? Perhaps, based on what kind of a society people living in that place want. I would say pass a law to outlaw prostitution and use the police force to enforce this law. Considering the social stigma people have for people with questionable character in India, I think the barrier to do such activities is already very high. If someone can convince me that enforcing a law like this is one of the most important issues plaguing the police department, then I wouldn't mind them spending their time enforcing such a law.

What about Dance Clubs, Lounges, Restaurants with bars/dance floors and Discotheques? They are there for very clean entertainment and even I wouldn't mind my kids going to such places. People go to such places to meet up with friends, eat, drink, talk, dance and have fun. There is nothing wrong about that. Why should then a government, which I believe has many more important things to do, pass a law regulating such places? Don't the police have other work like stopping illegal drug activities, improving the security of the place, not letting the son of that commissioner or that minister to not abuse his Dad's/Mom's power? Besides, do such activities stop after passing such a law?

People say, we should be proud of our own culture and not get influenced with western culture. Completely BS. You want your kids to talk in English, study in English medium schools, go to a "phoren" country to be better off, but when it comes to having fun in a place with good booze and music, you feel insecure? Is dancing to good music with friends while having a little booze such a bad thing and such a foreign thing to us? I don't think so. Is our culture so fragile and our values so weak that we will forget them by dancing to western music, which by the way has many Indian sounds/instruments nowadays? I have one thing to say to people who oppose these places, will your kids change to become someone you want them to be if they do not go to clubs or lounges?

With regards to making alcohol illegal, all I have to say is, it doesn't work. Alcohol is illegal in Gujarat, the western state of India, but people have easy access to alcohol by illegal markets. Tons of alcohol is smuggled in the state by road from Rajasthan and other states. I would rather that government illegalize consumption of alcohol before certain age, say 21 and then spend the energy to enforce such a law rather than making alcohol illegal. Agreed that easy access to alcohol will make even those few people drink who are on the borderline. But, will it be so bad if those borderline people drink a little in moderation? Every person has a right to enjoy life in his or her own way as far as it is not spoiling other's freedom, liberty and choice to do things. Please let the adults decide on their own what is good for them. They should have that much sense right? Let us not impose our ideologies and ways of life on other people.

Bangalore has grown so much despite the fact that its infrastructure is not able to keep pace with the growth. Shouldn't government there be busy to take this opportunity to change the face of bangalore, improve the governance and make services extremely streamlined and efficient? They have this golden opportunity to make use of the current preference of the tech industry to locate there and what are they busy doing? Creating a moral police. Sigh.

In a democracy, I believe sometimes we have to put up with something that we don't completely approve of. As far as it is not interfering with your way of life, let others do what they want. Live and let live.


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