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Sex, Religion and the Moral Police-Hindustan Times

Sex, Religion and the Moral Police-Hindustan Times

Two incidents over the last fortnight have provoked widespread outrage. The first is the attack on the Star News office in Bombay. The channel had offered shelter to a Hindu-Muslim couple and a hitherto unheard of Hindu extremist organisation had taken offence. Between 40 to 50 goons armed with crowbars arrived at Star News’ Bombay office and proceeded to destroy cars. They then attempted to enter the building, but were foiled by the arrival of the police. The second incident is the Richard Gere-Shilpa Shetty controversy. I am probably the only person in India who has not seen the footage but from what I can tell Gere kissed Shilpa on stage at some AIDS function and then twirled her around in the manner of some of his recent movies (Chicago, for instance). This was enough to provoke anger among various organisations that claimed Gere and Shilpa had acted in a manner that offended Indian sensibilities and was out of tune with the standards of our society. Both incidents have evoked similar reactions. In the case of the Star News attack, the condemnation has been swift and all-encompassing. Even the Shiv Sena has come out in favour of Star News as has the BJP. The Gere-Shilpa kiss is more complicated but it is fair to say that the protestors represent only a tiny, isolated minority. Most sensible people have taken the line that there was nothing obscene about the kiss and that the protests are silly.

A much needed voice of reason in a country still racked with religious primitivism.


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