I am taking a break today from the politics of food, agriculture and hunger. I think we need to discuss another development that hits the very foundation of human relationships. Yes, I am talking of falling in love and not able to sustain it for one reason or the other. Much of the creative writing and poetry over the ages revolves around love, and let us not kill it.
I feel outraged at the way a section of the media has brought human relationship under the police scanner. The (sic) moral policing by some of the media personalities, who devoted more of the prime time on TV discussing "Who killed Viveka Babajee?" has forced the Mumbai police to track down the men who knew her, and is holding them responsible for her suicide.
When I was young (and I am sure I was no exception) I remembered by heart a quotation, which I haven't still forgotten: "It is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all." In today's context, looking at the way a section of the media is portraying the tragic suicide of Viveka, I don't think the youngsters (and also not so young) will find any virtue in this age-old saying. To be loved and lost can now put you in jail or at least make your life miserable doing the rounds of police station and court rooms.
Oh, my God ! Who would like to fall in love now !!
And more so with an aspiring model or a second-grade film actress. They know that they can achieve fame posthumously, what they failed to do when they were alive. But what is worrying me is that why the elite in the society are becoming helpless before the kind of collateral damage that such media coverage is bringing about? Why can't respected citizens, including women activists, stand up and denounce policing of human relationships. So what, if the person who committed suicide was a second-grade model? After all, when relationships break, both sides do get shattered. Why should the man (or woman) be hauled up for failure to work out the relationship?
How can you forget the sad tone in Reena Roy's voice when she sang those famous lines in a Hindi film: "Sheesha ho yah dil ho, aakhir toot jata hai."
As Bachi Karkaria writes in The Times of India today: "Relationships disintegrate all the time, more so in commitment-deficit scenarios. The beautiful model had been long enough in the brittle, self-serving world of glam sham to know this. Her problem was that mocking imposter, hope. But surely, that can't be held against a man (or woman) who has made it very clear that feeling is no longer reciprocated -- or never was. Cruel, but then so is life."
She further writes: "Only the terminally naive will shake their heads and/or their fists over the perceived sexploitation. In this jugar of high-gloss ambition, predator and prey are indistinguishable. Everyone's on the make and the take. It's an accepted mantra. Morality has nothing to do with it; indeed, in this brand of MoUs, it is completely irrelevant to the negotiations."
How true? Thank you Bachi Karkaria for saying this so clearly and loudly. I am sure knowing what happened to Al Gore in the US and David Devdar of Penguin publishers in Canada recently, it is becoming obvious that sexploitation is now becoming the worst forms of exploitation that the society is faced with. Unless we stand up to it now, and refuse to be cow down by the shrieking faminists on the TV shows, we would be adding on to the collateral damage that the future generations are going to be born with.
Sexploitation by females today is a politically incorrect statement. In fact, female sexploitation is likely to become more obnoxious in the days to come. The Indian government is planning to treat victims of sexual harassment at par with rape. The proposed Bill provides that no information about the complainant or the complaint can be made known to the media or public "in any manner" even in response to RTI applications. The only way to escape this of course is not to employ women in your office. I am sure many entrepreneurs will prefer to do without female staff rather than getting unwittingly into trouble at some stage or the other.
Draconian, isn't it? I don't know why and where has common sense disappeared among those who draft such pieces of legislation. It is widely accepted that the dowry laws as well as the domestic violence laws are being flagrantly violated by women. It has become an easy, simple and convenient route for extracting money. And yet, there is no punishment for those women who file such wrong cases. At least I don't know if any women who filed a wrong complaint has ever been arrested. This is not the way to administer justice.
Bringing in another legislation that legalises sexploitation is certainly making a mockery of justice. No wonder, public faith in judiciary is fast on a decline. The judiciary cannot hide its face saying that the laws were made by the executive. They must stand up and make the necessary correction.
Anyway, returning back to human relationships, as Bachi Karkaria says: "Relationships can't be sustained, much less demanded, at emotional gunpoint."
You can read her column: Outdated models (TOI, July 1) at