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'If A Man Is Provoked By Such Clothes, Who Can One Blame?'

While the rape of a minor girl by a police officer at Mumbai's Marine Drive outraged the country and the city, Shiv Sena's Marathi mouthpiece Saamna on Monday, April 25, 2005, carried its very own take.
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'If A Man Is Provoked By Such Clothes, Who Can One Blame?'
'If A Man Is Provoked By Such Clothes, Who Can One Blame?'

Being cautious makes the world seem good. That's the advice that growing children get from their experienced grandparents. But, in today’s superfast world, grandparents have been consigned to old-age homes and youth have fallen in the page-three trap. In the attempt to provide a ‘free’ atmosphere at home, parents proudly allow girls to wear skimpy clothes and give boys uncontrolled freedom. But this modern path is strewn with shards of glass and we don’t see parents telling their children to tread carefully.

The rape of a minor girl at the Marine Drive police chowki has brought into focus the question of free culture. The danger of page-three culture is knocking at our doors. Many elders strolling around on Marine Drive caution that one should be aware of the times.

The More [the police officer responsible for the outrage] incident is a blot not only on the police force but also on society. At More’s chowki, semi-nude photographs of women were found. The skimpy nature of clothes worn by girls, in the name of fashion, indicates where the society is headed. A ‘below-the-waist’ fashion is cited as the reason for the seeming competition among young women to show their undergarments. A family outing on Chowpatty does not seem feasible anymore. The sight of girls dangling cigarettes openly is cause for concern. If a man is provoked by such clothes, who can one blame?

In a glamorous society such as Mumbai’s, it is not possible for working women to be home before 8 pm. But because of this free culture, respectable girls stepping out of their homes are also in danger, and this advice of grandmothers definitely seems apt, prompted as it is by the posters of Page 3 and Zahar.

One thing has to be brought to notice: page three culture is banging on our doors. The situation in Mumbai is such, specially for adolescent girls, that the path seems strewn with glass shards. Why don’t the elders of the house object when these girls wear skimpy clothes and leave home? Why don’t they correct the myth that being modern does not mean wearing skimpy clothes? Why is the young generation modern in attire but not modern in thought? One after another, these questions are coming to the forefront.

Those who argue that there is no connection between women and girls wearing skimpy clothes and rape should see it in the context of our social structure. Besides rape, it is the evil eye of men provoked by the culture of skimpy clothes that is harmful. Why encourage these perverse tendencies?

In the name of remixes, the wave of ‘sex appeal’ is ruining entire generations. If an adolescent boy develops perverse tendencies because of such hot movies and their obscene posters, and an innocent girl falls victim to that, then who is to blame? The boy’s perversity or society?

Translation of the front-page article in Shiv Sena’s Marathi mouthpiece Saamna on Monday, April 25, 2005.

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