Like its uneasy relationship with Gandhi (how do you attack a meticulously devout Hindu who may be a Muslim-lover?), the Sangh parivar has an uneasy relationship with the modern Indian woman. How much freedom should she be allowed? The parivar may have travelled some distance from the barefoot, pregnant and in-the-kitchen mindset to the current Smriti Irani position. Ms Irani is the ideal, modern Indian woman for the parivar. In her body language, sartorial style, fluent opinions and exaggerated sindoor, she represents how far the parivar is prepared to go to accept modernity. The inestimable Ms Irani wouldn’t dream of wearing figure-hugging jeans, much less sip the occasional glass of white wine. Smriti, no doubt, works in the decadent and morally loose film industry, but she is fully protected by the indestructible Hindu ethos.
Pubs are anathema to the parivar. If a woman must go to a bar, she should be chaperoned by her husband and drink only fruit juice while hubby gets sloshed. That arrangement is acceptable. However, two or three or four girls going unescorted to a pub is against our Indian culture! Why? Firstly, these women are exercising independent choice—always a dangerous thing. Secondly, they are unaccompanied by either uncles or elders. Thirdly, and this is critical, pubs are places where innocent Hindu girls are trapped by Mohammedan men with the aid of alcohol and false promises. Thus, not only is a pub a location for alcoholic vice but a venue for Hindu-Muslim social commingling. Another worry: these Muslim males are invariably fair, handsome and virile, so our pure Hindu girls are easily lured. Consequently, pub culture is a source of twin evils: liquor and inter-communal intimacy. It is okay, even admirable, for Hindu men to have illicit sex before, during and after marriage, but for the Bharatiya nari, sex outside marriage is a sin guaranteed to send her straight to hell. Only when the parivar accepts that adult men and women have an equal right to do ‘evil’ will it come to terms with pub culture.
The American journalist-writer, H.L. Mencken, believed that once you put a few drinks inside a woman, you are 90 per cent sure of getting her into bed. If he were alive today, Mencken would be a card-carrying member of the BJP.
I thought notable features of this article by Vinod Mehta are;
1. An absurd frame of reference
2. An uncharacteristic and ironic allusion
3. An ambiguous position
I tried to check Vinod Mehta's previous usages of H L Mencken's quote.
THE celebrated American journalist, H.L. Mencken, cautioned his readers not to fret over howls of "rape of democracy" from political parties since, in all probability, not even a molestation would have occurred. As the BJP’s ‘rape’ protests mount, with the party threatening to move everything from the Supreme Court to buses on the streets of Lucknow, it would be prudent to coolly consider what manner of constitutional ‘subversion’ has taken place through Governor Romesh Bhandari’s decision to impose President’s rule.
Maybe Vinod Mehta wants to become H L Mencken of India. A person with an ambiguous attitude towards social issues. Or is he just bothered that Taliban has been trivialized to 'women beaters' thus echoing H L Mencken's sentiment about "rape of democracy"?
In my opinion, it is just a law and order situation. Any intellectual analysis is absurd. There is absolutely no difference between purity pollution rules of castes and of the religions they hate. The rules of these were sanctified in West Asia.