February 2017 came as shock to many youth in india when a young man from kerela was forced to commit suicide after days of harassment followed by his Valentine’s Day meeting with his girlfriend at Kollam beach.
The meeting that was meant to celebrate their love came to a sad ending when the unfortunate couple ran into a group of drunk moral police who allegedly taped the entire incident and posted it online. In spite of the police complaints when no action was taken the young man was pressurized to end his life. Stating this incident most of us would tend to think moral policing is wrong but how do you define wrong here.
And more importantly what is moral policing?
Moral police is a blanket term used for vigilante groups in India which act to enforce a code of morality. But as we understand from the incident above it is highly misused and mostly politically driven.
Difference in Generational Thinking
After speaking to lot of people from various age groups I could understand the difference in psychology around moral policing. The younger crowd or teenagers to be specific think any kind of moral policing is not only wrong but offensive. They themselves and no one else should decide what is right or wrong for them. They must be allowed to self police and no one else should have the right to poke them or stop them.
We understand from this that the youth today not only welcomes new traditions but also wants to enjoy the freedom Indian constitution has bestowed upon every individual of India.
The second group was the middle aged group which surprisingly gave me a far more diversified view towards moral policing. Most of them believed it’s wrong and specially how the extremist groups tend to act under the mask of moral police but some believed that obscenity in public is not okay and would definitely correct a couple if according to their opinion an act is compromising the environment or being obscene. Which brings another question over the surface how do we define obscenity specially in a culturally inclined Indian society.
The same age group had some more interesting ways to look at moral policing some strongly contempt moral policing and believe everyone has the right to live the way they want to and some believed that moral policing should rather be done on corruption and other evils of the society, if the society can close its eyes over these far more important issues than it can easily close its eyes on what couples do on Valentine’s Day or any other day for that matter.
What I could understand from this group’s point of view was that moral policing is wrong but the couples should also think before becoming too intimate in a public forum.
Third group included the older age group people with more life experience and stronger influence of Indian culture. They strongly opposed goons in the mask of policing but supported moral policing as a whole. They do not support couples meeting in public and specially expressing love and affection in public. Their psychology comes from the traditions that have been set by ancestors and a strong bonding to the traditional Indian values that has never been open to romantic relationships.
I being middle aged myself tend to be inclined towards the opinion of the middle age group and elaborating on the same I believe that moral policing is not right, specially the group of goons who are not only are politically driven but consider themselves as protectors of society and commit heinous crimes in the wake of it.
I also believe couples should be more careful how they act while being in public which again was the point made by the younger generation. I truly believe in today’s time ‘self policing’ rather than ‘moral policing’ is required to respect both our Indian cultural values and for accepting newer traditions.
And most definitely moral policing if exists should be driven towards correcting far more important issues like Eve teasing, rapes and endless number of crimes that are committed everyday towards the weaker section of the society.