Moral mischief

Updated: Nov 19 2005, 05:30am hrs
The virulent attack launched on Tamil film actress Khushboo for her remark on pre-marital sex by some so-called keepers of morality in Tamil Nadu is typical of our hypocritical society. Indeed, the extent to which the campaign against her has been carried outat least 25 defamation cases have been filed against her and she has even been forced to seek bail in one of these casessuggests there is much more to it than any attempt to preserve societys moral values.

Sure, there may be many in this purportedly conservative country (never mind that it is the land of the Kamasutra) who may not agree with Khushboos reported statement that society should rid itself of expectations that brides should be virgins. But she is entitled to her views as much as anyone else. And the fact that she was frank enough to voice these cannot be any justification for the kind of damnation visited upon her and another actress, Suhasini Mani Ratnam, who spoke up in support of her. Two parties, the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and the Dalit Panthers of India (DPI) are up in arms against this and have floated a Tamil Protection Movement in response. Sadly for these two actresses, even the South Indian Artists Association has criticised Suhasini for her words of support, forcing her to apologise.

In an era where sexual mores have undergone a seachange, the outrage expressed by these so-called keepers of our morality is completely out of place. No one section of society has the right to impose its views on the rest. What is shocking is that just one person within the Tamil film industry and few outside have dared raise their voice against it. Sadly, even the judiciary seems to have played into the hands of the moral police, by taking cognizance of the PILs. The result is that a moral police seeking to enforce Victorian mores has been able to gain the upper hand, even as saner voices choose to remain quiet. It is time the latter spoke up and exposed the moral police for what it isa bunch of mischievous people caught in a time warp.