KAJAL CHATTERJEE, KOLKATA
RECENTLY a young man was assaulted by a group of passengers at a terminating station within the Kolkata Metro railway network. His female partner also sustained injuries in the scuffle. The bone of contention was display of affection in public by the couple. While the jury is divided on this issue; but it is indeed amusing to see blatant hypocrisy from all quarters. Not enough money to even feed the baby or child. How can toilet be constructed in this sorry perspective? So what to do apart from venturing to the field to answer the basic call of nature; that too even in the monsoon or in cold midnight, often falling prey to dacoits, rapists, snakes or leopards! Yet these unfortunate poor hapless souls get abused and character-assassinated in these times of ‘good days’ and ‘clean India’ for ‘polluting’ the environment! Far from acknowledging their woes and ensuring toilet for them coupled with running water; the ‘guardians’ of this society barbarically encourage the public to stone them from behind, beat drums or photograph so as to embarrass them! Some states have also issued diktat that those who do not have toilets at home would not be eligible to contest panchayat polls! Yet nobody protests against such double punishment being awarded to those pathetic lot! But when young couples of privileged background perform certain emotion-soaked activities outdoors or in public transport instead of keeping it indoors; media to intellectuals to liberal progressive people treat them as heroes and zealously raise their voice in support of it! On the other hand, nobody holds any right to take law in their own hands and physically assault others. Why don’t those ‘bravehearts’, acting as self-appointed moral police, also protest against the continuous bombardment of vulgar songs and obscene dances of Bollywood films on the platforms of Kolkata Metro railway stations through the installed TV sets? Supreme irresponsible selfish behaviour without caring about sensitivity of others, physical violence and the crude mindset of ‘I will do whatever I like, rest go to the dogs’ have indeed invaded all sphere of the society!