By Tomazinho Cardozo
A number of voices against the setting up of a branch of Sri Ram Sena are being heard these days in the state of Goa. Numerous individuals and NGOs have become quite vocal in opposing the entry of Sri Ram Sena in the state of Goa.
In fact, Pramod Muthalik – the president of Sri Ram Sena - has made a statement saying that his organisation will be established in Goa within the next three months. He further added that the Chief Minister of Goa, Mr Manohar Parrikar will inaugurate Sri Ram Sene’s office in Goa. However, it is noteworthy to observe that the Chief Minister has not admitted to any of this and on the contrary has warned that he will not tolerate any law and order problem in Goa.
What is Sri Ram Sena?
It is an extreme Right Wing Hindu group, founded by Pramod Muthalik. He was former member of RSS, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena. This group says that it is the protector of Indian culture and believes in preserving and promoting the so-called ‘Indian culture’ by means of violence. For them it is their philosophy of Indian culture alone that matters and they try to impose it on others through violent means. Our country has its Constitution, which is a source of strength to each and every citizen of the country because it protects the rights of its citizens at every stage. However, after observing the activities of Sri Ram Sena it appears as if the group does not believe in the provisions of the Constitution.
It will be of great use for the reader if we analyse the actions of Sri Ram Sena over the last three years.
In the month of August 2008, they vandalised the exhibition of world renowned artist, late M F Hussain. They alleged that Hussain painted Hindu gods in a derogatory manner. The act of vandalism crushed the freedom of expression of an artist.
In the month of September 2008, Sri Ram Sena was implicated in numerous attacks on churches in Karnataka. They claimed that the church was involved in forcible conversions.
In December 2008, they attacked numerous fashion shows because according to them fashion shows are not our culture.
Sri Ram Sena cannot accept the idea of celebrating Valentine’s Day in the country. They are very anti Valentine Day celebration. Recently, Pramod Muthalik, who was in Goa, had also made a categorical statement saying that the group would oppose Valentine Day in Goa.
Few years ago there was a terrorist attack and bomb blasts in Malegao, Maharashtra. The name of Sri Ram Sena is found in the charge sheet filed by the Maharashtra Police.
Mangalore Pub attack in January 2009 was their most dreaded act. About thirty to forty members of Sri Ram Sena forcibly entered a popular pub and mercilessly beat boys as well as girls who were enjoying the evening. Their excuse for this act was that the “the girls were violating traditional Indian values.” Does this type of act befit the 21st century?
Barging into places of celebration and disturbing functions with the help of brute force is anti-social. For me such acts are also anti-national because perpetrators of such acts disrespect the law of the land by taking it in their own hands to create anarchy and lawlessness. In fact, violent acts are not at all part of our culture and hence what sort of Indian culture are they going to protect through violent means? The country has numerous forums for redressing grievances with the help of existing laws. If anyone feels that there are no adequate laws then they can enact new laws to face new challenges, but trying to settle problems by ‘gundagiri’ and violent means cannot be accepted in a secular and democratic country like India.
Every citizen of this country has the right to live a free and secure life. Every society or community in the country has a certain set of norms with the help of which they live peacefully and satisfactorily. Children are brought up with these norms and these norms change with time. Change is natural otherwise human beings would have still lived like they did in the Stone Age. Hence, as a free citizen of this country one may ask, who has given the right of moral policing to Sri Ram Sena? What power equips them to beat and assault our boys and girls? It is really unfortunate to see few hooligans disturbing the peace and holding society to ransom, while the rest observe such acts silently. In this context, I find Goans are much better off because they have already started opposing the entry of Sri Ram Sena.
We must admit that there are numerous evils existing in our society. In fact, these evils do destroy the true culture of India. For example (i) the practice of child marriage that suffocates the growth of children. Great injustice is done to children of this country by subjecting them to child marriages. Can Sri Ram Sena put its entire strength in stopping this disastrous tradition? (ii) Female foeticide is another common phenomenon in India. Thousands of innocent girl children are killed even before they are born. This is a black spot on our Indian culture. Why does Sri Ram Sena not make efforts to remove that black spot from our Indian culture? (iii) Hundreds of daughters-in-law are murdered in this country for dowry. Killing daughters-in-law is not at all our culture. Why cannot Sri Ram Sena use its energy to destroy the illegal dowry system and save our Indian culture? (iv) Corruption is on the rise in this country. Nothing moves without bribes. Corruption is not part of our culture. Then why does Sri Ram Sena not struggle to remove corruption from the country?
If Sri Ram Sena sincerely works to remove these evils from our society instead of stopping Valentine’s Day celebration or beating up girls in pubs, by following the law of the land, it will do great service towards preserving and promoting traditional Indian values and culture.
India is multicultural. Unity in cultural diversity is our strength. This cultural diversity needs to be respected. There are bound to be many varieties in our culture. It is completely wrong to think of imposing one culture on the other. Unfortunately, there are some fanatic elements in this country whose only aim is preventing society from marching forward. If such elements survive till date it is only because of the political patronage they enjoy from our equally fanatic political leaders.
Goa does not require outfits like Sri Ram Sena to protect its culture. If they are allowed to function in Goa the first casualty will be the peace and harmony.