Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: India (02/12/09)
- TITLE: Cupid Takes Hit in India
By Sharon Laughter
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The violence at Amnesia, the Lounge in the college town of Mangalore happened to have been caught on tape. It was played throughout the media and immediately sparked a feminine national outcry. Forty SRS members were shown dragging women out of the bar and violently accosting them while accusing them of obscenity. As nineteen of the attackers were rounded up by officials, SRS responded by declaring that women should be at home cooking for their husbands and taking care of the children. And, by the way, the group vowed it would not tolerate anyone celebrating Valentine’s Day.
The threats by SRS sparked retaliation from yet another group. This one was comprised of four women including a female journalist from Karnataka. The women charged ahead quickly to establish an Internet Facebook site to protest actions of the SRS. Within days membership soared to over ten thousand supporters. Cartons of pink underwear began to arrive at offices of SRS officials in defiance of the SRS Valentine edict. Sympathizers for the women also vowed to raise glasses in bars across the globe on February 14th in protest against Hindu militants.
SRS is a faction of the largest Hindu hard line group Rashtriyu Swyansevak Sangh (RSS). It believes that the growing Western influence in India threatents the very fabric of the culture and Hindu belief, especially in regards to its women. While men are free to roam and play, expectations for the female gender involve keeping home for their man and doing whatever is needed to make their husband’s life enjoyable. There is no time or place for a “girl’s night out”, which is viewed as highly decadent.
To its credit, however, SRS officials did promise gifts of pink saris to women in the country who would choose to ignore the holiday. Offers to whisk couples away for marriage ceremonies were made as well, in order to prevent any depravity. Valentine’s Day is believed by these Hindus to promote immorality by fostering such conduct as hand holding.
Pink pantaloons were the chosen symbol of the Indian women rebelling against the SRS due to the fact that the Indian word for the underwear comes from the word “chaddi”. SRS members are known as “chaddi wallahs” because of their baggy uniforms.
Sri Ram Sena does not object to men congregating in bars, but believes it is morally indecent for women to do so. The group worships the Hindu god Ram, also known as “The Pefect Man” or Lord of Restrictions.”
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