Many self-appointed groups in India are now defending what is called Indian Moral Code. Well, we know about Legal Code and Penal Code, but what is this Moral Code?
India’s idea of democracy is interpreted as the rule of majority where majority can impose its ideas, notions, dress, language, and habits onto others. If these others do not acquiesce, then it is forced down their throats. They get things done by popular movements. They can send millions of SMS to get their favorite cricketer acquitted.
They also feel obligated to come up with a set of rules, traditions, and habits which are considered morally superior and they give it a name called Indian Moral Code. This Moral Code derives legitimacy from all sections of the society because it promises to protect Indian Culture, dignity, morality and sacred traditions. It gets legitimacy from patriotic and religious groups at the same time. The way a State imposes its Legal Code and Penal Code onto Indian citizens, these upholders of Indian Moral Code impose their morality onto everyone.
When Sexy Shriya donned a revealing dress for an evening outing, some Tamilian organizations believed it was against the sacred and honorable Tamilian traditions. When Khushboo and Sushmita Sen talked about women’s sexuality, marriage and virginity, the upholders of Indian Moral Code rose up to challenge them.
In small towns of India, this is even bigger problem. Most girls get their freedoms restricted by their own families, and where necessary the mohallah people, who are out there to defend Indian Moral Code from getting sullied. When I attended a well-known engineering institute in India in 90s, girls were restricted from mixing with boys. Some professors took up this task to punish the girls who were seen talking to boys by deliberately failing them or giving them low marks. All this they did with great concern and care for upholding Indian Moral Code which is more sacrosanct than the marks these girls received.
In many Indian towns, couples are targeted by youth, social outfits and sometimes the police force, for seen together. The fact that they held hands or were seen hugging is good enough for these people to act.
In a rare show of solidarity, which happens in India only when it comes to imposing idiotic notions, both Hindu and Christian organizations in South India cracked down on people who were seen as ‘violating the moral code’.
According to THE HINDU, there have been many such cases where some groups resorted to ‘punishing individuals’ who ‘violated the moral code’. Hindu outfit Bajrang Dal, and a Christian outfit, Social Action Committee, and some members from Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD) took it upon themselves to defend the unwritten Indian Moral Code. To do this, these groups targeted young men and women who were seen together, especially if they came from different religions. THE HINDU writes [emphasis mine]:
In one case, a young woman was attacked because she went to the house of a young woman from a different community. The Bajrang Dal has claimed responsibility for seven of these incidents.
The district head of the organisation, Sudarshan Moodabidri, claimed that the outfit had “solved” over 200 cases in the last two months where Hindus were “caught” committing the “immoral” act of interacting with members of other communities.
Mr. Moodabidri said, “Sometimes it becomes necessary to use force. Fear of such action should deter such misadventures. Girls reform themselves once they are thrashed and humiliated in public, but boys are tougher to control.”
These groups even carried out a ‘joint operation’ in one case proving idiocy is the most common binding factor for all these upholders of morality.
Moral Code in colleges
These days it’s fashionable for many colleges to proudly impose a dress code on its students. There are many colleges in India who don’t allow jeans and t-shirts for girls. The code prohibits them from wearing sleeveless and tight-fitting clothes as well. They strictly enforce wearing Indian salwar kameezes. The principal of such colleges proudly wear this ideology as a badge since he knows the kind of audience he is talking to. Parents gleefully admit their kids to such schools believing they are contributing to upholding of the Great Indian Moral Code.
"We are only trying to ensure that students dress decently and modestly, in a way that befits our culture. A dress code will also pre-empt harassment of women students," says Dr. Viswanathan, Vice-Chancellor of Anna University.