Gurmehar Kaur's 'viral' video: Sexually-repressed Indian men inflate everything into controversy

For a start that video, which has again raked up the dying controversy over Gurmehar Kaur, is on its second round. The first time it went so called ‘viral’ was several weeks ago and had its share of censures upset that someone was happy and singing and dancing and enjoying herself because that is just not good manners. Especially a woman.

With the media adding words like ‘drunk’ to a couple of sips of vodka and ‘cheap’ to a bit of tuneless singing naturally the great national cultural edifice felt huge tremors and had to be propped up. Surprise. It was reportedly a girl from across the border in another country in that video.

Big deal.

Now, it reappeared as a personification of Gurmehar having a good time. Even if it was her whose business is it to decide whether she can or cannot sing and whether or not to dance in a four-wheeler. Perhaps 20 years from today, her statement will become as iconic a declaration of peace as a better alternative to war and join others that echo similar sentiments. John Lennon and ‘Imagine’ there is no country, nothing to live or die for. The famous Vietnam war line of ‘What if they give a war and nobody comes.’

Make love not peace. Who is right in war, who is 'left.'

But for now, a young girl of that age and cerebral bracket where life is forever and a day, someone else is paying for your food and righteousness and the rebel needs a cause is being hounded and harassed beyond any logic.

If it wasn't for the insidious nature of social networks and their tentacles, these incidents would never rise into the sky. They are so insignificant that twenty years ago a placard carrier would have been ignored. If one student wants to play clever martyr no one would have cared. These are poodles as issues. We need to fight the genuine horsemen of the apocalypse: poverty, disease, ignorance, unemployment, corruption.

But twisted and manipulated through the many prisms of media it becomes a major issue. A thousand Sehwags would have sat around in the privacy of their homes and made a crack or two and laughed a bit and that’s it. Not been party to a national conflict.

So why is every little incident inflated into a major controversy? Largely, two reasons. First of all, most of our male society is sexually repressed which is why trolls need a target.

Combine that with the need to be needed, which is now manifested in our being held captive — in the cells of mobile phones and the internet and badmouthing or using profanity — and hurting people is a conduit and an outlet for the pent up frustrations of millions of men who live of desperate anonymity and are never noticed.

For them, since hatred has more horsepower and speeds faster down the information highway than love, the collection of mini-support by their kin or even criticism is a benediction. Kilroy is here. They have been heard, 64 likes and 53 dislikes, that is 117 human beings who registered me, more than my monthly quota.

That is why the sexual allusions are so overwhelming. Ugly, unspeakable and filthy, they reflect the widespread of sad but relevant Indian male thought processes.
What makes the shrillness even more frightening is that these trolls or fundamentalists or even nationalists are actually people with mothers and sisters and wives and daughters and probably live normal drab lives except when they turn into monsters and spray outraged indignation like they had invented it.

Where else in the world would you witness the call to rape as a possible option for carrying a placard or expressing a view.

These incursions into common sense will continue for some time till the novelty wears off and like water, even the trolls settle down. In the first flush of power and the misbegotten belief that they have an audience the desire to have a voice trumps everything else. So what if that voice is crude and coarse, it is all there is in a life of despair where no one notices your absence. A place to place your opinion.

Why else would we spend 30 percent of our waking hours in other people’s lives and commenting on them.

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Updated Date: Mar 06, 2017 13:34:21 IST