How did Mutalik and the LeT crack our code?

3 Mar

by Zubin Driver (Terrorism strategy in the reality TV age.)

Mutalik was a NOBODY before his goons launched a very strategic attack. After years of goofing around in the wilderness, he suddenly realized that India only takes notice if you hit her in her soft underbelly. The upper middle classes and their icons are the only relevant target for a terrorist like Kasab or a gender terrorist like Mutalik.

Their strategy is the same. It says very clearly; if you want media attention and ‘national’ attention, you need to wage a symbolic war against the icons of the upper classes in India. Only then will you become an instant national icon…and now, an international icon.

Mutalik does not care about the upper middle class and the pub going Indian.

He is willing to beat them up to prove he does not care. He is concerned with a massive body of conservative and very right wing Indians who don’t go to pubs or live in upper middle class areas. These folks secretly love guys like Mutalik who express their deepest prejudices and take the hit from India’s liberals.

The Pink Chaddi brigade is fodder for Mr. Mutalik; he is now using them to win some very strategic points:

1. The Higher Moral Ground: Mutalik is now saying that “look at these vulgar people, they remove their underwear and post it.” Now, while this is not a shocking statement for the cool middle classes, it is a shocker of a movement for the mass of conservative Indians. The means of protest used make sure that Mutalik’s slate is wiped clean. Indian’s suffer from amnesia; they will forget that Mutalik went about beating innocent women and only remember ‘pink chaddis’. They will then co-relate it with their daughters and say “I don’t want my daughter getting spoilt and crazy, why should she remove her underwear and post it??” Mutalik WANTS this to happen, he is waiting for the silent consensus to happen, and it is.

2. Switch on the Media Circus: Instead of campaigning for his arrest and trial, Indian’s are trying to condemn him using the Indian media. It’s the great Indian trial by Media, which is no more than a prime time TRP farce. Unfortunately, the media just becomes the best possible PR agency for Mutalik. He LOVES the media attention he is getting…here is a guy who reportedly could not get 3 journalists for a press conference, now getting calls from EVERYONE. He loves the spot-light, look at how he has changed strategy? He is talking about sending saris, he is talking about taking ‘erring’ young couples back home, into the arms of their beloved conservative parents. He is in control now, do we realize this? On how many cases in India has the media really brought about an effective trial and resolution? Miniscule is the answer, and here, we are NOT talking trial, arrest or jail term, we are talking about pink chaddis and saris and Valentine’s Day. It’s a great ‘soft’ story.

3. Move from extreme violent and idiotic right to somewhere in the same space of MNS, Sena, Bajrang Dal, RSS, etc. He is evolving his ideology as we speak, making statements carefully tailored to the Indian conservative class. Let’s remember that the Shiv Sena in Mumbai has been breaking down valentine day celebrations for years…it is acceptable to the Indian middle classes, the Shiv Sena was voted into Mumbai BMC and ruled Maharashtra in the past…it remains the most powerful party in cool Mumbai!. . Interestingly, in an act of sheer political opportunism, the MNS have realized that Valentine’s Day is a youth iconic celebration and in complete contradiction to their normal spiel have issued a statement talking about “Valentine day being a youth celebration”. They have realized they cannot isolate the youth of Mumbai; their support base will get hit. Mutalik is just re-hashing an old trick; he will oppose Valentine’s Day this year and then maybe even forget about it next year…he opposes it because the people who celebrate Valentine’s Day are not his market right now. They are his actors in HIS play. His audience sits elsewhere. When the cool youth become his market, he will issue a similar statement to the MNS. The fact that Gehlot from the Congress party started talking about ‘pub culture’ ASAP is proof that politicians sense that Mutalik has struck a chord with a massive amount of conservative Indians who will not dare step out and say anything right now because they will not be associated with women beating….but yes, they are against women drinking and dating in pubs. The congress knows this, the BJP knows this, the Sena, MNS and more, practice this. Mutalik is just the latest monster kid on the block.

How can you really crush the Indian Taliban?

Obviously the media will tire of ‘pink chaddis’ and Valentine’s day will pass, like it does every year. The actors have changed, the plot remains the same. This requires a deeper and more serious long term engagement.

1. Gender sensitization from school level. Gender equality has to be inculcated into our children from day one. It has to enter the DNA of the education system

2. Parents have to treat their kids equally, and inculcate respect and fair play values in each gender.

3. Laws for gender offenders have to become very severe and very effective.

4. All ‘male’ bastions have to be broken into and converted into unisex spaces….from corporate life, domestic life, armed forces; every walk of life should carry NO bias at all. ( A huge an on-going process driven by women)

5. A strong and empowered NGO/Lawyer lobby that should file cases immediately after criminals like Mutalik are let out on bail. Our social sector is limp and unresponsive right now.

6. A mature and intelligent protest mechanism that is inclusive and works scientifically to isolate and punish offenders. People need to think about whose interests they serve with every public action they undertake. Who benefits? Who are the stake-holders and who finally gains in equity?

7. Hurt offenders where they get hurt. A character like Mutalik can only be squashed if you convince HIS market of what a criminal he is. They need to be told that beating women is not Indian culture (which they will agree to). The silent majority need to be convinced in a non-threatening way that their values are being hijacked by imposters. The religious leaders need to step in and convince their flocks that this is not the real meaning of Indian culture. The radical has never convinced the conservative. The conservative is convinced by the less conservative.

8. Bring up the cases of gender abuse from all over India, from poor India, the cases that no one gives a rat’s ass about. Make cool Mumbaikar’s like me campaign for the two and half year old street child who was raped and thrown into a gutter in Mumbai one month back…it was a 3 line report buried deep in a paper. Today’s Delhi Times inside pages talks about a love story between two youngsters in Bihar, where the whole family was BEHEADED because the parents of one kid disliked the match. Why can’t we send pink chaddis to them? Will they laugh as they behead us?

Our mixed up priorities, our national conscience, as shaped by the upper classes and the media are the new playground for any clever terrorist of the spirit. We should let go of our class fetishes and start wondering why we don’t protest when poor people get mutilated, when rural Indian’s get beheaded and when we read the abysmal statistics of rape conviction throughout India.

If the LeT has dumped Kashmir and realized a Mumbai attack on a Hotel works millions of times better for them, if Mutalik has realized that beating up women in a pub will pay better dividends than screaming in rural Karnataka, then perhaps we need to pay closer attention to Kashmir and what’s brewing in rural Karnataka?

Both the LeT and the Mutalik brigade are examples of non-local attacks. They teach us that terrorists and gender terrorists have cracked our code. They know how to get us all tied up in knots. They know that we only hurt when you hurt us in our soft underbelly…our pubs, hotels and our icons of the

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: