Friday, April 24, 2009

Homoerotic Tribalism

One of the surprises that I found in the Supreme Court appointed committee to report on the Aman Kachroo murder was that the students were always advised to carry condoms. I have been through college and I have been ‘ragged’ physically. There was something called ‘lifting’ in SSC where a whole plethora of junk was poured on your pubes and believe me, toothpaste hurts. But beyond that, ragging has degenerated to becoming a tribal order. And the sexual element verges on the disturbing.
Why on earth did the college promote intense male-on-male and often forced promiscuity. Going to college is not going to an American prison where a big highly tattooed man will rip your posterior asunder. Being anally raped is not ‘getting to know your seniors better’. Nor was lifting, even though the guys who lifted me were friends and I’m actually still in touch with most of them. Yet, I knew it ended there. At other colleges in Delhi University’s North Campus, there was much worse, our seniors told us stories of the candle dance at KMC and beer bottle sodomy in the seediest hostel of the lot. The guys at Hindu had it pretty good, other than their chappatis.
But when it came to my ‘turn’ to rag juniors all I did was find two hatta-khatta guys to help me with my luggage and because I had gotten a first div in my second year proceeded to get drunk with and several others. I got ‘lifted’ but I still found it grotesque, and very honestly being made into a servant is acceptable, getting freshers to fill water is fine, a senior called ‘Trippy’ made me his personal joint roller, and believe me I didn’t mind that one bit. But then like now, I found the extreme homo-eroticism mildly disturbing even at St. Stephens.
But at least, we were in a city and there were girls around. In essentially all-male engineering and medical college environments, as the Kachroo case prove, we really have no clue how bad it is nor will I even try to guess. Most of my friends from school and college went to top-notch colleges and at the IIT’s things are very mild compared to shady colleges, the only guys I know who had it bad were the guys who joined the NDA, but then again that wasn’t homo-erotic but rather really strange things that soldiers end up doing which would be classified as torture by the Obama Administration. Out in Andhra and Karnataka, things I believe are really bad and while Supreme Court pronouncements make a difference in Delhi and other major cities, they don’t flow down deep into the countryside, even 50 kilometers away where residential engineering and medical colleges pop up like mushrooms. There is a problem and solving that begins with educational administrators
Which brings me to rape, and also the Bombay case where the police are trying to paint the woman as a ‘loose’ character by saying she tested positive for cannabis. Needless to say, the police need sensitivity training, and painting the woman as the criminal by saying she brought it upon herself does not work. Making out with someone is not an invitation to have sex. And what the f*** were police checking for cannabis anyway. No bruise marks – the woman might have been drugged. The milieu our beat constables come from is horrific, but a fact of life, which is why we all condone bribery, but do your job, which is to find and arrest the rapists. No matter what the character of the person who was raped, it does not mitigate the crime.
Another thing puzzled me lately, the death of Aakriti. Personally, and I have no love lost for MSVV, I don’t blame the school. What were the parents thinking when they sent a kid who had been to hospital a few days ago to school? Bad school administration? Sure, but many schools don’t have doctors and things would have been better. But I also blame bad parenting I’m afraid. Also, Sheila aunty and Renuka chichi are going to meet Aakriti’s parents, yet Shano, the poor girl who was made to stand in the sun who died the other day haven’t received such high-profile guests. Is it me, or is the life of a upper-class kid more important to both policy makers and the media? You know, there is something seriously fucking wrong in the country if it is.
And another point, why should I be ashamed if I say I support a nationalistic party and what is the big deal if such support is also given by a member of my family. I do not agree with everything the Sangh does or says, I find certain elements of the Sangh as disturbing as the next person. But I believe in the national identity of India they project. We need a pick-me-up in this country, we need to know that all lives are valuable, we need to know India means something. 1992 and 2002 will mean that the West and the genteel educated types, the ones whose homes ministers will travel to (which is why despite my antipathy towards the Congress, I do give Rahul Gandhi some credit). I don’t know if the solution will be to form an alternative right –wing force in India, maybe it is. The BJP maybe unelectable going forward as I have elucidated before.


Anonymous said...

You are spot on in pointing a finger at Aakriti's parents.

To begin with, like most parents of students at Modern, they are well educated and with very adequate financial means.

Then, Aakriti had a proven dependance on nebulisers. Any set of parents in such a situation should have been ready with a very well defined arrangements for medical emergencies for Aakriti, and then ensured that the school authorities be ready to carry out there role in this. In fact given their daughter's dependance on nebulisers, the parents should have gone to the extent of participating in at one 'mock-evacuation' of their child,each year.

Third, the school has faced a great deal of protest from its students. Without any insensitivity to their sentiments, it is also true that any self-respecting CLass XII lot in any school have a mixed relationship with their school authorities, especially the principals, and there are always outstanding issues between the two sides. It will always be that way. So outburst of feelings from the students cannot be used by Aakriti's parents to further their own case.

Of course, this is not to absolve Modern School Vasant Vihar of its own responsibility. Knowing the medical state of Aakriti it should have crystallised an 'emergency evacuation' plan of its own. Indeed these should be in plan for any eventuality such as a terrorist attack.

But there is no case for any moral high ground for Aakriti's parents in any case.

K said...

I agree that Class XII students like to protest anything at the drop of a hat I remember myself 12 years ago. We even went on strike!

GBO said...

Homosexuality as a form of ragging seems to be a recent phenomenon, probably also got to do with the easier acceptance of being gay? Going back 30 odd years, with 1st hand knowledge of sainik schools, NDA and Training Ships, all highly 100% male establishments and where ragging was and evolved art-form also called "tradition", I can state that:-

a) The homos kept to themselves, and didn't try to plug the heteros.

b) If a hetero senior came to know that a homo senior was trying to plug a hetero junior, then the hetero seniors got together and fixed the homo senior.

c) Walking around nude was no big deal and not considered ragging. How did you get back to your dorm/cabin/locker if somebody else had flicked your towel, anyways? And the showers had no doors.

d) Brutality existed - I still have the fag/bidi burn marks to prove it. But these were on my arms - not on my butt or pelvis.

e) Other rituals which could be called erotic existed - circle jack was one. But hey, we were teenagers then.

What happens now, from what I hear, is pure lack of proper guidance from teachers/instructors who were not just doing a job but were also people who earned their respect in every way.

One way out could be to re-introduce the concept of dormitories again?

Anonymous said...

Also lets face it. if the school had sent her to the hospital in anambulance and still the girl had died this same media would have called it negligence on the part of the school and made out a case that why didnt they wait for the parents car and driver.
for media it is heads i wil tail you lose.
And to hear that twat Arnab saying' I shudder to think what other schools have ...' is nauseating.

Anonymous said...

Rajeev said...

Arnab Goswami is an emotional manipulator and a rabble-rouser of the highest order. But grant it to the man... it's only since he started doing it, his channel turned around and galloped ahead of others (from all the talk of him being on the verge of getting sacked only a couple of years ago).

Just think rationally - what all "eventualities" do we expect a school to be prepared for, today. Asthma attacks, epilepsy, heat strokes and all other types of medical emergencies; then terrorist situations, short circuits, US-style shootouts etc. etc. If it's going to be so complex, shouldn't the Home Ministry create a comprehensive health & safety template, and the govt. enact a law to make it mandatory.

But talking of this case, this family does seem to be baying for blood without either accepting their own responsibility, or recognising that regardless of what the school would've done in this case, it would have been crucified! They really need to learn a thing or two from Dr. Kachru.