This appeared in Mumbai Mirror yesterday.... and ruffled a lot of feathers. That was the general idea!
Mere Chhotey Bhai, Satyapal,
What have you done? After all that good and efficient work of catching the Shakti Mills’ rapists in record time, you’ve gone and ruined it all with your ulta-pulta remarks. Now the city’s presswalla’s are after you. Everybody’s baying for your blood. And ridiculing your outburst. Naturally! How can you make statements like, “Today you want to legalise prostitution, tomorrow you will want to legalise rape and murder ” ? These sort of comments make you sound like an uneducated, medieval , feudal man, living in the 15th century - or like your minister, R.R,Patil. Not the dynamic, take charge 21st century Police Commissioner of India’s premier city. Bro, I have figured out the problem. The villain is not you. It is English. You have a problem with Angrezi bhasha. And you have an even bigger problem with those who speak it. Theek hai. We get it. English = Promiscuous = Rape = Suicide = Depravity = Guilt. Case closed. In the first week of January you made this preposterous observation : “ A majority of those who commit suicide are English-educated people.” So, according to you, millions of Mumbaikars should be on a suicide watch? Had this come from someone else, we would have laughed at the person and moved on. But Satyapal Singh, you are in charge of our city! The women of Mumbai are under your protection! Your men and women in the police force are supposed to look after us. How can they do their jobs if the boss himself has such a low opinion of women in general, and today’s women in particular?
As a badi behen, I feel protective towards you! The entire city is after you now. People are shocked, horrified and revolted by your misogynistic, misplaced, mistimed comments, that too, at such a sensitive time. The thing is, Mumbai’s Police Commissioners have always enjoyed a special status - Top Cop of Mumbai! It’s the most coveted position for a police person to hold in all of India. It comes with power, glamour and responsibility. Over the years, Mumbai’s high profile Commissioners have enjoyed not just the confidence of the public at large, but have also been larger than life figures who have inspired citizens and struck fear in the hearts of criminals. They were our heroes. They excelled at their jobs. And that happened only because they understood the pulse of the city. Understood its women. Accepted that Mumbai was indeed unique. And went about their work with sensitivity and understanding , factoring in the rapidly shifting socio-cultural developments that define teeming metros globally. To talk about Raavan and Sita to such a community is asking for trouble. You landed yourself in a mess with that throwaway line in July this year. Since then, it has been downhill all the way. Poor you.
We expect a lot from our Police Commissioners. It’s true. And perhaps, a little unfair, as well. By the same token, we empathise with what they are up against – an acute shortage of beat cops in a city that grows and grows by the micro second. You don’t have enough support on the ground. We get it. Your people are over worked and underpaid. We get that, too. Forget guns and bullet proof jackets. I doubt we have enough lathis to go around! It is a daunting job. The public understands your challenges on this level. But what nobody understands is your attitude. Your mindset. You also said , “ Countries with sex education in their curriculum have an increased number of crimes against women!” Whaaaat?How could you! It gets worse ( if that is possible!). You asked , “Should we allow couples to kiss in public and indulge in obscenity?” You also added, “We have to strike a balance as to what kind of a culture and society we want.” Correct! To that last observation, Mumbaikars across the board have an answer ( it is the same in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and English) : Leave that to us. We can decide for ourselves what we want. We are capable of figuring it out, without the cops. We’ll do our bit. And you do yours. Which means, make Mumbai a safer city. Especially for women. We agree not every woman is a Sita ( or even wants to be her). Just as not every man is a Raavan. We just want to be us – Mumbaikars. Jhakaas people.
Go on… go for it. Learn the lingo of the streets… the lingo of our hearts. It’s not all that tough. And we’ll back you all the way. Kyon? Are you game?Abhi bhi chance hai.
Aap ki Didi,