This morning when my son in first year college, read the papers he felt outraged. There was news of Mumbai cops arresting and charging hundreds of young people at a so called ‘rave’ party. “Look Dad,” he said, “this is how they treat the young in our so called young country. We are policed and ruled by geriatrics who cannot even understand that young people need to get together at times, party and have fun. My son might not be off the point that at times we behave like a police state or a modern day version of Stalinist Russia.
There is no proof that drugs were being used at the party. And to add insult to injury many of these youngsters have been charged with a shocking ‘permit’ law that could fetch them six months in prison. Let me tell you a little about this permit. If you want to have a drink in Mumbai then you need to have a permit. Shocked but let me tell about this a bit more. This permit law goes back to the time we became independent from British rule. The permit is given to certified (from the doctor) alcoholics’ who need to drink to stay alive. The permit has some of the vilest and rude language you would never expect in a modern day, functioning democracy. It has some gems line ‘sharabi ka naam…sharabi ke baap ka naam..”
I shudder to tell you this but needless to say the next time you are having a drink in Mumbai you risk the prospect of being put in the slammer. At times like this you wonder what is going wrong with Mumbai. The people are warm hearted and loving but the infrastructure, the polity and the bureaucracy sucks.
But to come back to the point of ‘old men will have their way.’ Look at the way some retired ex cricketers, out of work commentators and generally the fudgy and dodgy geriatrics have been going hammer and tongs after the IPL, calling for a ban. They cannot digest the fact that the tournament has been a spectacular success. Let’s face facts. This is an international tournament largely aimed at the young and like any other world class tournament it will have its fair share of cheerleaders, short skirts, parties and the occasional fist fights and a few controversies. If you don’t like it switch off your TV sets and read a religious text. How can you deprive others of a choice and call for a ban?
The sad truth is that large sections of the ruling elite develop a ‘Taliban – Tali…ban’ mentality as they feel this is the best possible way to stay in power and be in the news. Look at someone like Kirti Azad who is talking of ‘cultural values’ and advocating a ban on the IPL. The real truth is Kirti Azad was perhaps the worst player in the side under Kapil Dev that got us the World cup. Only those who are inefficient and have something to hide will support bans and repress the young. The truly competent don’t have time for all this.
Let us not stifle our young but rather give them space to flower into confident, responsible citizens.