Feb 12, 2006

Neena's Tourism Blues

Neena has sent this article to the guys at The Hindu, for publication in their Open Page section. In the meanwhile, I told myself, my page is also just as open, then why not put it up here also. Moreover, there's a whole lot of bloggers from Karnataka, who just might see this one, and knowing the power blogs have, it might all be for good. So, here's what Neena has to say...


Tourism Blues

“Adhiti devo bhava” the epigram in which lies the heritage of every Indian. However the experience of a group of college students from God’s own country during their visit to the neighbouring state raises a question and becomes a blackmark in a country where guests are considered equivalent to gods. This article is to bring to public notice a few grave matters that needs to be addressed. A pleasure trip to Karnataka; but more that the hi-fi ness of Bangalore and the colour of the Brindavans ,a few singular encounters with the police,the security guards at the Brindavan gardens and the many Adams everywhere comes to the mind.
It was a dream come true for many when they set out for a five day trip to Bangalore,Mysore and Ooty.First stop Bangalore, metropolitan and modern in every sense.They stopped at a petrol bunk when a plainclothes policeman(haughtily flaunting his ID)boarded the bus.He started asking questions directly to a girl student as to who they were and the purpose of the excursion.His motive was evident when he left,all smiles,once he was given a hundred rupee note.
The next incident was when they were walking back to their hotel that night,weary from shopping and loaded with bags when a policeman amused himself by calling them’beggars’.Throughout the shopping trip most girls had encounters with ‘gentlemen’ who couldn’t walk by them without knocking onto them or passing off colour comments.
Truly bizarre was the experience at the Brindavan Gardens..The dimly lit park was very crowded owing to the second saturday and Pongal holiday.As the girls walked ,with the boys of the group forming a circle around them for protection,catcalls and obscenities floated towards their ears. Then ,when one of the boys accidentally stepped into a fountain,a security guard without even a verbal warning, struck him with a metal lathi.
The tour conductor who demanded an explanation got his reply with a blow,dodging which he fell down.Two security guards ,grinning mischievously ,attacked him with their lathis. The rest of the boys rushed to his aid when a few more guards materialized and started swinging their lathis at them.The girls watched horrified and by the time the guards came to their senses most of the boys had red welts on different parts of their bodies.Next the guards threatened to file a case against the dazed students,for fighting with them.It was only after pleading with them that they were allowed to go.One of the boys received a whack on the knee even as they were leaving.
The excursion party was too rattled and frightened that they did not even dare to lodge a complaint. Contemplating the complicated legal procedures most of them consoled themselves that things couldnt have been worse. The language bar was another factor. It was heartening that none of the other tourist who had witnessed the incident came forward to intervene.
If this is how tourists are treated then I don’t see any future for places like the Brindavans. In a public place where an entry fee is exacted this should not be the staff’s mode of conduct.Lathi charging is something used against an aggressive mob after sufficient warnings.Then where did these security guards get the right to assault tourists or anyone, for that matter? If they are so duty conscious then how come the place still teems with eve teasers and antisocial elements? How can one approach the police when they are also out to exploit naive tourists? To be caught in a legal imbroglio in a strange land will be last thing anyone would want. I am sure this is not an isolated incident. If this is how tourists from the neighbouring state is treated then God help those from faraway places.Mine is an open appeal to anyone who can change this situation. I hope there will be a day soon when one can listen to the colourful bustle of shoppers rather than off colour comments, when girls can walk the busy streets without feeling insecure and when one can enjoy a beautiful evening in the Garden city without fearing a lathi charge.
- Neena Padayatty.


Comments are to flow freely on this one, especially from the Karnataka blogging fraternity. Neena will post her replies to comments on the comments section. And, I hope The Hindu, does publish this well written article.

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17 comments:

silverine said...

I am absolutely shocked at this incident.The police in Karnataka is the most corrupt. So I am not surprised at the incident. Maybe the Kerala registration of the vehicle made him bold.Bangalore has changed a lot since the IT boom. The real Bangalorean is now an outnumbered species. In fact migrants out number us old Bangaloreans.And a lot os antisocial activities can be attributed to them.

Security is outsourced by many establishments.And some of these guys do misbehave as most security guards are a floating population in themselves. This would explain their audacity and aggression. I think your sis should have immediately lodged a complaint with the Park authorities. All I can say is "sorry' and hope that such things are bought to light. I would suggest she sends a mail to Times of India too since Hindu is not very widely read in Bangalore.

Harish N Jeyavel said...

Shocking indeed, Bangalore is not what she used to be, Silverine correctly puts it, "The real Bangalorean is now an outnumbered species". Incident reminds me of how a couple was harrassed by the police (they tried to book the female as a CSW).

>|' ; '| said...

wish i were there

mDemon said...

I remember once when a few friends of mine came from Kerala, in a KL vehicle to Bangalore. They were circling around the MG Road area, unable to find their way to palace grounds, thanks to the peek hour traffic and oneways, when a cop caught them.

He checked the vehicle, the documents-even the bags of the travellers to find a reason to penalize them. When i reached the scene, he was booking them for "violating the traffic rules" and the fine amount was 500 bucks and ofcourse, no recipt.

After a bit of smooth talk i had with him, he pulled out a traffic fine receipt of Rs 500, from Kerala Police. and yelled to me,

" I just want my money back !"

Apparantly he and his party was charged by Kerala police when they went to sabarimala for violating a one-way rule.
Now, that's what i call "tit for tat " !

blah_blah_blogger said...

OUTRAGEOUS...actually this whole atithi devo bhav bullshit holds true only for the white skinned foreigners...what good are the people of a place who don't respect their own men?

Poison is right, wish I were there...at the risk of going behind bars, I would have got at least one of those guards...

DARREN FLETCHER said...

neeli....dissapoitning...words are few to describe the feeling that i underwent going thru these words.The fact this is written by my own sis just adds to it...If indeed a genaeration has awakened then it is high time these offenders are brought to law....These sort of outrageous acts no matter who they are(ethu pundade mon aayalum) is never aacpetable.Al this despite the girsl being in a group..Wonder what would have been the case had they been stranded alon...Siting here i am helpless..But neeel and neena..As always for ever the vikings are behind you...no to be correct with u......and a truth is we mallu;s indeed are good at treating guests....

Neena Padayatty said...

I think the response is amazing!Thanks a million.I already feel that all those bitter experiences were worth.Just kidding.

For Silverine & Jeyavel-
Apology accepted,it is good to know that the real Bangaloreans have the right sense of hospitality.

For poison-
We wish u were there too!

For mdemon-
Just as i thought,This couldnt have been an isolated case.Talking about the Kerala police,everyone in our group were waxing eloquent about 'our' righteous police force,until the Marine boat squad came aboard while we were enjoying the backwaters at Kochi.They declared that boating was prohibited after 7pm but changed the rule when the boat owner gave them their 'tip'.
Guess you are right.

For blah_blah_blogger-
You should have seen the reaction of the guys who took the blows.But I think it was best to bury the hatchet.

For darren_flecther-
Overwhelming! Thnks, Anish, for the concern and support.Neil says he cannot bring himself to show any kind of disrespect to girls coz he's constantly reminded of me.I love my brother!

DARREN FLETCHER said...

neena..i never expected u to be reading this blog....My apologies for the abusive words i used...But then that is me ...Just a bit emotional.....And neeli "Neil says he cannot bring himself to show any kind of disrespect to girls coz he's constantly reminded of me.".....Any comments...Hehe(sorry da ,but just cant control laughin)

DARREN FLETCHER said...

neena..i never expected u to be reading this blog....My apologies for the abusive words i used...But then that is me ...Just a bit emotional.....And neeli "Neil says he cannot bring himself to show any kind of disrespect to girls coz he's constantly reminded of me.".....Any comments...Hehe(sorry da ,but just cant control laughin) .And also neena a thanks look totally out of place....Cheers

naveen said...

hey,r u the neil who was studying in BVB trivandrum????remember me???i was in ur class

Mind Curry said...

i am so angry when i read such stuff. mistreatment and disrespect is inborn in a lot of indians i think. and all this happening in a public facility is even more crazy.

i drove a KL regn car for 4-5 years in karnataka and always used to be at loggerheads with the cops and rto. my car has been seized 9 times by the rto citing different reasons, but till the end i never paid any money which was undue to them. (i admit i did bribe them once as i was going to pay my exam fees and there was no time to argue with them) anywya, the sad point is that india is sadly divided into a country of many states. i remember another incident, where another 20 something year old once jumped lanes and banged into my car. the moment he saw my cars KL registration he started shouting me and said " this is my area and i can show you who i am". and then goes to the cop and speaks in kannada. i was so enraged at what he said and first blasted him. and then noticed that the cop was slowly siding him. the moment i started shouting at the cop in kannada things became fine. thank god i learnt my kannada well.

back to the issue, i definitely feel you should report the matter to the park authorities as well as the cops - say a senior officer in bangalore.

Ezee123 said...

Am sorry to hear the sorry tale of Karnataka and the sorrier misdeeds of the petty keepers of law and public places.
Frankly, this happens all over the country, every day. Some states more so and some like Kerala not so much.
These are class issues, the policemen and the security guards all hale from backgrounds where in normal course any interaction in the Indian social system with elite middle class would be minimal. The ones inhabiting places like Bangalore or Mysore see every one making it big in the real world. Corruption of course is endemic and opportunities are rarely missed.
You quote Rs 100 in Karnataka as a happy bribe. In West Bengal I see bribes of RS 2, in coin form, as a regular exchange that the bus and truck operators give to traffic policemen. Most often at night the coin is flung on the road and the policeman goes and picks it up too.
I am digressing. My point is that there will be such sorry instances over and over. What one needs at this stage is protection. One has to work within the system. As some one here said you needed to take up the matter with the senior officers and the authoroties at Brindavan Gardens. It always helps to know someone or the other where you are going. ( This is India) then things get done faster or you need to drop names and contacts.

This is not a statement of acceptance but a statement of cognisance of the reality. In the long term one must endeavour to eradicate the boorish outlook and the social malaise, but in the immediate term, one must know ones way out in such situations.
Anyway take heart now and brave up to face the rest of the country. This was Karnataka. You need to be in North India to hear wolf calls, receive leering stares and overtly sexual groping and of course worse policemen and the like.

I hope You dont go anywhere there. It is worse then Karnataka. This is called perverted logic.

Nimmy said...

well since i had already heard the incident first hand from ma sis i had reacted the same way most of u did.amen to what everyone's said.
but i never heard abt the kochi incident.bein a kochiite maself i apologise for tht.
i seriously think this should be publicised somehow coz they cant just getaway with what they did

Anonymous said...

Though i am sorry to hear what happened to u or ur friends in karnataka simply writing something about it in hindu
or any other news media is not going to change anything.
If ur friends were abused in any way why didnt they even register a complaint? If this is the plight of college
students from kerala(who once had the power to even topple the govt) what about others. Simply talking about it
is not going to make any difference. If they did not have the courage(that too when they were in a grp) to act against
the abuse/corruption, then I am sorry to say that they do not have any right to talk about it.

And Mr.Mindcurry I dont know if u will be reading this comment but u r supposed to chng ur vehicle's registration within
12 months of bringing it to k'taka. Please try to practice what u preach.

I am sort of tired of reading blogs about the rampant corruption in india. Just bcoz they have a medium to write about
it ppl just write about it, but I wonder how many seriously consider doing somethng about it. Ppl do not have to do much
to make the system better. Just correct urself atleast(and ppl around u atmost) and the system will correct itself
automatically.

christine said...

True, a law internship seems to mostly involve typist work, but thankfully after switching firms, my legal input has increased mani-fold:) but still no pay!:( I don't mind doing pro bono work, but not for rich firms that can afford me:( which law school r u from anyway?

Anonymous said...

Karnataka is surely a corrupt state .
Being born and brought up in Bangalore,
I regularly face corruption at various govt offices.
Whenever i did travel to the neighbouring state of kerala , andhra and tamilnadu,
i was surprised to see the lesser levels of corruption.
Surely the report that came out recently , had bihar as the no. 1 corrupt state and
Karnataka at no.2
Even official work wont be so neatly organised, but for collecting the bribes and the way
they share it is so very organised , anybody will be baffled.
They talk in terms of percentage.
Here was on incident , when myself and my fiancee were sitting in a park at 7.00 PM,
a cop started threatening us of taking us to Police station.
But the moment i started dropping names of some police officers i knew , he disappeared
within seconds.
Only two things work in karnataka , Power and Money.

Anonymous said...

I am shocked to see this kind of behaviour, i am sure tourists coming to kerala is treated much better.

At the same time I want to bring another point here. As tourists, malayalees (not the family one, but the college gangs) are the most uncivilised ones. Which ever tourist place I go in Karnataka, it is always the mallu gangs who creates problem. They misbehaves with ladies, booze, take drugs, violate all rules they create so much noise and spoils the atmosphere. So mallu gangs are getting beaten up is not new, i have seen this happening many time and I have no sympathy for them.

In Neena's case is she sure her male collegues did not misbehave.

So it is not 'adithi devo bhava' but 'criminal' devo bhava. I have not seen a single student gang from kerala who seem to know how to behave in a public place. (They seem to behave well in places like Veega land since thye know they will get beaten up). Kannadigas are slowly realising this menace, I think.

b.tw. I am a malayalee myslef and have nothing against malayalee.