Some people from any political or religious group assume themselves as the caretakers of the society and impose their definition of morality on them. This practice is called moral policing. Does a civilized society need this? No. We have our own laid down principles and laws to function. Those who try to enforce their own rules think that they have some upper hand in society. This cannot be allowed. In modern democratic society, every citizen enjoys fundamental rights. No one can dictate terms to others. We cannot interfere in the personal space of others. If at all violation of rules and regulations happens, there is a system in place to control it.
What is Moral policing?
It is when some people take the very obligation of controlling society in their own way. They consider it as their duty towards society. Every society needs to live in harmony and peace. There are different cultural social practices in different religions. We should have tolerance and secular unity. The conviction that my religion is the perfect one and others are inferior to it is the root cause of intolerance. Live and let live is a good slogan, we need to adhere to.
In order to enforce their agendas in society, some dogmatic groups may use muscle or money power. This leads to social unrest and conflicts. Every educated person knows what is good for him/her. Controlling and confining only leads to breaking the ceiling. Everyone has got their own family and religious values. That may not be applicable to others. No one has the right to impose their thoughts on others.
Types of moral policing
During Valentine’s Day, we can see many examples of Moral policing. Some people start controlling the activities in the street. If they see some teenagers spending time together, they will start beating and harassing them. Our Youngsters’ rights questioned here. Where do they get permission to do so? They assign themselves the right to be the caretakers of the locality. There are some incidents where we can see the husband and wife duo facing moral policing for sitting together in a park or public place. If at all someone makes a public nuisance-they can be handed over to the police. No one is supposed to take laws into their hands.
There are some people who will decide the dress code of women in their society. Females are always a subject to moral policing and harassment. Some even go to the extent of deciding the food habits of people. These are all one’s personal likes and dislikes. Till the time it is not affecting other’s freedom, we cannot question it. The fundamental human right of a person in any country is of prime importance.
Deprivation of values
At times these vigilantes oppose sex education in schools. It is very necessary for the kids to have awareness in all walks of life. During this era of internet exposure, kids are more vulnerable to get into the wrong platforms. They may be exploited by the bad elements in society. We fail to comprehend what damage this practice is doing to society when we deprive such important issues from the curriculum of a child. We saw that some movies faced the heat of moral policing even after getting certification from the censor board. These people attack the movie theatres where such movies are released.
There are incidents that involve the police themselves taking to moral policing. When they themselves make laws that are unwritten in our constitution and try to manipulate it for their own convenience. They have the duty of safeguarding the rights of citizens but if they use this very chance to exploit the citizens, the situation grows worse. In fact, the police are supposed to stop people from getting harassed and in turn if they are becoming a part of this institution.
Need of value education
It is better to inculcate the moral values in the kids from the school level itself. They should understand the values and ethics of our culture. Once it is deep-rooted in them they won’t violate it and they will uphold these values wherever they go. Educating our new generations is the best way to keep our social and moral values intact. Every society permits freedom up to a certain level. But every rule is made for the female gender to follow strictly. In this patriarchal society, males automatically assume to have an upper hand over the weaker sex. And they always try to suppress the female gender. Moral policing is also a form of it.
In our country, there are several vigilante groups that claim to protect the Indian culture. They oppose and resist the cultural concepts of western countries. They attack bars and pubs and western art festivals where they claim obscene art forms are exhibited. In this modern era and globalization, one needs to think more rationally and liberally. These so-called protectors of culture are against the rights of the LGBTQ community also. They treat them as a threat to society.
Is it holding our country back?
In order to become a progressive society, we must welcome all thoughts and ideas. We must accommodate each person and make them feel safe enough to express their opinion. Moral policing itself tries to take a stand that some actions are right are others are not. If we are supporting it, we make a society where people will be afraid to live on their own terms. In a country where a girl is blamed for wearing jeans or any type of revealing clothing. Will we call it an independent country? Will people from other countries want to visit a country where they are judged upon? Definitely NO.
Afghanistan is a country that imposes many moral policing laws and we can certainly see how different it is from a country like the US, with minimalistic moral policing. We all will choose a country like the US to live in.
The extent of vulgarity and obscenity are different for different societies. Therefore, we should follow the penal code to set the benchmark and abide by the rules. Then there is no question of any group taking over the responsibility of the society as a whole. Each citizen should adhere to the rules and regulations of his country and have integrity towards the motherland. Then no one will malign the culture and tradition of their country. Where ever they go, they will uphold the values and ethics and gain their growth in life. Any country is known by its people. Therefore, it is the responsibility of each citizen to safeguard their countries’ moral values. Therefore, we do not need moral policing.