When one of the greybeards of India's decadent editorial class reveals his mind on the subject of modernity, you realise;
Gee! Whiz! M J Akbar is India's Marlboro Man.
He ought to be working for Philip Morris !
"The Bar in Mangalore is not about alcohol." intones our panjandrum from the Naive Fifties."It is about choice and freedom from the grey shadows of a moral police."
Apart from the minor fact that they do not serve sambhar and rasam at pubs in Mangalore or any place else, sambhar and rasam with turmeric and tamarind and fenugreek and pepper, all sanctioned and certified by "modern" science as life savers, enough for me to be able to boldly tell any teen,"If ever there was a food, made by the Gods, in a moment of fondness for mortals, it is sambhar and rasam, it is sambhar and rasam, it is sambhar and rasam." ,
the real issue is Akbar's quaintly conditioned ideas on freedom.
The chance to be addicted is freedom?
If a person is ignorant/gullible/plain unlucky enough to think as Shri M J Akbar does, then it is not very difficult for that person to believe that strapping on some explosives and blowing himself in public is not about killing innocent people, but about having a wild alcohol free party in the hereafter.
But Shri Akbar can neither claim to be ignorant or gullible; there are tonnes of reader friendly and viewer friendly material available about the potential dangers of substance abuse.
A mature, sane, loving mind would only be concerned about making a life. So what tempts Mr Akbar to make such a jejune observation?
Has he become that jaded about the many small and huge struggles involved in making a life?
Or has he always been a pathologically conformist,politically correct and market friendly raconteur, pretending to be a journalist and editor?
It is possible that Shri Akbar feels unfairly singled out for some close scrutiny.
If that were the case, his self pity would be justified.
The media by and large, has been more concerned about playing along with advertisers and the powers that be than in pitching in to creating a relatively safe world for our children.
Our kids need have no problems with pubs,cars or credit cards as long as they are not brainwashed into abandoning their intelligence and caution.
They need to be taught to watch out for any senile and perverted grand uncle in the media diabolically conning them about how these powerful and potentially lethal machines are "about" "choice" and "freedom" and "modernity".
It is one of the blessings of being an Indian, that there is so much to learn and so much to do.
An occasional vist to the pub need not be considered sacrilegious.
But the minds that attempt elevate a pub or a mall to the status of a temple of modern India or the driving force of the Indian economy ?
They are sick. They are out of touch. They need to take a break.
I am normally not a ban 'em and flog 'em kinda guy, but Cold Joe of Phillip Morris and his wog descendants may just have taken me to the edge.
For my own views on pubs and the idea of modernity, esteemed readers are invited to click on the links.
And Manananiya Akbar Mahodhay, the only kind of policing, idiotic policing, I have experienced is at the hands of corrupt babus and India's addled editorial class.