No Drinks, Substance Abuse Or Women

Posted: May 8, 2012

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In an interview today with the Hindu, well-known VJ Nikhil Chinapa has a rather curious ‘pearl of wisdom’ about the Bangalore music scene in the good ol’ days. He says, “Bangalore then had the perfect music scene with no drinks, substance abuse or women. It was the best if you liked sound hitting you square in the chest.”

Now everyone knows that us feminists get angry for no reason, so I promptly got angry. (I’m saying this upfront for the benefit of that one commentor who is sure to say, “but why are you so angry? I’m sure he didn’t mean anything.”)

Rambha was sent to ‘seduce’ Vishwamitra and distract him from his tapasya. The idea of woman is temptress is hardly new. Neither is the concept of woman as “distraction” – a tool sent to keep man away from his All Important Work that he is otherwise bent on accomplishing. Even a temptress has agency – after all, she can choose to play the role of seductress and even enjoy it, but a ‘distraction’ is just an object in one man’s war against another.

Did anyone ever ask Rambha what she felt about being a tool in the hands of Indra? Did she desire Vishwamitra? or was she repulsed by him? Who cares? Especially when the tool in question has been reduced by a curse to being a rock – another object.

The sphere of Work is seen as owned exclusively by men. Women can only ever be a distraction here, placed in the same category as ‘drinks’ or ‘substance abuse’. On the one hand, it seems like an acknowledgement of women’s power, but this power is unidimensional and refers only to a woman’s sexual attraction for a man.

The fact that a well-known media personality should be able to comfortably equate a ‘perfect’ music scene with the presence of no women is a telling comment on who we think work spaces are meant for – and it looks like no amount of ‘modernity’ will change that for some people.

Pic credit: An Apsara in Angkor Wat by Travfotos (Used under a Creative Commons license) 

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  1. Ugh. For shame, Nikhil Chinapa, for shame.

  2. Why am I not surprised?

    In 2009 or so, a Russian tourist had been raped in Goa and that was prime-time news at the time. A news channel asked several people for sound bytes on the incident – the police, the man on the street, and celebs like Nikhil Chinappa. The gist of Nikhil Chinappa’s message was about foreign women visiting India who do not show respect to Indian culture.

  3. Thanks for your comments. @Shuchi, I wasn’t aware of that. Ugh, as Unmana says.

  4. Ya, especially since Indian culture is defined as
    Men = loose morals acceptable
    Women = shut yourself inside house, after clothing yourself neck to toe.

  5. Not that I’m a friend or fan of Nikhil Chinappa’s, but… understanding (based on conversations with other Bangalore old-timers) is that the Bangalore music used to be mostly hard-rock, and hard-rock had a very, dedicated loyal fan base. However, as women started coming out to clubs/pubs, the music scene evolved, and hard rock isn’t as popular as it used to be. This is possibly because the majority of women do not prefer hard rock. For what it’s worth, Nikhil Chinappa might talking from this perspective, because I’ve heard other Bangalore old-timers say the same thing.

  6. @Ramya – thanks for your comment. Despite that, he does mean the absence of women as a positive thing, right, if he is equating it to the absence of substance abuse?

  7. Didn’t expect this from Nikhil Chinappa.

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