Let's dance

People were dancing, some close, some in a frenzy. The cops landed up and arrested them. This was private space in Mumbai, the great metro. Goes against our culture, say the moral police. Encourages unhealthy activities, they continue.

I can understand if they were in the streets or in places that families with young kids frequent.

Anyhow, another case came up for hearing to let the place remain open until late and permit people to dance. The comment by the judges is curious:

“One may think 3 am is too late; others may not. Customers want to dance. Somebody putting their hands up and dancing cannot be objected to. Innocuous dancing can be permitted. As long as nothing obscene or objectionable is happening… If police comes like this, then customers will be afraid.”

This is in a five-star hotel and people are not forced into it. What does putting hands up mean? What if the hands are not up? Is this a call for surrender? Some dances do not need the hands to be up.

Have the cops and those who are concerned about our culture ever objected to drunken street dancing during festivals? What about the ‘eve-teasing’? What about marriage functions? The young do dress provocatively at many of these. Only because it is ethnic clothes, it does not make them less titillating. And the hip swaying even in our kiddie talent contests on TV should tell us that we aren’t really a whitewashed culture.

Dance is an important manisfestation of our culture, anyway. Shiva’s nataraj dance, Krishna’s ras leela, and Menaka’s seduction of sage Vishvamitra are well-known. What about the mad-as-hell dervish moves at Sufi shrines?

I am a bit surprised that while passing the judgement, the bench mentioned that not allowing dancing would be a dampener for tourism. I do not think people from outside come here to dance. This is about us and how the urbanites socialise. The cops, the same cops who have often been caught molesting young girls, need not look beyond their own little dirty minds before they arrest people who are doing so of their own free will. Certain big industrialists have private parties that openly serve drugs. Has anyone heard about arrests there?

I don’t understand why every report mentions ‘dirty dancing’. And, yes, some years ago a television channel had taken shots of a discotheque to serve some voyeuristic purpose.

Dance can be a release or an elevating experience. The gliding on the floor, the meeting of eyes, the touch around the waist, the bend and the curve. It is a beautiful sight. People may lose control, but that happens even when you are not on the dance floor.


  1. I often use the Google to explain those colloquialisms of yours, FV. This time it was for 'eve-teasing'. Thanks for making me aware.

  2. Hi Dion:

    'Eve teasing' is used so rampantly and carelessly that I did not think of elaborating. Glad you found the info and apologies for the colloquialisms without explanations. Someday I should write something that Google won't have the anwer for!


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