11 May, 2021

Smell The Kaapi

Liberal responses to the Khushboo issue touch a deeper, conservative Tamil nerve Updates

Smell The Kaapi
It has simply ceased to be a discussion about the views expressed by an actress on safe premarital sex. The Khushboo-Suhasini controversy is also no more an issue of 'freedom of expression'. After quite a few national icons and politicians—like Prakash Karat, Brinda Karat, Narain Karthikeyan, Aamir Khan, Sania Mirza and P. Chidambaram—expressed support to Khushboo, the episode has lent itself to new dimensions: the northern view of the Dravidian south, the English-speaking class versus the Tamil public sphere, Tamil culture vis-a-vis foreign cultures, and the future of Chennai's image as a preferred destination of global capital (in the wake of vigilant moral policing).

The defenders of 'freedom of expression' within Tamil Nadu were quite slow to react. The upper middle class and the intelligentsia hardly backed the beleaguered actress. The core conservative elements in society—cutting across caste, community and class—seemingly lent support to the street protesters. It was only after CPI(M) politburo members Prakash and Brinda Karat came out in defence of the actress...

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