13 June, 2021

The Cinderella Manoeuvre

Bombay's nightlife is in danger as the Sena regime clamps down on pub owners and bar girls

The Cinderella Manoeuvre

THE venue: A well-fortified suburban ladies bar in North Bombay. The time: the early hours of a long evening. The low lighting on the dance floor provides a respectable anonymity. The night is young and double deals could always be worked out in the greying hours of the night. Till that time, the show must necessarily go on.

But dancing till dawn may soon be a thing of the past for those who seek it as a profession and those who chase it for pleasure. And wine, women and song—which have contributed much to Bombay's nightlife—may soon be extinct, with the morality brigade of the Maharashtra Government's Cultural Affairs Ministry leading pub and ladies bar owners on a merry dance.

The decision to revoke licences for "cultural activities" in bars and restaurants in the state came after a series of surprise raids conducted by Anil Deshmukh, minister of state for cultural affairs. Apparently, Deshmukh's derring-do was the logical outcome of a cache of complaints protesting the congregation of unsavoury elements and...

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