Thus Spake The Prince Of Good Times

So Siddartha Mallya thinks that Zohal Habib, the woman who accused Royal Challengers player Luke Pomersbach of molesting her and physically assaulting her boyfriend, is not given to behaving like a good future wife. Why? Because she had been falling all over Siddartha that evening and *gasp* even asked for his bbm pin!!

My first thought upon reading about this was whether this wasn’t a case of sour grapes for Mallya Jr. I imagine he’d have reason to feel outraged if after all that ‘falling all over him’ this girl didn’t ask for anything more than his bbm pin!!

And then to go ahead and level such serious trivial accusations on a key player in his IPL team, on whom his dad had spent truckloads of money! To jeopardize the team’s chances at this crucial juncture! What galling uppity!

What’s wrong with groping and trying to kiss some girl you’ve taken a fancy to, particularly after you’ve had one drink too many? It isn’t even as if she got raped, dammit !!

Surely she should have known that this is exactly what goes on at those IPL parties ? Surely it is incumbent on those with Sati-Savitri-esque pretensions to keep themselves safe by not straying within a mile of an IPL party venue? Surely everyone with an iota of sense knows that these parties are not the right place to be in for ‘future wives’?

Future husbands , of course , are exempt. Because, as you must know, it is immaterial whether the leaf falls on the thorn or the thorn falls on the leaf. It’s always the leaf that gets harmed, and so the leaf owes it to itself to keep out of harm’s way.

In all fairness,Vijay Mallya, the prince’s father and the king of good times himself, could not be faulted in his own response to the incident but if there is one thing all kings have in common with the commoners, it is this– they’d much rather die than publicly condemn their sons for any wrongdoing. So us commoners were treated to the spectacle of a contrite looking king insisting that his son was only airing his personal views and he thought nothing wrong with that.

Zohal Habib, on her part, was quick to threaten Mallya Jr. with a defamation suit if no apology was forthcoming within 48 hours. Mallya Jr. is unlikely to have apologized –whether he is taken to court for his remarks, as many of us hope, remains to be seen.

Habib’s primary case against Luke Pomersbach doesn’t appear to be an open-and-shut one. It is basically the accuser’s word against the defendant’s which could go either way and while she is apparently well-heeled, she is no match against the might of the Mallyas. I have a feeling that she will eventually be settling out of court.

Whatever the merits of the case, though, I kind of admire Habib for taking on a hostile media by insisting that they do not black out her face in their reports–something that left quite a few journos befuddled. The media didn’t quite know what to do with a victim who did not behave like a victim. Victim-blaming/shaming comes very naturally to our media but it ain’t no fun if the victim doesn’t seem to care! I also liked the fact that she chose to come on camera in an off-shoulder dress which I imagine isn’t the Indian cops’ idea of decent dressing. Yet nobody dared suggest that she might have been ‘provocatively dressed’ at the time of the alleged assault. They are obviously smarter than we give them credit for–they do realize that their self-righteous notions of propriety apply only to Indian citizens!

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19 Responses to Thus Spake The Prince Of Good Times

  1. Jas says:

    Brilliantly written… Victim blaming not only comes to the media easily but also to the politicos and big pocket launders… the plight of future wives who can watch the match from the safe cordons but can’t dare to step in the after party…

  2. G Vishwanath says:

    Brilliant and Hard-hitting.
    If the Mallyas read this I can imagine them saying “Ouch!”

    As you predicted, Zoha is settling this out of court.
    Being an American, I think she is doing the practical thing.
    She has more to lose by prolonging this and possibly is avoiding having to travel frequently to India from USA for the court proceedings which will definitely prolong, thanks to lawyers engaged by Luke and possibly paid for by the Mallyas. Didn’t they say, they will stand by their player?

    I was amused by Luke’s confessional statement that he was drunk and he “inadvertently touched her”! What a great euphemism for molestation! I wonder why Junior Mallya didn’t use the occasion to advertise the powers of the drinks they brew!

    Junior Mallya’s brazenness shocked me and I lost all sympathy for the RCB team.
    Being a Bangalorean, I was rooting for RCB till this deplorable incident and I wasn’t too disappointed when we lost to Deccan Chargers and got eliminated. A win would have brought a smirk on the Junior Mallya’s face which I could not bear to see.

    Keep writing. You must write more often.
    Regards
    GV

    • Glad that you liked it, GVji 🙂

      //I wonder why Junior Mallya didn’t use the occasion to advertise the powers of the drinks they brew!//
      Hahaha, that sure would have been very apt 😀

  3. Anil Singhal says:

    lovely piece.. I really loved the ‘leaf analogy’. and I feel how often women end up being a leaf in most situations. The clincher was also the ending when you say that the cops know – they need to apply those stupid propriety notions only to Indian ladies.. Fired on all aspect.

    • Thank you, and welcome here, Anil 🙂

      I came upon this leaf analogy only very recently and I was struck by how perfectly it represents prevailing attitudes. You’re so right, women here end up being the leaf more often than not. If you look closely, you’ll find an insidious undercurrent of victim-blaming in the analogy–since the burden of protecting itself lies on the leaf and not the thorn. Which means that if the leaf comes to harm, it hasn’t been careful enough!!

  4. Fem says:

    Yeah! Yeah! And Yeah! Loved this line – “Victim-blaming/shaming comes very naturally to our media but it ain’t no fun if the victim doesn’t seem to care!” These men involved in the case are pieces of shit, and must be treated as such. Of course, if it was an Indian, aka, Shiny Ahuja’s maid, then hey, she is to blame! Silly woman does not even know to protect herself, and then she complains about being molested.Tsk, tsk! And wifey will stand by you too. Good for Zohal Habib!

    • //Silly woman does not even know to protect herself, and then she complains about being molested.//
      Oh yes!! Spot on! And the less said about those supportive wifeys the better. Heh.

  5. R's Mom says:

    I was wondering why you didnt post on the incident 🙂
    ‘//Victim-blaming/shaming comes very naturally to our media but it ain’t no fun if the victim doesn’t seem to care! /// – Gosh you are right…I never realised this..its ALWAYS the case isnt it!

    ///I also liked the fact that she chose to come on camera in an off-shoulder dress which I imagine isn’t the Indian cops’ idea of decent dressing////’ – Oh she did, I didnt notice that…I mean I just ‘read’ about it, didnt watch the incident on TV 🙂

    @Fem: I loved your comment 🙂

  6. //Victim-blaming/shaming comes very naturally to our media but it ain’t no fun if the victim doesn’t seem to care!// That’s why Slut Walks were so horrifying for them – if women can’t be shamed it would become so difficult to control them!!

  7. Ashwathy says:

    Last heard, Mallya Junior has taken off to Europe to take a break from the Indian public (and all the rotten eggs and tomatoes and chappals :mrgreen: ). Looks like daddy needs to give some junior some nice spankings and whip him into shape! 😛

    • Heehee, I didn’t know this. Good for him, must be such a relief to get away from the brickbats for a while 😉 The cool climes of Europe will surely help him nurse his bruised ego!

  8. Deeps says:

    “Victim-blaming/shaming comes very naturally to our media but it ain’t no fun if the victim doesn’t seem to care” So true!
    She insisted that the media didnt black out her face, did she? Wow! I admire Zohal Habib for standing up to herself and giving those morons a tough fight back!

    You’re bang on, SH about the leaf analogy! Thats always been the case isnt it? Hopefully this one episode has shown that the ridiculous notion of putting the onus on women/victim might be on its way out after all!

    Excellent piece!

    • Yes Deeps,TOI carried a prominent disclaimer next to her photograph–apparently to pre-empt complaints about not protecting the identity of a sexual assault victim– to the effect that the victim had insisted that her pics be published without blacking out. I too thought that it was very brave of her. She may be an American citizen but apparently has sub-continental roots–she could not have been unaware of the implications of doing so.

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