A couple of days ago, a video surfaced on social media, featuring a guy who calls himself Crazy Sumit and plays pranks on unsuspecting bystanders. Nothing out of the ordinary so far from the innumerable similar shows we watch on television or online. Except that this is not really what we call a prank.
This is one video of Crazy Sumit's antics that has been widely circulated:
Yes, that happened.
This young man accosts women, gives them a kiss and runs away. The video has been widely circulated on social media and also bashed for how grossly unacceptable the behaviour portrayed in it is. The original YouTube video has been pulled down but not before many others re-posted it. So, it is unlikely that this travesty of a video will soon be wiped out from the Inter-web.
According to an NDTV report, Crazy Sumit is now on the police's radar.
One could argue that -- like many other prank videos -- this one is a set-up, since the guy obviously could not get away with his actions as easily as he does in the video. We will just come to that. However, what if this is not a set-up? How does any individual come to believe that this is acceptable behaviour? One could argue that Bollywood has a lot to do with this -- the romanticisation of the bad boy, the way the stalker gets the girl in the end, or the way by dancing around and harassing the girl the hero makes her fall in love with him. But then Bollywood also tells us that if the 'hero' kills someone in revenge, then all's well. So, Bollywood is not really where one should be taking life advice from.
And, even if this is a set-up, it is still totally unacceptable. The video still shows how accosting and kissing an unknown woman in public is acceptable and even funny. No, it is not funny, it is horrifying. For starters, why not ask the women who have been molested how funny it is.
Apparently, Crazy Sumit apologised publicly after his video was bashed by one and all -- 'after' being the operative word. Why make such a video at all? It is because he expected to get away with it. Something that the 'boys' have always believed. Case in point, the perpetrators of the Bengaluru mass molestation, who thought it was all fun and games and nobody would hold them accountable for it.
One does not really have to look too far for deeper causes. Our politicians have told us many times that 'boys will be boys.' Remember when Mulayam Singh Yadav said, "Ladko sey galti ho jati hai. Kya rape case mein phaansi di jayegi?" (Boys commit mistakes. Will you then hang them for rape?) Or, when Abu Azmi said, "You have to keep petrol away from fire. And if there is sugar, ants will come automatically to it." Such attitudes go hand in hand with the thought that teaches girls that they are responsible for their safety and 'honour'.
Apparently, it is more important that 'boys' get away with their actions than women get justice. And it appears -- very disturbingly -- that our politicians too have just accepted that that is how it should be.
But it shouldn't be and it is high time we hold 'boys' responsible for their actions, and that too without starting a hashtag about how all not men are perpetrators.