Voices Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 05:30
Irfan Iqbal Gheta On June 10, The Times of India carried a report about the Horticulture Department and police jointly arriving at a decision to place CCTV cameras at certain points in Nandi Hills in order to force people looking for some privacy, to behave themselves in public. Stated reason, other people, especially families, do not want to walk into an embarrassing situation. Irfan Iqbal Gheta writes a blog The picturesque Nandi Hills (60 kilometres from Bangalore) will no longer be the go-to destination for young couples seeking some privacy from the prying of the world. The young techie crowd of Bangalore prefers to chill out in Nandi Hills over the weekend. But sadly enough the romantic rendezvous like Nandi Hills has become off limits now for young couples thanks to advanced technology. The Nandi Hills authorities have installed CCTV cameras at strategic locations all over the hillock. Couples who used to enjoy an outing at Nandi Hills are distraught at this development and out of sheer helplessness and frustration they are vowing never to return to Nandi Hills. Nandi Hills authorities have taken this step to keep a vigil on young couples who sometimes tend to indulge themselves in embarrassing situations much to the horror of visitors with families and young children. To teach such couples a lesson, authorities have thought up a novel way to install CCTV cameras with a view to encouraging them to behave decently. This latest development at Nandi Hills raises certain questions as far as shrinking private space for young couples in our cities is concerned. Who is right and who is wrong here? Are the Nandi Hills authorities right to install the CCTV cameras all around the hillock? Are the young couples wrong to give vent to their romantic feelings at a place like Nandi Hills where even families visit with young children? Will the installation of CCTV cameras discourage couples from - as the authorise at Nandi Hills put it - getting cosy? And most importantly, is it right to commit such an outright invasion of consenting adults' privacy by subjecting them to the eyes of cameras under the garb of keeping anti-social elements in check? The installation of the CCTV cameras at Nandi Hills calls to mind recent scandals at the Delhi Metro. The unsuspecting young couples became victims of cruel jokes when footages of the CCTV cameras showing them getting cosy in the heat of the moment had found their way to adult websites. The furore such a shocking betrayal on the part of vested interests had raised, is only too recent in the collective memory of our country. As the Delhi Metro incident shows the clear invasion of privacy and misuse of the CCTV cameras that have been in place to monitor and possibly detect suspicious and unlawful activities to prevent any major acts of crimes or terrorism from taking place on Delhi Metro network. Similarly what is the guarantee that the CCTV cameras installed at Nandini Hills will be used only to keep track of suspicious and unlawful activities, and not be used to pry into the couples' romantic escapades? Why are we as a country so stringent on youngsters' desires? This particular phase in any young person's life does not last forever. It is a very temporary and transient phase but equally an important one since the person who does not find time for courtship at a surreal venue overlooking a lake under ancient tree tends to regret it forever. However it will be blasphemous to suggest that every city should have a place or two earmarked for youngsters with certain guidelines in place so as to maintain decorum and decency. If only the authorities at Nandi Hills had taken into consideration the romantic feelings of couples before making such a loaded move. Where should couples in need of privacy go? Unfortunately as days pass, our country is turning itself into a strict no-zone for couples with newer forms of moral policing rearing their heads. The opinions expressed in this articles are the personal opinions of the author. The News Minute is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information in this article. The information, facts or opinions appearing in this article do not reflect the views of The News Minute and The News Minute does not assume any liability on the same.
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