Public spaces
In her letter, Nagalakshmi Bai told the CM that male nudity on the beach was a threat to the safety of women and also posed a security threat.
Gokarna Beach | Wikimedia Commons image

The Chairperson of Karnataka's Women's Commission NG Nagalakshmi Bai, in a letter to the state's Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, has come up with an unusual request - a dress code for men on beaches.

Nagalakshmi's letter was prompted by the sight of nude men she saw at Gokarna Beach earlier this month when she was there for a holiday.

"I was in Gokarna three weeks ago and observed men walking around the beach nude. They should wear at least a little bit of clothing to cover themselves up," she said, speaking to TNM.

In her letter, Nagalakshmi told the CM that male nudity on the beach "is not only posing a threat to the safety of women and children but also a security threat (sic)".

She called for more police personnel to be posted on beaches for security reasons. "There are many women and children, including young women who are selling items in the beach, who are affected by this. There have been accusations of sexual assault against them," she said.

She clarified that she does not object to men partying on beaches but only wants them to do so in appropriate beach attire or wearing shorts and shirts. Considering that the area is not designated as adults-only and that there are reports of sexual harassment, Nagalakshmi's outrage may be valid. However, she also conflates the issue of sexual harassment with a good dose of moral policing, declaring that nudity is against "Indian culture".

"They should wear shorts and T-shirt or at least something to cover themselves. This extends to women as well but it is the men who are mostly seen walking around nude. There are 22 beaches in Karnataka and there is talk that the concept of nude beaches found elsewhere in the world will be coming to Karnataka. That will be unacceptable and I have written to the CM detailing these concerns," she said.

She further added that walking nude is against Indian culture. "There is a temple in Gokarna near the beach. If you are walking around naked, what does it say about our culture?" she asked.