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What If Our Moral Police Were Cocktails Cover Picture

What If Our Moral Police Were Cocktails

The Moral Lunch: A Set Menu


The Tawde

Named after Ritu Tawde, the nosy Mumbai corporator who in April 2014 mooted a proposal to ban lingerie-clad mannequins to prevent “wrong acts” by men. She said, “Lingerie mannequins promote rapes. Skimpily clad mannequins can pollute young minds. After the Delhi rape case, I felt something had to be done.” Even before any official sanction, with support from her peers Tawde forced some shops in her ward to stop displaying mannequins with women’s underwear.

This skinny cocktail is made by drenching cotton candy with chilled vodka until it dissolves into a delicious, potent shot. Served with a twist of lime.

Tawde’s proposal was unanimously passed by all 227 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) corporators, pending approval by the BMC Commissioner. Luckily for Mumbai shopkeepers, the Commissioner didn’t approve the proposal as the BMC found it did not have the power to police the mannequins shopkeepers place inside their premises.



Chicken Leggings

In September 2015, Tamil magazine Kumudam published a cover story trying to shame women who wear leggings. They published photos of women going about their daily lives that seemed to have been taken without their consent. The photographers seemed to have waited for gusts of wind to raise a woman’s kurta, or for women on motorbikes to reveal the outline of their bottoms. The magazine suggested that women’s choice of clothing contributes to sexual violence in society.

Chicken drumsticks marinated in garlic and slow-roasted until meat is tender and smelly. Served with a garnish of red chillies.

After the wave of disgust that followed from readers and a petition seeking an apology from the magazine, Kumudam’s editor K Kubendran said (in a total non-apology) that the magazine did not intend to insult women and was were merely trying to create ‘awareness’ about a social issue.

Achari Majnu Kebab

Who can forget the Meerut police’s Operation Majnu? Formed in 2005 to target lovers under the guise of curbing violence against women, police officers excited by the presence of local television cameras beat up couples in the city’s Gandhi Park, citing complaints that they had been kissing in the park. Two female officers in particular slapped youngsters, dragged them by their hair and yelled abuse at them.

Mutton mince beaten repeatedly till tender and marinated with pickle. Grilled extra slowly over a low flame. 

In January 2006, a governement probe found three Meerut cops guilty of using “excessive force unwarrantedly”. Even the National Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for Women took notice. But later that year, the Meerut police launched the operation again. The idea remains so popular that similar police drives have been held in Aligarh, Muzzafarnagar and Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Delhi and Jaipur.



Dosa of Shame

In 2009, a hitherto unknown Pramod Muthalik, leader of right-wing group Sri Ram Sene, shot to fame after a group of his men attacked young women in a Mangalore pub. They beat and kicked several men and women in the pub while TV cameras rolled. The Sene also threatened to forcibly marry couples celebrating Valentine’s Day, which they deemed is against Indian culture.

A crispy dosa tinged a bright pink with the beetroot in its batter. That’s all the fun you’ll get out of this otherwise austere item, which is served plain and without any accompaniments.

In response, a group of young women started the Pink Chaddi campaign, urging people to mail Muthalik pink panties. The campaign went viral across the world and hundreds of glorious pink chaddis wound up at the Ram Sene’s office. The BJP, which ruled the state at the time, banned Muthalik from entering Mangalore. And in 2014, he was inducted into the BJP Karnataka unit but was unceremoniously thrown out within hours once the party bigwigs realized their PR disaster.

Nair Unbuttoned

Inspired by Anil Nair, who calls himself a social worker and who filed a case of obscenity against Akshay Kumar, Twinkle Khanna and the organizers of Lakme India Fashion Week in April 2009. Nair was offended by how Kumar walked down a fashion ramp and asked his wife Khanna to undo the first button on his jeans – as a publicity gimmick to promote the brand Levi’s. Nair claimed that as a Padmashri awardee and role model, Kumar was setting a bad example.

A succulent pair of kingfish fillets steamed in banana leaves and sealed with a firm bamboo button.

After Nair’s complaint, police agreed that Akshay Kumar was guilty of obscenity.

Six days later, Twinkle Khanna was arrested and then released on bail. In May, the same happened to Kumar. In 2012, the Mumbai High Court ruled that Khanna was not liable to be prosecuted in the case.

Sour Grapes Roast

Got a problem with jokes being told on YouTube? In early 2015, comedy group All India Bakchod presented a ‘roast’ of Ranvir Singh and Arjun Kapoor. Akhilesh Tiwari, president of the Brahman Ekta Seva Sanstha in Mumbai filed a case against participants Ranvir Singh, Arjun Kapoor, Karan Johar and the show organisers for “ruining the clean image of the Indian culture & women [and] also misleading today's youth”.

The finest chicken stuffed with black grapes and cheese. First roasted at a high temperature for the perfect sear and then at a lower temperature for three hours.  until perfectly done.

The Maharasthra government ordered an inquiry into the roast video. A complaint filed by “social activist” Santosh Daundkar also named Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt among 14 names in an FIR. Later that month, the Bombay High Court granted the AIB comedians interim relief, saying they should not be arrested as the language used was vulgar but not obscene.



Chocolate Liplock

Our signature dessert is inspired by Sikandar Khan, who in 2006 filed a case against Rajasthan politician Vasundhara Raje Scindia, Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and a Hindi daily that published a photo (although several other media outlets published it as well) over an alleged public kiss on the mouth between the two women. Mazumdar-Shaw and Scindia had met at the India Economic Summit in Delhi that year, where they greeted with a hug and kissed each other on the cheeks. A photo snapped from a misleading angle allegedly appeared to show the pair locking lips.

Luscious dark chocolate with a raspberry coulis centre served in an attractive lip-gloss tube – simply rotate for the emergence of sweet goodness.

The political Opposition in Rajasthan demanded Raje’s resignation but the ridiculous non-incident seems to have receded from public memory. However, in June 2015, ABP News showed the picture again even though it was unrelated to their discussion of Scindia. It was claimed on Twitter that NDTV had also recently published the picture; Mazumdar-Shaw tweeted expressing her disappointment with NDTV, but apologized when the channel clarified that it had not actually published the photo, and wouldn’t do so in the future either. Hopefully that’s the last we’ll hear of the matter.    


Disclaimer: The views and frustration expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of



By Nidhi Bansal